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Roulette Rules

Roulette is played using a wheel which is divided into 37 or 38 equal slots.  Each slot is numbered 1 through 36 and they are colored red or black.  On wheels used in Europe and many other parts of the world there is one slot which is green and it is labeled as zero (o).  In the United States, most roulette wheels consist of 2 green slots labeled zero (0) and double zero (00).

The dealer who presides over the table (also known as the croupier) throws a small ball around the upper perimeter of the wheel.  The ball is thrown clockwise while the wheel is spun counterclockwise.  As the ball slows and gravity overcomes the centrifugal force, the ball eventually falls into one of the 37 or 38 pockets.  That is how a number is selected.

It should be noted that the numbers on the roulette wheel are not in order but are staggered to create a random effect and also red and black sections are alternated.  So the wheel is a mechanical random number generator.

In order to play the game, a player must select a table and purchase chips.  The player lets the dealer know he is entering the game by casually placing his money for his buy in somewhere in the center of the layout.  This stops play so he can get into the game.  

The dealer will take the player’s money and ask what denomination of chips he wants to purchase. A roulette table will have several different colors of chips.  Each player is assigned a different color.  These chips are not assigned any value until the player buy’s in and tells the dealer what value he wants assigned to his chips.  Depending upon the minimum and maximum bets allowed at that particular table, a single chip could be assigned a value as low as 25 cents or as high as $100 or more.  If the table minimum bet is $5, then the minimum chip value allowed will be $1.  If the table minimum is $2, then a player can purchase chips valued at as little as 50 cents, or 25 cents when the minimum is $1 (very few tables around with minimums that low).

When the value of the player’s chips is established, the dealer will place one of his color chips in a slot with a tag or a house value chip on top to indicate the value of the chip.  Then the dealer slides the player’s chips over to him and he is ready to begin to place his bets.

A player generally is not allowed to place any bets on the layout until the dealer has removed the puck  (or marker) that marked the number of the last decision from the table.  Also, a player may continue to make bets even after the dealer has thrown the ball but all betting must stop when the dealer waves his hand across the table and announces, “No more bets.”  

The Bets

There are quite a few different bets that a player can make on the layout (see above).  In discussing them, we will begin on the outside edge of the layout and work our way inward.  

There are 3 bets that can be made on the outside part of the layout.  And logically, these are known in roulette terminology as “Outside Bets”.  The bets are Red or Black (the most common bet made), Even or Odd, and High and Low.  Naturally, every number that spins up on the wheel is either Red or Black, Even or Odd, or High or Low.  (Note:  The high numbers are 19 through 36 and the low numbers are 1 through 18).  For instance, if number 8 is selected you would win if you had bet on Black, or Even, or Low.  However, if the green zero or double zero is selected on any spin, all of the outside bets lose because the zero and double zero are not Red or Black, and are not considered to be High or Low or Odd or Even.  In fact, when a zero or double zero comes up, all bets on the layout that are not placed directly on the zeros, or are grouped with the zeros, lose.

All outside bets pay even money.  If you bet $5 on Red, and a Red number comes up, you win $5 plus you get your initial $5 bet back.  Also, when playing an outside bet, you must place at least the table minimum bet on each one.  In other words, if you were playing both Red and Odd, you would need to bet at least $5 on both Red and $5 on Odd.  You couldn’t bet $3 on one and $2 on the other.

Moving on toward the interior of the layout, the next set of bets we encounter are known as the “Dozens”.  A player may bet on the 1st Dozen (numbers 1-12), the 2nd Dozen (13-24), or the 3rd Dozen (25-36).  These bets pay 2 to 1 for a winning bet.  Bet $5 and you are paid $10 for a winning bet plus you get your original $5 bet returned to you.  Simple enough.

There are another set of bets that are sometimes referred to as dozen bets, but they are actually the “Columns”.  You find these bets at the foot of the layout right next to the numbers 34, 35, and 36.  These bets win if any number in the column above hits.  For instance the middle column consists of 2, 5, 8, 11, 14, 17, 20, 23, 26, 29, 32, 35.  If you place a bet in the middle column and any one of these numbers hits, then you are paid 2 to 1, the same as the Dozens Columns discussed above.

Inside Bets

Now come what are known as the “Inside Bets.”  The most common of these is a “Straight Up” bet on a number.  This bet is made by placing a chip squarely on top of a number and inside the borders of the square.  This bet pays 35 to 1 if the number you bet on hits.  For instance, if you place 1 chip straight up on 29, and it hits, you get paid 35 chips, plus the 1 chip you bet is returned to you.  

Note:  When making “Inside Bets”, the sum total of all your inside bets must be at least as much as the table minimum or all your bets will be disallowed.  So, if the table minimum is $5 and you are using $1 chips, you must bet at least 5 chips somewhere on the inside numbers of the layout.

The next most common inside bet is the Split Bet.  This bet can cover two numbers with one chip and is made on 2 adjacent numbers on the layout such as 5 and 8 or 22 and 23.  It is accomplished by placing a chip evenly on the line which separates the two numbers.  If either of  the two numbers spins up, the player is paid 17 to 1.

Another common inside bet is the corner bet which allows the player to cover four numbers with one chip.  An example of a corner bet would be to place a chip squarely on the corner where the numbers 14, 15, 17, and 18 intersect.  A win here pays 8 to 1.

Streets and Double Streets

Another type of inside bet is known as the “Street Bet”.  Notice on the layout how the numbers are divided into groups of three vertically as we look at it from the side (i.e. 1,2,3 is a street, 4,5,6 is another, 7,8,9 etc.).  All three numbers in a street can be bet by placing a chip on the line separating the Dozens bet from the numbers on the layout.  For instance, if you wanted to bet on the street consisting of 31, 32, and 33, you would place a chip on the line squarely beside the 31.  Then if 31, 32, or 33 hit, you get paid 11 to 1.

You may also bet on two streets at the same time.  This is called a “Double Street” or a “Line” bet.  This bet is made by placing a chip on the same line as described above except place it between the first 2 numbers of each street.  For instance, to bet on the double street (or line) consisting of the numbers 10, 11, 12 and 13, 14, 15, you would place a chip on the line at the intersection of the 10 and 13.  A successful line bet pays 5 to 1.

The last bet we will discuss is a bet consisting of 0, 00, 1, 2, and 3.  This bet is often referred to as the “Basket” or “Bucket” because when you view the layout it looks like one of these containers inverted.  It is actually a “Special Line Bet” or sometimes referred to as the “Combination Bet”.  This bet pays a winner 6 to 1 and is placed on the same line as the street and line bets except it is placed at the intersection of the 1 and single zero.


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