A roulette wheel consists of a spinning disk with divisions around its edge that revolves around the base of a bowl. A ball is spun around the outside of the bowl until eventually ball and wheel come to rest with the ball in one of the divisions.
The divisions around the wheel are numbered from 1 to 36 in a seemingly random pattern and alternate red and black. Additionally, there is a green division numbered 0. On American tables only there is a second extra green division marked 00 and it is largely this that makes the American version of Roulette a worse proposition financially than the European game.
Much of the interest in Roulette derives from the the number of different bets that can be made and their associated odds. The basic bets are the same for all forms of modern Roulette. Below are a list of basic bets (both the English and French terms are listed):
- Red / Rouge: a red number
- Black / Noir: a black number
- Even / Pair: an even number
- Odd / Impair: an odd number
- Low bet / Manque: numbers 1 - 18 (Manque is French for "failed" and is used because the ball has failed to pass 18)
- High bet / Passe: numbers 19 - 36 (Passe is so named because it has "passed" the centrepoint)
2 to 1
- First dozen / Premiere douzaine: numbers 1 - 12 (On the French-style mat, the square marked 12P)
- Middle dozen / Moyenne douzaine: numbers 13 - 24 (On the French-style mat, the square marked 12M)
- Last dozen / Dernier douzaine: numbers 25 - 36 (On the French-style mat, the square marked 12D)
- Column bet / Colonne: a column of 12 numbers (The special square at the end of one of the three columns of twelve numbers)
- 5 to 1 - Line bet / Sixain: 6 numbers (Place the stake on the intersection of the edge of two rows of three numbers to bet on those 2 rows)
- 8 to 1 - Corner bet / Carre: 4 numbers (Place the stake at the intersection of a square of four numbers)
- 11 to 1 - Street bet / Carre simple or Transversale: a row of 3 numbers (Half way over the line forming the end of the row of three numbers to be bet upon)
- 17 to 1: Split bet / En Chaval: a pair of numbers (Place the stake across the line dividing the two numbers to be bet upon
- 35 to 1: Straight up / En plein: a single number (Place the stake in the box showing the number concerned. It is allowable to bet on zero)
The bets on six numbers or less are termed "Inside bets". The bets on 12 numbers or more are called "Outside bets".
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