Roulette is a classic casino game played with chips on a specially designed table. Prior to rolling the ball, people make bets on what number will come up by laying down the chips on a betting mat, the precise location of the chips indicating the bet being made. The game has many variants, but most involve the same basic strategy. Bets placed on six numbers or less are known as Inside bets, and those on 12 or more are called Outside bets. The dealer places a marker on the winning number and clears the losing bets from the table before beginning play for the next round.
A roulette wheel consists of a solid, slightly convex disk with 37 or 38 compartments around its rim (called frets or compartments by roulette croupiers). The compartments are painted alternately red and black and numbered nonconsecutively from 1 to 36. In addition, on European-style wheels there is a green compartment labelled 0 while on American tables there are two green compartments labelled 00.
When the wheel is spun and the ball lands in one of the compartments, winners are paid according to their bets. People can bet on individual numbers, groups of numbers, odd or even, red or black, and whether the number is high or low. A winning bet pays out a certain amount of money depending on the odds, and players can place multiple bets within a single spin of the wheel.
Despite the fact that roulette is one of the oldest and most popular casino games, it has a very small following in the United States compared to slots, video poker, blackjack, and craps. However, it is a major attraction at Monte Carlo and other casinos in Europe. While many people believe that there are a variety of strategies to beat roulette, the truth is that, barring exceptional circumstances, no skill can overcome the built-in house edge. However, there are a few things that can be done to help players optimize their chances of winning. The first is to avoid playing at crowded tables. The second is to understand how the roulette rounds work. This will allow players to maximize their time to place bets on the right number slots before the croupier announces that betting for the current round is closed.