Roulette diverged in the 19th century between the game played on the European continent and the one played in the United States. For that reason, the roulette dictionary has a lot of terminology which might prove confusing to the gambler. This basic dictionary not only provides words and their meaning, but after reading these definitions, you should have a decent understanding of how roulette is played.
American Wheel – 38-number wheel with the red or black numbers 1 through 36, along with the green numbers 0 and 00. Because of the inclusion of the double-zero, the house edge increases to 5.26%. American roulette is not recommended.
Announced Bets – A type of wager in French roulette where you call out your type of bet, then place your chips in the proper location. The announced bets include orphelins cheval, orphelins plein, tiers du cylindre, voisins du nombre, and voisins du zero. Often referred to as “called bets”, though this is a misnomer.
Biased Wheel – Roulette wheel with a mechanical malfunction or imperfection which results in some numbers winning more often. The wheel or floor might be unbalanced, pocket may be loose, or gaffing may have occurred.
Black or Red – An even-money wager on either the 18 black or 18 red numbers.
Called Bets – A type of wager where you call out your bet type, but don’t place your bets. The called bet is betting on credit, which is not allowed in most casinos. Many gamblers and online casinos refer to the announced bets of French roulette by the name called bets.
Column Bet – A wager on one of the three columns of 12 single numbers, starting with 1, 2 or 3. The first column would be 1, 4, 7, and so on.
Croupier – The name for the dealer in roulette.
Double-Zero Roulette – Another name for American roulette, because of the inclusion of the “00” symbol. The base house edge is 5.26%.
En Prison – A rule most often used in European roulette to lower the house edge. When you make an even-money bet and the ball lands on zero, the bet is placed “en prison” or imprisoned. This means it’s a push until the next spin, at which time the winner is determined. Since imprisonment halves the house edge on even-money bets, it has the same effect as la partage rules. In either case, players using these rules should only bet on the even-money wager, because these have a house edge of 1.35%, while all other bets have a 2.70% house edge.
European Wheel – 37-number wheel with the red or black numbers 1 through 36, along with the green number 0. These wheels are used in most European casinos. In online gambling, both European roulette and French roulette is played using this device. European roulette offers a house edge of 2.7%.
Even-Money Wager – A bet which pays off 1:1 or 1-to-1 when it wins. Gamblers should not assume “even money” implies you have a 50/50 chance of winning. The zero slots lower the percentage all the way down to 47.37% in American roulette.
Even or Odd – An even-money wager on either the 18 even or 18 odd numbers.
French Roulette – This term usually applies to the called bets like orphelin cheval, orphelin plein, tiers du cylindre, voisins du nombre, and voisins du zero.
High-Low – An even-money wager on either 1-18 or 19-36. Also called hi-lo.
Inside Bet – Wagers on the numbered portion of the betting surface. Inside bets are less likely to win, but pay out more when they do. Includes bets on 1 to 6 numbers at a time.
La Partage – A rule most often used in European roulette to lower the house edge. When you make an even-money wager and the ball lands on 0, the player only loses half their bet. This lowers the house edge to 1.35%. Players should remember this only applies to the even-money wagers, so anyone play by “la partage” rules should only place these wagers. Some American casinos offer this rule, but only in Atlantic City is its common. See “en prison” for a similar rule.
Layout – The part of the betting area with numbers on it. Inside bets are placed in the layout.
Orphelin Cheval – A five-chip bet in French roulette, where you place one chip each on the 1, the 6 and 9, the 14 and 17, the 17 and 20, and the 31 and 34. They are called orphins, because these numbers sit outside the voisins and tiers number arrangement.
Orphelin Plein – A six-chip bet in French roulette, where you place one chip each on these six split bets: 5 and 8; 10 and 11; 13 and 16; 23 and 24; 27 and 30; and 33 and 36.
Outside Bet – Wagers outside the numbered portion of the betting surface, also called the layout. Outside bets are more likely to win, but pay out less when they do. Includes bets on 12 or 18 numbers at a time.
Past Posting – A method of cheating in which the player places a bet after the croupier calls for no more bets.
Single-Zero Roulette – Another name for European roulette, because it only has one zero pocket. The base house edge is 2.7%.
Tiers du Cylindre – A 6-chip wager in French roulette on all twelves numbers (on the wheel) between 27 and 30.
Voisins du Zero – The “zero numbers” bet is on the 9 numbers closest to the zero on the wheel.