Roulette, as the name suggests, involves a sort of wheel. In fact, the name of the game itself comes from a French word that means, “small wheel.” In roulette, there is a winning number, which is determined by spinning the wheel in one direction, and then having a small, white ball spin on a raise track on the roulette wheel, in the opposite direction. Momentum slows down the balls progress, until it eventually falls into one of the numbered pockets in the wheel. The number of the pocket where the ball has fallen is the winning number, and anyone who has made a bet on this number, or a group of numbers or colors that include this number, will receive a payout. A European roulette wheel has thirty-seven pockets; thirty-six of which are numbered one to thirty six, and arranged in an alternating black and red pattern. The thirty-seventh pocket in a European roulette wheel is a green pocket numbered zero. In contrast to this, the American roulette wheel has thirty-eight pockets. The thirty-six black and red numbered pockets are arranged in the same way as the European wheel, but instead of having only one green pocket, the American roulette wheel has two green pockets. These two pockets are numbered zero, and double zero.
The American roulette wheel is actually the more traditional roulette wheel, since the single zero wheel was only introduced during the mid-Eighteenth Century, by Frenchmen Louis and Francois Blanc. Roulette is a game of pure chance; while it may be possible to control what how much to bet and what kind of bet you will make in a single spin, ultimately, it all comes down to odds and probability. A person cannot bluff or strategize their way into victory, as they would with a card game like Texas Hold’em Poker. For example, if a person makes a Straight Up roulette bet -a bet where a person wagers that the roulette ball will fall into a particular numbered pocket- their odds against winning with the more traditional kind of roulette wheel, are thirty-seven to one. In order to gain an edge over the competing casinos in the town of Homburg, in Germany, the Blancs decided to try and lower the odds in the player’s favor. They did this by taking out the double zero pocket, which gave a person making a Straight Up bet with thirty-six to one odds against winning, rather than thirty-seven. These kinds of roulette wheels became so popular, that they spread throughout Europe and eventually became the casino standard there.