Roulette (or Roullete) is a game of chance in which a small ball is released into a revolving wheel and players make bets concerning which red or black numbered compartment the ball will come to rest in as it comes to a stop. Bets are made on a table marked to correspond with the compartments of the wheel, and players may place multiple bets per spin. Each bet pays off at different odds depending on the number of chips wagered. Roulette emerged in the late 18th century in Europe and has since become one of the most popular casino games.

While it may have a smaller following in America than slots, video poker or blackjack, roulette still attracts crowds to European casinos. With the right strategy, it can also be a very profitable game. But despite its glamour and mystery, roulette has some surprising levels of depth for serious bettors.

The game has its origins in 17th-century France, where mathematician Blaise Pascal is credited with inventing it. He was researching probability in his quest to develop a perpetual motion machine and the game was an accidental byproduct of his experimentation.

A roulette wheel consists of a solid wooden disk slightly convex in shape, around which are metal separators or frets that form thirty-six individual pockets. On the European-style wheel, these compartments are alternately painted red and black and numbered nonconsecutively from 1 to 36. On the American roulette wheel, a second green compartment carries the numbers 0 and 00. The roulette ball is a little smaller than a golf ball and is usually made of ivory. Today, professional roulette balls are often made of resin or Teflon. The material, size and weight of the ball can have a significant effect on the game; a lighter, smaller ball makes more revolutions on the wheel track and bounces more unpredictably before landing than a heavier ball.

There are many systems of betting on the game, but the Martingale is the most common and easiest to understand. In this system, you increase your bet after every loss and decrease it after a win. It is not recommended for American roulette, however, because the house edge is higher because of the addition of two green pockets.

Another popular strategy is to bet on the dozens. This bet is made by placing chips on the edge of the numbered squares of the layout, between the zero and the row containing 1, 2 and 3, for example. This bet pays out at 392 chips if it wins, but it has much lower odds than a straight bet. There are also bets on the color of the winning number, which are less lucrative and have a greater risk of losing the whole bet. This is why it’s important to know the rules of roulette before playing.

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