In American Roulette, the perfectly balanced roulette wheel consists of 38 identical slots, individually numbered from 0, 00, 1 through 36. In total, 38 numbers are represented on the betting layout. On the standard roulette wheel the numbers are not arranged consecutively. By design, they alternate between red and black and exactly opposite each other number is the corresponding higher and lower number. Look straight across one side of the wheel to the other and you will see that the O is opposite the 00, 1 is opposite the 2, and so on up to the 35 being directly opposite the 36. All red numbers are opposite the black numbers.
The roulette wheel is kept spinning all the time and sped up once a game is about to begin. The croupier rolls a little ivory ball along the inner edge of the wheel in the opposite direction of its spin. As the wheel turns, the ball loses momentum and it bounces among the slots and finally falls into one of the numbered slots. Bettors can place their bets right up until the time the wheel slows down and the ball drops into place. The number that the ball rests on is the declared as the winning number for that game.
One to six players can be seated at the roulette table. Roulette is the only game in the casino where players purchase special non-value roulette chips, each player with their own color so that the dealer can tell the bets apart. These chips must be cashed in at the roulette table before leaving. The chips have a set value depending on the minimum bet set at the table, but a player may request whatever value he wishes for his chips. The dealer will then specify the worth of that particular colored chip by mating a sample chip which is placed upon the rim of the wheel. Players may also bet larger amounts by using $1, $5 and $25 regular casino chips. If you are unsure of the procedures and the minimum bets at any table, the dealer, should be glad to explain the casino's policy for roulette wagers.
The European roulette wheel with its single 0 has a house edge of only 2.70%. The player has a 1 in 37 chance of winning and still gets paid 35 to 1.
The procedures at the European table are slightly different than the American game. While American dealers sweep the layout with their hands and arms, European croupiers use a long stick known as the rake to sweep in all bets. In Europe, roulette games do not use the non-value chips. All players use the standard casino chips, which can cause great confusion when there are a multitude of bets on the layout. If you're playing in Europe, you have to be wary of exactly what you have bet.