Roulette is a staple game in most casinos. It has been around for about 300 years and has two main varieties, European and American. There is also French roulette, where the wheel layout differs slightly from that of European roulette.
The game consists of a wheel with numbers on it. A ball is rolled around the wheel and players must bet on the number they believe the ball will stop on. European and French roulette wheels have 37 numbers, including a zero and numbers 1-36. In the American version, there are two zeros, creating a situation of 38 numbers.
In general, up to 8 players can take part in a game of roulette, usually against a croupier, or dealer. The dealer is the one who spins the wheel and manages the winnings. Each player purchases a particular color of chips, so as not to confuse their chips with the other players’. To begin play, all players place a bet on a number or numbers in the table layout or on the outside. Once this is done, the dealer can get the ball rolling along the wheel. No one can make or change their bet from this point until the dealer places the dolly on the winning number, clearing all losing bets.
As the dealer is the casino’s representative, playing against the other players, there is something called the house advantage. The house being the casino. On a European or French roulette table, the house advantage is 2.7%. This means that winners are paid a chip or two less than they are owed in order to keep the house advantage. On an American wheel, the house advantage is a much higher 5.26%.
Some casinos apply a special rule to even-money bets. This rule is called the En Prison rule. If the ball lands on a zero, then according to the En Prison rule, the players receive back half their bet or decide to keep it in play. If the wheel spins two zeros in a row, the house keeps the entire bet.
La Partage is a rule very similar to En Prison, but the player cannot make their own decision about the fate of half their bet. If the ball lands on zero, then half the bet is given back no matter what.
A straight up bet is a bet on one number only. The odds for this type of bet are 35 to 1. Paying 17 to 1 is the two number bet, named the split bet. Betting on three numbers, known as street bet, will pay 11 to 1. The odds become narrower as players bet on more and more numbers. Outside bets also have tighter odds.
Of course, in French roulette, the names of the bets are all in French, making it a much more exotic experience!
In Costa Rica, roulette is called Canasta. It is played with the double zero American layout, but the winning number does not come from spinning a wheel. Rather, a wire cage is used, from which a number drops.