Roulette is easy to play and a wide variety of wagers can be made. The American version is fairly fast with the dealer spinning the wheel from 80 to 110 times per hour.
The French version of the game is more leisurely with only 30 or 40 spins per hour.
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The bets are basically the same in the French and American versions of the game, with the principal difference being that the American wheel has both a zero and a double-zero on it.
The French wheel has numbers 1 to 35 plus a zero. It is the zero that accounts for the house edge of 2.70%. This percentage is cut in half on the even-money wagers in European casinos, where these bets are placed en prison when a zero shows up. They remain on the table "in prison" until the next spin. For even-money wagers that win, the bets are returned; for those that lose, the casino takes the wager. A second option is also offered, that of le partage (sharing). With this option, when a zero comes up, a player with an even-money bet keeps half his wager and gives up half. In Britain no choice is allowed, only le partage is allowed.
The American Roulette Wheel:
With the en prison and le partage rules in force, the house edge is reduced to about 1.38% for even-money wagers.
The American wheel, with the addition of the double-zero, offers the same payoffs on wagers, but the extra zero increases the house edge to 5.26%. When a zero or double-zero occurs, all wagers lose, including all even-money bets.
The game is played with a wheel containing 37 numbers in the European version (1-36 plus zero) and 38 numbers in the United States version (1-36 plus zero and double-zero). The numbers are printed on spaces marked on a wheel and separated by metal dividers called frets. The numbers do not run consecutively and there are different layouts for the French and American wheels.
The European (French) Roulette Wheel:
Wagers are made by placing chips in various positions on the table. The American tables are much smaller than the French ones, and the players can usually reach the portion of the layout on which they wish to wager and therefore place their own wagers. In the French version, the table is much larger, and the croupiers use a rake to place and pay wages.
In either game, the croupier or dealer will assist a player wishing to make a wager.
The casino allows you to bet all of the numbers, including the 0 and 00. If you bet any of the numbers "straight up" and your number comes up on the next spin of the wheel, you will be paid 35 to 1 (you will have your original wager, plus chips equal to 35 times your wager). You can also bet different combinations of wagers, including two, three, four, five and six number bets, as well as dozens, columns, red or black, odd or even and high or low.
The players make their wagers by placing chips on the spaces of the layout in any manner allowed by the rules. The dealer starts the wheel spinning, then flips the ball on the bowl's back so that it travels in the opposite direction of the spinning wheel. Players may continue to place bets while the ball and wheel are still in motion until the dealer announces "no more bets." In the French version, the dealer will state "rien ne va plus", meaning the same thing. Bets placed on the layout after this announcement are not valid and will be returned to the player.
When the ball comes to rest, it marks the winning number, the winning color, and any other combination bet made. The dealer announces the winning number.
On the first spin, the dealer has no fixed point from which to spin the wheel or ball. Thereafter, he will spin both from the position of the winning pocket of the preceding spin.