Roullete, or “little wheel,” is a casino game in which bets are placed on numbers and various groupings of numbers. Players place their chips on a roulette table, which has compartments that correspond to the red or black numbered compartments of a spinning wheel. When the wheel stops spinning, a small ball is dropped into one of the compartments to determine the winner. The winning bets are paid off at varying odds. The game was first introduced in Europe around the 18th century.
Several variations of the game exist, but all are based on the same principle. The house edge varies between 2.7% and 7.6%, depending on the type of bet. Some bets, such as red and black, pay even money, while others pay high or low. The wheel’s color and the number of pockets also affect the house edge.
The earliest recorded versions of roulette, which had the same wheel structure and layout as the modern European game, were developed in the 17th century. Blaise Pascal, a French mathematician, is widely credited with this invention. His original goal was to create a perpetual motion machine, but the results of his experiment took him by surprise.
The modern game, whose origin is unclear, gained popularity in gambling dens and casinos throughout the world. During this period, the game was modified for improved security and convenience. A series of rules were introduced, including a wheel guard to prevent devices from being hidden in the wheel and a standardized betting layout to discourage cheating.
A modern version of the game, which is played in most American casinos, has an additional green pocket labeled 00 and thus has a higher house edge than the European game. However, the house edge can be lowered to 1.35% by choosing a table with a la partage rule, in which even-money bets that lose to a zero are split in half, with half going to the player and the other half back to the dealer.