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Roulette Terminology

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While the game of roulette might not be as complex as other casino games, it still has many unique terms and phrases, mostly owing to its French origins and various rule variations.

Available to residents of United States
Available to residents of United States

It is important to recognise the following phrases to become an educated gambler – whether we play the little wheel on a casual basis or a frequent one. We should understand each move, be able to join any type of roulette game and know the subtle differences between them before we play.

Admittedly, this page is relatively lengthy, but we wanted to cover every term from A-Z. If you are looking for any specific phrase or terminology, the below list is ordered alphabetically so it is easy to navigate through.

American Roulette
American roulette, one distinct version of the game, has 38 pockets (36 numbers, a zero and a double zero), which is one number more than its European counterpart. It places numbers in pairs across from each other on the roulette wheel and is sometimes called double-zero roulette.

American roulette is a prominent game-type considered less favourable but not necessarily less popular, than the European version. The addition of a double-zero pocket increases the house edge to 5.26%; a 2.56% increase from European roulette.

Our bankroll is the amount of money we have designated and are willing to at a casino. Casual visits might mean we start without a specific amount in mind, but we recommend always playing a game with a certain limit, and abiding to an overall maximum amount. This is especially the case for roulette, where money can go as quick as it can be won.

Biased Wheel
A biased wheel is a roulette wheel where the numbers are not equally likely to win on any given spin. With the structure and mechanical operations of the wheel today, there are very rare (if any) more examples of biased wheels in modern gambling. However, many players still believe certain roulette wheels go out of alignment and often show certain numbers more than others.

Black & Red
Black and red refers to the alternating colours of the numbers 1-36, and the corresponding wager on all black, or all red numbers. There are 18 red numbers and 18 black numbers. This is the most popular bet in roulette as it is a the equal-closest bet we can get to a 50/50 wager in a casino, with a 48.65% chance of winning. Chips are placed on either the red or black pocket on the table layout, and if the number the ball lands on is our chosen colour, we are paid out at 1:1 odds (we double our cash).

Call Bets
Calls bets are wagers where the player verbally announces the bet they wish to make without putting chips on the table. Many casinos do not allow call bets but a variation, called announced bets, are usually accepted as these bets are usually followed by the player immediately placing the appropriate chips on the table.

Chameleon Strategy
A Chameleon strategy is a name for players who watch others who constantly win at the roulette tables and attempt to mimic their betting patterns to replicate their luck and tactics. In other words, that’s you on a very bad night watching your friend in envious agony as he wins every spin.

Combination Bet
A combination bet is when we place several bets on more than one possible outcome per spin. If we place a bet on Red, Evens and a single number, this would constitute a combination bet.

Corner Bet
A corner bet refers to a wager on four numbers in a square layout. The name derives from where you place the bet; chips are placed where at the horizontal and vertical intersecting line of the four numbers. It is classified as an inside bet and pays out 11:1. The original French term sometimes still used for corner bets is ‘Carr.’

Column Bet
A column bet is a wager on any of the three vertical columns of 12 single numbers. The chip is placed in the pocket below the final number in the sequence. Numbers go up in increments of three in each column, so the first column has the numbers 1, 4, 7, 10, etc. This is classified as an outside bet and has a payout of 2:1. The original French term for column bets is ‘Colonne.’

The croupier is the dealer appointed in charge of a gaming table. They are responsible for distributing and handling chips, bets and money, and are employed by the casino. They also assist in dealing with any unruly behaviour. The name croupier is the more formal term given specifically to dealers who run roulette tables.

Double Zero
Double Zero is the pocket space on the roulette wheel and table marked 00. This number pocket is only found on American roulette wheels and tables. Double zero is green in colour as it distinguishes itself from the other red and black numbers.

Dozen Bet
A dozen bet is a bet on 12 consecutive numbers of the 36 single numbers (not including any zeros) on the gaming table. The 12 numbers are grouped in a 1st 12 section (numbers 1-12), a 2nd 12 section (numbers 13-24), and a 3rd 12 section (number 25-36), each with its own betting area. Such a wager is considered an outside bet and has a payout of 2:1.

En prison
En prison is a French term literally meaning ‘in prison’ and is a rule variation which applies to even-money wagers only. This popular rule variant is very rare in Australian land-based casinos. The rule is as follows: if the outcome of a spin is a zero, any even-money wagers are ‘imprisoned’ and cannot be removed from the table until the following spin is completed. If on the next spin, any of the imprisoned bets win, the house returns those original bets but without any winnings. If the bet loses, then the house takes the chips.

For example: a $10 wager is placed on Black and the ball lands on zero, our bet is imprisoned for one more spin and if that next spin lands on black, we get back the $10 without any winnings, otherwise we lose it. Different casinos apply different rules if the second spin is zero, again. When the En Prison rule is offered, it is most common on single-zero roulette games and brings the house edge down to 1.35 per cent.

European Roulette
European Roulette, the other distinct version of roulette, has 37 pockets (36 numbers and a zero), and places numbers randomly across the roulette wheel. It can also be referred to as single-zero roulette, as it only has the one zero as compared to the American version.

European roulette is considered more favourable than its American counterpart due to the lack of a double-zero pocket, which betters the house edge and our winning probability. Without just the one zero pocket, the house edge of European roulette is 2.70%. Typically, European roulette has a higher betting minimum in land-based casinos to counter the good house edge it carries.

Even-Money Bets
Even money bets in roulette are wagers placed on certain types of bets which offer 1:1 odds and are almost as good as a 50/50 bet. Such bets are: Black/Red, Evens/Odds, and 1-18/19/36. The actual probability of one of any of those bets winning is 48.65% (European roulette).

Evens & Odds
Evens and Odds is an even-money wager on either the 18 even numbers (2, 4, 6 and so forth) or the 18 odd numbers (1, 3, 5, etc) showing up on the wheel. There are two distinct areas on the outside of the table layout for us to place such a bet. The payout, like all even-money bets, is 1:1.

Inside Bet
Inside bets refer to wagers placed on the inside section of the numbered portion on the betting surface. These bets and numbers have less likely odds to win but have a bigger payout. These betting areas are easily identifiable as their position on the table layout constitutes the smaller, individual number pockets and their corners.

High-Low Bet
High-Low refers to an even-money wager on either 1-18 or 19-36 showing up on the wheel. When you place a bet on the high or low betting pockets, such as 1-18, it is considered a High-Low wager. It classified as an outside bet with better odds to win and has a payout of 2 to 1.

House and House Edge
The house is the entity which sets the rules and controls the play of roulette and all other games in any casino – this usually refers to the owners of the casino. The house edge is the mathematical and statistical advantage the casino holds, most commonly calculated as a percentage, over a player in any game.

La Partage
La partage, roughly translated from French as ‘the sharing’ is a roulette rule which applies to even-money wagers (red-black, high-low, odd-even). This generous rule is a popular but very rare variation only offered in some land-based casinos. It is offered only with single-zero roulette games.

If in play, la partage takes the house edge of the game down to 1.35 per cent. This is because if you make a wager and the ball lands on zero, you can retrieve half of your original wager from the croupier rather than lose all of your bet. If we bet $10 on red and the next spin results in a zero, $5 of our wager would be returned to us.

A marker is the device used by the croupier to mark the winning number of the last spin and every spin after. When the croupier places the marker on the table, players must refrain from placing new bets until the croupier removes the marker from the table. American roulette tables sometimes call their markers a “dolly”, which is a distinct wooden or plastic marker.

Mini Roulette
Mini Roulette is a slight variation of traditional roulette, offered at venues with electronic roulette machines. The game features only 13 numbers from 0-12 in comparison to traditional roulette and the payout is adjusted accordingly to be smaller. Any spins with an outcome of zero allow players to retrieve half of their losses, making Mini Roulette hold a similarly favourable house edge to European roulette with en prison and la partage rules.

Neighbouring Bet
A neighbouring bet refers to wagers placed on any five numbers as long as they are next to each other on the wheel.

Orphans is a commonly used term in European and French casinos which refers to a bet on three particular numbers: 6, 34 and 17. The wager is amusingly called orphans because the three numbers are next to each other on the roulette wheel but far apart on the table number layout.

Orphelins is French for the word orphans and is an extension of the roulette term of the same name. It is used most commonly in European and French casinos to refer to any bets made on specific groups of numbers on a section of the roulette wheel which are next to each other on the wheel but far apart on the table number layout.

Outside Bet
Outside bets refer to wagers placed outside the main numbered portion of the betting surface, which have better odds to win (usually even-money) but a smaller payout.

These betting areas are easily identifiable as their position on the table layout is closer to the player, are larger in size and are clearly signed. Outside bets include column bets, dozen bets, high-low bets, red and black, and even and odd.

A parlay, sometimes called a Press is when we leave our winnings from the previous successful spin on top of our current bet. If we won on zero and left our winnings on top of our current bet for the next spin, this would be considered a parlay.

Past Posting
Past posting is when players place bets on the winning number after it has been announced. This is a severe form of cheating in roulette and should never be attempted or recommended, and you should always report any cheaters to the croupier or pit boss.

Pinching means to remove chips from the roulette betting table after the croupier declares all bets on the table are final or after the outcome has been announced and the bets lose. This is an illegal practice and should never be done by any player if you don’t wish to go to jail or pay massive fines.

Pit Boss
The pit boss is an employee of a casino and the overseer of the roulette table who assists the croupier in any matters regarding cheating, confirmation of correct payouts and any conflict that may arise between players and the house. Pit bosses watch multiple games very closely via cameras to prevent exploitation and do have the authority to remove players from the game.

Pockets are the areas on the roulette wheel and table where the roulette ball may land and the players may place bets on. There are up to 38 pockets in American roulette and 37 in European roulette, ranging from the numbers 1-36 and a zero and double-zero pocket depending on the variation. Half of the numbered pockets are coloured red and the other half is black while the zero and/or double-zero is coloured green to indicate they are the numbers representing the house edge.

Run is another slang term for streak, applicable to roulette and many other games. It describes lucky consecutive numbers or patterns, such as 4 blacks in a row or 10 odd numbers in a row.

Single Zero
Single Zero is the space on the roulette wheel and table marked “00”. This number pocket is found in both American and European roulette games; in the latter it is the only green number or house number included in the table. European wheels with single-zero are sometimes called a “European wheel” or “French wheel” as a reference to its historic origins. Single zero is often called a “green number” due to its colour coding which signifies it as a house number.

Six Line
A Six Line refers to a bet made on two adjacent rows of numbers, such as the rows of 1, 2 & 3 and 4, 5 & 6. This bet covers six numbers and is considered an inside bet and has higher odds, but it pays out at 5-1. The original French term sometimes still used for six line bets is “Sixainne”.

Split Bet
A Split refers to a combination bet placed on two possible numbers landing. Making a split bet is done by placing chips on the intersecting lines of two numbers, such as 35 and 36. Split wagers are considered inside bets and pay out at ods of 17-1. The original French term sometimes still used for split bets is “Cheval”.

Straight Up Bet
A Straight-Up refers to a bet made on a single-number winning. Making a straight-up bet is done by placing chips on the individual number you desire, such as on number 17. They have higher odds to win, but the payout is 35-1. The original French term sometimes still used for straight up bets is “En plein”.

Street Bet
A Street refers to a bet made on a row of three numbers in a horizontal line. Placing a street bet is made by placing chips on the edge of the chosen row, such as the numbers 1, 2, and 3. Street bets are considered inside bets to their higher odds, but bet pays at 11 to 1. The original French term sometimes still used for street bets is “Transversale”.

Table Limit
The Table Limit refers to the minimum and maximum amount of money you can wager on the gaming table we are playing on. Generally, inside bets have less table limits than outside bets. Casinos impose and enforce limits in order to combat cheating and exploitation of the game as well as to safeguard against progressive gambling strategies. They are also often in place to separate high-roller games from low-bet games. Keep these limits in mind before deciding on the table appropriate for your bankroll.

Tiers Du Cylindre
Tiers Du Cylindre is a French term meaning “third of the wheel”. It is commonly used in European casinos to refer to bets placed on specific groups of numbers on a section of the roulette wheel which are paired neighbors on the table number layout.

A toke is another name for a tip for the croupier of the roulette table. Tipping is not compulsory in Australia and is up to the discretion of the player.

Top Line Bet/Five Number Bet
A five number bet constitutes wagers made on the numbers 0, 00, 1, 2 and 3 at the same time as a combination bet. It is also available on American roulette due to the rule of betting on 00, but it is also one of the worst bets to make in roulette, with a casino house edge of 7.89%.

Trio Bet
A Trio refers to a combination bet made on whether one of three possible numbers will land. The trio bet is similar to a Street bet but has to involve the zero. Any wager placed on the intersecting point between 0, 1 and 2, or 0, 2 and 3 (for single-zero layouts only) counts as a trio bet.

Voisins Du Zero
A French term translated as “neighbours of zero”. This is a bet made on the group of numbers surrounding the zero on the roulette wheel, and is applicable to single-zero European roulette only. This would cover up to half the numbers on the roulette wheel, which include 0, 2, 3, 4, 7, 12, 15, 18, 19, 21, 22, 25, 26, 28, 29, 32, and 35.