Roulette Terms

Action

The amount of money a player plans to wager in a given session is known as the action they will give the table or game. It can also refer to the amount of total money in chips on the roulette table for a given spin.

American Roulette

One of the worst forms of roulette for the player due to the higher house edge is American roulette. The wheel will includeb 0 and 00 spaces, which aren’t colored red or black. They usually are green and make the total house edge over 5%.

Back track or ball track

The area in which the ball spins before dropping into the roulette wheel is known as the back track or ball track.

Biased numbers

If a roulette wheel is biased and certain numbers come up with greater frequency, these numbers are biased numbers. They’re also sometimes referred to as golden numbers.

Biased wheel

A wheel that has been tampered with is known as a biased wheel. Obviously, if this is occurring it will be an inside job at a particular casino, or a standard defect and the operator will shut it down as soon as they recognize the problem. This can also be referred to as a gaffed wheel.

Black bet

When a player makes a bet on the color black, this is a black bet.

Bottom track

The inner part of the wheel that slants downwards and doesn’t spin. The ball will usually bounce off the bottom track into a pocket after it drops from the back track.

California roulette

In order to circumvent laws that prevented traditional roulette from being played, casino operators in California invented a form of roulette that uses cards instead of the wheel and ball. You may still be able to find this form of roulette in some states.

Column bet

Three column bets are available which cover all the numbers in that column. This is considered an outside bet and will pay 2 to 1 if the ball lands on one of the numbers in your relevant column.

Combination bet

This occurs when a player bets on more than one number in the layout. The player is essentially hedging their bets and covering on multiple numbers in the hope of hitting one to cover all of their bets and make a smaller profit. Hedging your bets is risky and generally not recommended, however, many people play roulette this way.

Corner bet

If you place a bet on the corner of four numbers, this is known as a corner bet. It pays 8 to 1 and you’ll be awarded this win if any of those four numbers hold the ball in their pocket at the end of the spin.

Credits

Online casino games often represent your bankroll as credits. Representing your money as credits is a little trick that casinos play to try and disassociate you from the fact you’re wagering real money.

Croupier

Another word for a dealer in card games, the croupier is the casino employee who spins the ball and manages a roulette game. It’s used for roulette as they don’t actually deal cards, so the term dealer doesn’t really work in this circumstance.

Dealer signature

Although this certainly isn’t a way to truly predict what numbers will win, some dealers spin the ball in such a consistent manner that players can try to use this dealer signature in order to determine where the ball will land according to what area the dealer spins the ball from.

The Devils game

Roulette is sometimes referred to as this, not because of the unbeatable house edge that the game has against the player, but because if you add the numbers together from 1 to 36, which are all the numbers on the wheel, then the total equals 666. This is traditionally referred to as the devil’s number.

Dozen bet

When a player bets on twelve numbers using the 1st, 2nd or 3rd 12 section it’s known as a dozen bet. If the player wins they’re paid out at 2 to 1 odds. A popular betting method is to bet to make two dozen bets and hope the ball lands in these to get paid out at a lower rate, but still for a win.

En prison

This French term is relevant only when playing on a French roulette table. If the ball lands on the 0, then players with active even money bets only lose half of their wager. They can retrieve the remaining half or leave it in place for the next spin. This is sometimes also referred to as the surrender rule. This reduces the house edge and is a good rule for players.

European wheel

A roulette wheel that has one 0 but not a double zero space. This is the most favorable type of roulette due to the house edge of only 2.76%. This is still quite high when compared to some other popular table games that casinos offer.

Even bet

A bet option that is available to players on the outside of the layout. If the ball lands on an even number then the wager will be paid out at 1 to 1.

Five number bet

When playing on an American roulette table a five number bet is players betting on 0, 00, 1, 2 and 3. This is a common betting strategy for some players. It’s also known as a top line bet.

Golden numbers

If a particular number keeps winning despite the overwhelming odds and supposed randomness of roulette, then that number is referred to as a golden number.

High or low bet

An outside bet where players can wager on the ball landing on any number between 1 and 18 or 19 and 36. If the player wins, the bet is paid out at 1 to 1, which is even money.

House edge

For casinos to remain in business and be profitable they need to have an edge in every single game that is available in their establishment. The house edge is the percentage advantage that the casino has over the player. Usually, this is represented in percentage form and it represents how much of the money wagered is theoretically retained by the casino in the long run. In relation to roulette, it has one of the higher house edges out of popular table games.

Inside bet

A bet which is made by a player on any of the numbers in the layout. A bet made inside the box surrounding the numbers on the roulette table.

La Partage

Similar to the en prison rule in French roulette except the player can’t leave their half bet in place after the ball lands on 0. They must remove their bet and make another one at the table minimum.

Line bet

By placing a chip on the outside of the layout a player makes a line bet on the corresponding six numbers across the relevant rows. This bet will be paid out at 5 to 1 if the ball lands on one of these numbers.

Layout

All the numbers and design that are presented to the players on the table felt is known as the layout. This is where players place their chips to make a bet and also where wins will be awarded.

Parlay

If a player wins on a spin and adds their winnings to their original bet for the next spin it’s known as a parlay.

Match play

Many casinos will offer players a bonus match play bet to encourage them to play. The casino will match a player’s bet of say $10 or $25. This means a player would wager $25 and the casino wagers another $25 on top on their behalf. So the payout would be $50 on an even money bet that has this match play.

Martingale system

In this betting system, a player will double their bet after each loss, and sometimes half a bet after each win, in order to stay profitable. It sounds good in theory but requires a large bankroll and the chance to lose a lot very quickly is ever present. On the other hand, you’ll not win a lot very quickly using this system. A lot of gambling experts, roulette books, and websites suggest the Martingale system is the best system to follow when playing roulette. However, it should probably be avoided due to large risks for little reward and also due to the fact that each spin in roulette is completely independent of what has happened previously. In the long run, a Martingale system loses money.

Marker or dolly

When the ball lands in the pocket of a number on the roulette wheel the croupier will place the marker, sometimes referred to as a dolly due to its shape, on that number on the table layout. Players can’t collect their bets, or make any new bets until this marker has been removed from the table once all bets are paid out and all losing wagers are retrieved by the dealer.

Odd bet

The odd bet is available for players on the outside of the layout. If the ball lands on an odd number then the wager will be doubled, that is, paid out at even money.

Orphans

The numbers 6, 34, and 17 are next to each other on the wheel, in that order, but are far apart on the layout and thus known as orphans. This term is traditionally used in Europe by those playing French roulette. Some players will make continuous bets on the orphans in the hope that when the ball lands in that section, it will hit one of these numbers.

Orphelins

Also of French origins, orphelins are groups of numbers that are next to each other on the wheel, yet not on the table layout. A popular strategy among roulette enthusiasts is to bet on the orphelins in the hope of the ball dropping in a certain area on the wheel where they’ve wagered. Usually, roulette tables in casinos will have small cards at the table which show the wheel configuration so that players can bet on orphelins. This is also referred to as block betting.

Pockets

The small slots on the wheel situated below the numbers where the ball can land are known as pockets. Whichever pocket the ball ends up in indicates which number is the winning number for that particular spin and betting round.

Red bet

When a player bets on red on the outside of the table layout it’s known as a red bet. If a red number wins, then that player’s bet will be doubled.

Random Number Generators or RNGs

Computer-based casino games use random number generators, or RNGs for short, to determine outcomes in their games. This is true also of traditional table games that are available in online casinos. RNGs are mathematical programs that determine the outcome of a draw, deal, or spin based on programming that ensures a purely random outcome.

Every spin in roulette is independent of the previous spin and for games in online casinos previous results are not factored into the programming of a random number generator in any way.

Rapid roulette

Technology is allowing for better casino games and experiences for players and also lower costs for operators, and rapid roulette helps achieve this. In rapid roulette, each player sits at their own computer terminal and places their bets via a digital touch screen after entering either cash or a voucher. In the middle of all the screens, an automatic roulette wheel spins a ball. The computers detect the winning number and pay out players via their own terminal. You can also find variations where a real dealer will spin the ball. This allows casinos to maximize their space and have many more players gambling than could fit on a proper roulette table, which usually only seats about six people at a time.

In online casinos, a similar method is followed when players are on a live roulette table. You would have your own layout and then a video feed to a real dealer spinning the ball on a real roulette table. This option bridges the gap between the online and real world and allows players to get that real roulette feeling from wherever they’re playing.

Six number bet

Another name for a line bet is a six number bet.

Split bet

When a player bets on two numbers by placing the chip on the single line between them they’re making a split bet. The payout if they win on this bet is 17 to 1.

Straight up bet

Some roulette players choose to bet on their lucky number. It may be a birthday, their son’s or daughter’s age, or the age they were when something momentous happened in their life. A direct bet on a single number is known as a straight up bet. These are paid out at 35 to 1. This is where the casino makes some of its edge against the player, as on an American table you’ll find 37 numbers and 36 numbers on a European wheel.

Street bet

On a roulette layout, a street is the row of three numbers. If one of these numbers is the winner, then the player is paid out at 11 to 1. This is sometimes also referred to as a trio bet.

Visual ball tracking

Some players will try to predict which area of the wheel a ball will land by taking note of the starting position of the ball when it spins and where it eventually lands. They may sometimes study a table for some time to build up a prediction of where the ball may end up based on previous results. Once playing they’ll make block bets in the area they think the ball might land after watching the release. This is an inaccurate approach and generally won’t work very well.

Wheel

The wheel is simply the roulette wheel that spins constantly and receives the ball when it drops from the back track.

Wheel checks

When a player is betting on a large range of numbers the casino will assign specific chips to that player. This is also important to do when a table is very busy. The dealer will give the player their wheel checks which they then use on the table. These have cash value on the table but can’t be taken to the cage. They must be cashed out from the dealer for casino chips on that particular roulette table before leaving.

Wheel head

The section of the wheel that has numbers and their respective pockets is known as the wheel head. This is, of course, the most important section of the roulette wheel as where the ball ends up determines who wins and who loses.

Two other nice roulette terms pages can be found at Ildado and at Real Online Gambling.