Roulette Terms


Roulette is one of the most colorful games you can play at a brick-and-mortar or online casino, and that’s not just because red and black are important aspects of how the game is played. Its rich history has helped to build a lexicon that rivals most any game or sport you’ll come across.

As such, reading through a glossary for roulette can be a lot more fun than simply being an exercise in expanding your knowledge of the game – it could provide you with some novel terms that may serve you well in the non-gambling world as well. Since roulette is a French game, translations (where necessary) are provided in parentheses next to each word where appropriate. Instead of the usual A-Z reference guide, let’s take a look at the roulette terms that will be most useful and at which level of expertise they will be necessary for you to know.

Beginner Terms

The most important terms for beginners involve the basics – betting and table terms.

Single/Straight Bet: Just as the term would have you believe, this is where you bet on one number on the board (odds of hitting are 37-1, payout is 35-1).

Outside/Inside Bet: The individual numbers are on the inside portion of the betting surface, so when you place your money there, it is an inside bet. Other options, like betting odd numbers, even numbers, red, black and other large numerical number combinations available, are listed on the outside portion of the betting surface, making placing a wager there an outside bet.

16-1-Croupier-Wheel

The croupier supervises bet placements and payouts.

Croupier: A term of French origin used for a roulette dealer.

Ball/Wheel: These are probably the simplest terms on this list, but they are worth mentioning nonetheless. The ball is the small, usually white, object that gets spun around the outside of the wheel and lands in a numbered pocket, denoting the winner. The wheel is the spinning mechanism that contains the numbered pockets that the ball falls into.

Ball Track/Backtrack: The area on the outside of the wheel where the ball travels before settling down in a pocket.

Check Rack/Check Tray/Well: Where players store their chips during play.

16-2-Chips-Well

Roulette chips are stored in an area often referred to as a well.

Roulette chips/non-value chips: Unlike chips used in the rest of the casino, roulette chips don’t have a specific value assigned to them. Instead, each one represents a proportion of your buy-in, i.e., if you buy in for $200 and get 20 chips, each one will be worth $10. The croupier will usually keep track of this by leaving a marker or valued casino chip in front of you that denotes what each of your chips is worth.

Payout: The money a croupier pays you when you win.

American vs. European Roulette: American is the style you will find at most casinos. What makes it “American” is that it uses both zero and a double-zero pockets, as opposed to European-style roulette, which only uses a single zero.

13-1-American-Euorpean

American roulette wheels have a 00, while European roulette wheels do not.

Intermediate Terms

Now that we’ve covered some of the simplest roulette jargon, it’s time to move on to stuff that’s a little more complicated, most of it having to do with the kinds of bets available to you at the table.

Split Bet (Cheval): When a player bets on two adjacent numbers at the same time. It is made by placing a chip or stack of chips on the line dividing the two numbers.

Street Bet (Transversale): A bet on three numbers at a time that are all in the same row.

16-4-Corner-Bet

Table showing a corner bet.

Corner (Carre) Bet: When a player bets on four numbers at one time by placing a chip or stack of chips on the corner where all four numbers meet.

Five-Number Bet: Used only in American roulette, it’s where a player bets on zero, double zero, one, two and three concurrently.

Six-Number Bet (Sixainne): When a player bets on six numbers at one time.

Column Bet: When a player bets on one of the three columns on the inside of the betting surface.

16-5-Dozen-Bet

Table showing a dozens bet.

Dozen Bet: When a player places a bet on one of the three marked sets of 12 numbers. In almost all circumstances, those sets will be divided into the first 12 numbers on the wheel (1-12), the second 12 (13-24) and the final 12 (25-36).

Parlay: When a player leaves their bet on the table – often the payout from a previous win – and adds to it, hoping to parlay their winnings into a bigger profit.

Advanced Terms

Once you know the basic terms and those that deal with specific types of roulette wagers, all that’s left are the terms and phrases relating to betting systems and other methods that are supposedly beneficial to beating the game.

Biased Wheel/Biased Numbers: Before casinos became fully aware of this issue and implemented ways of stopping it, older wheels would sometimes get worn out and start landing on certain numbers or quadrants with more frequency than statistically probable. Players who kept tabs on this could then find wheels or numbers that were biased and bet on the more likely outcomes.

Chameleon Strategy: Completely unscientific, this strategy simply entails watching for a hot player at a table and placing bets on the same numbers or in the same patterns as them.

Wheel Clocking: Keeping track of the results of a specific roulette wheel in the hope that you will notice a pattern or bias.

Visual Wheel Tracking: When a player can estimate where the ball is likely to land just by watching it roll around the wheel.

Betting Systems – (Martingale, Fibonacci, D’Alembert, LaBouchere) All of these are forms of progressive betting systems, which means they will determine the amount of your wager based on results from previous spins. While they are intended to give the player an advantage at roulette, none of them have been proven to work and, if anything, may harm your chances in that they can cut into your bankroll at a faster rate than betting the same amount on every spin.

Now that you know how to sound like a roulette pro, it’s time to go out and drop your newfound lingo on every croupier willing to let you try out your Martingale on their wheel.