Basic roulette terms

Basic roulette terms

American roulette: A type of roulette where the wheel has 38 fields. Aside from the usual numbers, there's also a field containing double 0, i.e. 00.

Ball: The ball is thrown into the roulette wheel by the dealer; after it stops moving, its position identifies the winning number. It is thrown counter-clockwise, while the wheel turns clockwise.

Chip: These determine the value of your bet.

Dealer: A person responsible for the operation of a roulette game; they accept bets and spin the wheel.

En Prison: A rule that is sometimes applied for even bets (black/red, even/odd) when the ball stops on 0. The rule offers the player a choice: either they can lose one half of their bet, or they can keep the bet on the table for the next round. If the ball stops on 0 once again in the next round, then the player loses the whole bet. The rule cannot be applied twice in succession.

European roulette: The most frequently used type of roulette with 37 numbers. The wheel only has a single 0, which means that this variant is more advantageous for players than the American roulette.

French roulette: Practically identical to the European roulette. It has a single 0 and a few minor specific rule changes, e.g., La partage. The text on the table is also written in French.

Free spin: A free spin of the wheel, meaning that the player can spin the roulette without betting any chips.

House Edge: A number specifying how large the advantage of the casino is. The higher the number, the lower your statistical chance to win. The European roulette and French roulette have a House Edge of 2.70%, while the American roulette has a House Edge of up to 5.26% (due to having two zeroes on the wheel).

La partage: A rule used most frequently in French roulette that is similar to En prison. If the ball stops on 0, the player is allowed to take back one half of their bet; however, the other half is lost, i.e., goes directly to the casino.

Layout: The playing field of a roulette table. This is where players place chips to mark their bets.

Negative progression: This is the name used for roulette systems where bets are increased after a loss; examples include Fibonacci, Martingale.

Pay Out: The sum of the winnings of the player which made him or her end the game with a positive outcome.

Positive progression: This is the name used for roulette systems where the bet increases after you win.

Racetrack: An extension of the European and French roulette. It adds additional options for special bets in roulette.

Roulette strategy: Specific playing methods used to increase one’s chance of winning.

Roulette wheel: The roulette wheel. This changes depending on the type of roulette played. The European and French both have 37 numbers on the wheel (0 to 36). The American roulette has 38 numbers (0 to 36 and additionally 00).

Spin: One round of roulette, beginning by throwing the ball in the wheel and ending by closing the bets for the next round.

Zero: The green fields in roulette. In European roulette this refers to the field 0, in American roulette there are two green fields: 0 and 00.

Other terms used in roulette can also be found in the roulette termbase on You’ll never really enjoy the game without knowing the basic terms used in the game. Only detailed knowledge of the rules of a gambling game can bring you closer to your desired win in that game.