Role of the Croupier


As with any casino game, your chances of winning at roulette increase greatly as you gather more knowledge. That includes learning about the role of the dealer or croupier – the person who represents the house against which you will be playing.

While you may never end up as a golden-armed blackjack dealer or a shrewdly calculating roulette croupier, knowing how they do their jobs and the rules to which they’re subject will help you become a better player and, ultimately, a more successful gambler. That is especially true in roulette, since interaction with the croupier is crucial to how smoothly the game plays out.

The Croupier’s Perspective

The first thing to know about roulette dealers is that they are usually referred to as croupiers. The term, like the game itself, is of French derivation, and comes from the word croup, which refers to the back of a horse.

Croupiers were originally people who stood behind gamblers, holding onto their back up cash reserves. It later came to refer to anyone who was employed by a casino to collect money at the gaming table. While croupier is used almost exclusively as a title for people who run roulette games – especially in America – elsewhere it can refer to someone who runs any casino game.

Knowing about this won’t necessarily help you win at the roulette table, but since most dealers prefer to be called croupiers, it is a term of respect. By using it, you will likely open a dialogue, or at least a cordial relationship, with the croupier, which will help to make your experience more enjoyable.

There is also a tradition in roulette of players announcing their bets and having the croupier place it for them. While this is antiquated and rarely used, if it’s something you’d like to try out make sure to ask the croupier if they have any objections to doing so.

Finally, understand that the croupier has a complicated job. They don’t just spin the wheel and drop the ball, they have to keep track of each bet made by each player on a wagering board that is large and difficult to keep a close eye on. That is why most casinos employ multiple croupiers at any given table.

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The Croupier is in charge of spinning the wheel and supervising all betting.

Croupier Rules and Procedures

Unlike other casino games, roulette doesn’t use chips with different values. Instead, each player is assigned a different color stack, which is how croupiers are able to tell the difference on who gets what payout.

However, that means different players’ chips can have different values depending on the amount they used for their buy-in. A popular way of keeping track of this is to place a chip in the well in front of each player that denotes how much their individual chips are worth.

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Players use chips to designate bets in roulette.

The croupier will tell players to place their bets, opening the proverbial the betting window. At the same time, they will spin the wheel in one direction and the ball the opposite way. As the ball goes around the outside of the wheel, on the way to its final resting spot, players lay down their bets or ask the croupier to place them in their stead.

When the ball is about three rotations from falling onto the wheel, the croupier will announce that betting has closed. Once the ball lands in its numbered pocket, they places a marker – usually a large glass or plastic object – on the numbered square that corresponds to where the ball landed. If there are chips in that square, the marker is placed on top of them.

Every bet that wasn’t on the winning number, or wasn’t placed on a bet that covered that number (e.g., black, red, first 12 numbers, etc.) is then cleared from the board and is a loss for the player who put them down. Winners are then paid off corresponding to the odds of their wager.

That is where the difficulty mostly lies. Figuring out payouts for each bet can be time consuming and the process is prone to error, so players must keep a close eye on their bets to ensure that the croupier pays them out correctly and doesn’t accidentally clear a winning bet from the table. That’s one of the major benefits to playing online – payout errors are completely eliminated.

Tips for Croupiers and Roulette Players

Roulette can be a fun game that encourages camaraderie between players and the croupier. Because there is often time in between each spin of the wheel, as well as while the ball is in motion, you can root like crazy for your number to hit or talk up the croupier or your fellow players.

At the same time, you want to make sure you don’t get in the way of the croupier doing his or her job or your fellow players making their bets. At any gaming table, striking that balance is always something that requires you to be cognizant of many factors.

Specific Tips:

  • A croupier should always pay the “outside” bets – i.e., wagers placed on non-specific numbers like bets on black or red – first, then work their way inside. This makes mistakes less likely. If you notice a croupier going inside-out, you may want to ask that they do it the more traditional way.
  • Croupiers and players should always try to get a feel for the wheel before starting the deal or play. Obviously, this is much more important for croupiers since they will be working directly with the wheel, but players should watch a few spins first before settling down at a table.
  • Use regular casino chips if there aren’t enough roulette chips available on the table or in the player’s well.
  • Knowing the payouts is crucial for both players and croupiers. There are handy guides to the odds and payouts for roulette elsewhere on this site that you can use as a reference for knowing how much should be paid out on each bet.