The Basics of Roulette

Roulette is a casino game that has brought excitement, glamour and mystery to gambling dens since the 17th century. A game of true chance, it combines simplicity with depth and can be enjoyed by all types of players. Its rules are surprisingly easy to understand, and there are plenty of online resources for the beginner. But it is a game that requires attention and discipline.

The game begins when the croupier throws a small ball into a spinning wheel while the players are wrapping up their bets. Then the players and croupier watch as the ball bounces around the wheel and settles into one of the pockets marking a number. If the player made a bet on that number, they win. The number doesn’t necessarily have to be a single number; a bet can also be placed on a grouping of numbers, the color red or black, whether they are odd or even, or whether they are high or low.

Most of the time, roulette is played with a physical wheel, but there are some online versions that use a virtual ball and table. These games are typically more realistic and can be played on a laptop or smartphone. They also offer the convenience of playing anywhere, with no need to travel to a brick-and-mortar casino.

In addition to online roulette, the game is available in many live casinos, where players bet through their keyboards or smartphones but are handled in real-time by a dealer. The games are very similar to their online counterparts, except for a few differences in rules and payouts.

For example, the game has a higher house edge in American roulette, 5.26%, than it does in European roulette, 2.7%. But if you use a strategy, you can reduce this advantage to almost zero.

Before you start betting, make sure that the croupier clears all the losing bets and the winning ones are marked. Then place your chips on the numbers you want to bet on. For beginners, it is a good idea to start by placing “outside bets” (bets on categories of numbers instead of individual digits). These bets are cheaper and have a higher probability of winning.

Street bets (also known as a straight-up or a cheval) pick a specific number, while the split and corner bets choose two adjacent numbers. The last bet is called a six-number bet or a transversal in French, and it puts your chip(s) to straddle the line between two rows of three numbers on the roulette table map. This type of bet pays 5-1 if you win.