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How to Play Roulette and the Terminology You Need To Know

Posted on Mar 04, 2018

How to Play Roulette and the Terms You Must Know

If you want to play roulette, it is simply a matter of choosing the right numbers and hoping that you have good luck.

But despite the fact that roulette appears to be fairly simple with the hand of luck guiding the wheel, there are a lot of terms to know in order for you to be able to follow the game with ease.

Keep reading to learn the basics and get introduced to the terminology of roulette so that you can become a force to be reckoned with and the ultimate champion.

How to Play Roulette - The Basics

Roulette is a simple game to understand. In a live casino, the board spins continuously from the time the table opens to the moment it closes. At an online casino, software is used in place of a physical table and they operate twenty-four hours a day, every day of the year.

The Online Advantage

One of the biggest advantages, if you choose to play roulette online, is that there is endless tablespace. You don't have to worry about getting crowded out of a table at a busy casino.

In addition, online casinos do not have a physical table so you don't have to worry about touching it at the wrong time or accidentally placing a bet. You laugh, but it happens to people all the time and can get you kicked out of a casino in a hurry.

A final advantage of online roulette is that it tells you very clearly when you need to place your chips and where you should put them depending on the type of bet you are making. This is great for those that are new to the game to help them get familiar with how to play roulette.

Betting Basics

Bets can be divided into two groups, inside and outside. Outside bets are broader. You guess things like whether the ball will land on black or red, even or off, or fall below or above the number 18.

Outside bets tend to have the best odds of winning since they are so general. Inside bets, on the other hand, can be a bit more complicated.

In order to wager an inside bet, you have to place your chips on any single number. You are allowed to simultaneously bet on up to five adjacent numbers to improve your odds of winning. Simply place your chips on the corners or lines that they share with your number.

Making an inside bet on multiple numbers is one of those times where the online software comes in handy. They often highlight the areas where bets can be placed. At a live casino, you would be expected to already know the right place to put your chips.

Though if you needed to, you could always politely as the croupier.

Variants of Roulette Tables

There are three basic types of roulette tables and some new versions are currently being introduced. Some of these variations are only available at online casinos.


The best kind of table is one that allows for "surrender", "imprisonment" or "en partage" rules. These are all different terms for the same thing - that you have the ability to recover half of your lost wager or imprison the full amount of the lost wager in the hopes that you are able to recover it on your next turn.

When you go to a live casino to play roulette, you will often only see this kind of table in high limit rooms with very high minimum bets. They can be pretty hard to find. However, if you go online, you can often find this type of table with a much more reasonable minimum bet.


The European design of the table is the most traditional form. It only features one zero on the wheel and it is the kind of table that will be found at any casino you want to play at outside of the United States.


The least favorable kind of table to play at is one that is American. This is because these tables not only have one zero, but they also have a double zero slot on the wheel. This small change doubles the advantage that the house has, making it much more difficult for you to win. The tables are called American because they were invented in Las Vegas and have now become the standard table used in casinos across the United States, outside of Atlantic City.


Now that a lot of people go online to play roulette, table designers have been freed of physical constraints. This has led to some very creative new designs.

Sometimes the wheel will have an unusual shape while other times the game will have been combined with another like poker or bingo to make things more interesting.

Some creative people have even designed a Pin Ball style table. But the most exciting kind of table might be the "too good to be true" style. This table has the zero removed making it more likely that the ball will land on your bet.

However, these tables without a zero are not all good news. Most of the time they carry a ten percent rake on each of your winning spins. Over time, this makes the odds of you losing money when you play roulette greater than they would be at a traditional table.

How to Make the Best Bet

Unless you are trying to impress a date with your psychic abilities, outside bets are always far superior to inside bets. If you want to win money over time you should stick to all outside bets.

Inside bets, on the other hand, pay out a lot more when they hit, but the odds of you hitting are significantly longer, and the max bet that you can put on them is much smaller, sometimes as much as ten times so.

Unfortunately, due to the presence of the 0 slots, there is no even money bet in roulette. But the closest you can get are half and half options.

Any divide you can make down the middle of the game will lead to decent odds of winning. For example, numbers can be divided by color, even or odd, or above or below 18 to create a half and half divide.

If you use this half and half divide consistently at a European style table that hs surrender rules, you can lower the house advantage down to 2.7% which is as low as it will ever go at any roulette table.

Do Betting Systems Work?

There are betting systems that appear to work in the short-term, but long-term chance always rules out. It makes it seem like someone's system is working but really they are just getting lucky. Eventually, no matter what system you use, you can suffer a wipeout that takes it all away.

Terminology You Need to Know

Now that we have talked about how to play roulette, you are almost ready to hit the table. But first, here are some terms you should know before you get started.


Backtrack - The rim of the wheel where the ball spins.

Biased Numbers - Numbers proved statistically to hit more often.


Carre - A French term used to refer to a corner bet.

Chameleon Strategy - Mimicking the bets of someone who has been successful at the table.

Cheval - A French term for a spill bet.

Column Bet - A bet that pays two to one and consists of all twelve numbers in one column.

Corner Bet - A bet that any of the four numbers on the layout will win.

Croupier - The name of the "dealer" at the roulette table.


Dozen Bet - Another term for a column bet.

Double Up System of Betting - A system where a player increases their bet by two after a loss so that they can hopefully regain some of the money they lost on the last bet.


En Plein - The French term for a straight up bet.

En Prison - This French term only applies to even money wagers. When a zero hits, some online casinos allow the player to take back half of their bet or leave it imprisoned there for another spin. If the next spin is another zero, then the bet is lost.


Orphans - Refers to a bet on the numbers 6, 34, and 17 which are next to each other on the roulette wheel.


Parlay - This is a very important term to know. It refers to the doubling of your bet after a win.


Split - This term is referring to any bet that covers two adjacent numbers and is made when a player places a chip on their intersecting points. Traditionally, the payout on this type of bet it 17-1.

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