Roulette is a casino game in which players place bets on numbers, various groupings of numbers, colors red or black, whether the number is odd or even and high (19-36) or low (1-18). The ball then spins around the wheel and lands on one of a series of pockets. The payout for winning bets is based on the amount wagered and the house edge.
There are several variations of roulette, but the most popular and recognizable is European roulette. This version is the most widely played at physical casinos and online. It features a single zero pocket and reduces the house edge to a coveted 2.7%. Additionally, it offers a unique rule called la partage that allows players to keep half of their even chip bets if the ball hits the zero.
A roulette wheel consists of a solid wooden disk that is slightly convex and surrounded by metal separators, known as frets or canoes to croupiers. Thirty-six of these compartments, painted alternately red and black, are numbered nonconsecutively from 1 to 36, while the wheel’s outer edge has two green compartments (on American wheels, one of them carries the number 0).
Roulette’s history is strewn with fanciful theories, including that it was invented by 17th-century French mathematician Blaise Pascal or by Dominican monks. However, the game was first adapted by gamblers in the new gambling dens that proliferated across Europe after 1836 and eventually made its way into the United States, where it remained popular until the early 1930s.