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Roulette - The Basics

Roulette is actually one of the simplest games in the casino to play, despite the busy- looking table and multiple colors of chips used. The pace is fairly relaxed compared to blackjack and positively glacial compared to craps. An added plus is that the tables are usually not crowded. You can thus play for moderately long periods of time without serious financial risk, even though the house edge is considerably higher than blackjack or craps.

HOW TO PLAY ROULETTE

The wheel is divided into 38 evenly spaced slots into which the ball will eventually land. Each slot has a number and color that matches corresponding numbers and colors on the betting table. The numbers are from 1 to 36, with half black and half red. The remaining two slots are for zero and double zero, both of which are colored green.

NOTE: Some roulette games have a wheel with only a single zero - no double zero. This means the wheel will have 37 instead of 38 numbers, which effectively cuts the house edge in half. You will find very few single zero games in Las Vegas, but if you find one, jump on it. The house edge is only 2.6%, making it one of the better casino games to play.

SPECIAL NOTE: The little Nevada Palace on Boulder Highway, across from Sam's Town, has a single zero roulette table open all the time.

The dealer spins the wheel and then spins a small ivory or steel ball around the rim of the wheel in the opposite direction. When the ball finally comes to rest in one of the slots, the dealer calls out the winning number and color and places a marker over that number on the betting table for all to see.

There are many different bets indicated on the betting table, as follows:

* The individual numbers: you can bet on 1 number, 2 numbers, as many as you like

* The three marked columns of 12 numbers each

* The 1st Dozen, 2nd Dozen, or 3rd Dozen

* The high numbers, indicated on the table as 1-18

* The low numbers, indicated on the table as 19-36

* Even Numbers or Odd Numbers

* Red Numbers or Black Numbers (note that this excludes the 0 and 00)

Here are the odds paid on the various bets:

* Individual numbers pay 35

* The 12 number columns pays 2 to 1

* The Dozens pays 2 to 1

* The high numbers and low numbers pay even money

* The even and odd numbers pay even money

* The red and black numbers pay even money

Important Note About Odds in Roulette: All bets have exactly the same house edge against you: 5.26%! That's right - it makes no difference which bet you make, the house edge is the same.

This is due to the presence of the 0 and double 00. These numbers do not win for any bet except for if you bet them as a number. In other words, they do not count for high, low, odd, oven, red or black, the dozens or the rows of 12 numbers.

Since these two out of the 38 numbers don't count except as a number, this is what gives the house it's 5.26% edge. (2 divided by 38 equals 5.26%). Also, a winning on a single number pays 35 to 1, while there are 38 numbers on the table, which again gives the house it's 5.26% edge.

You cannot overcome this edge in the long run, so just relax and place whatever bets seem interesting to you (although we do have a recommended betting strategy, which we explain in a different article).

Good luck!

Tom is the webmaster at http://www.blackjack-for-everyone.com, which is a website dedicated to turning beginning Blackjack players into serious recreational players.

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