Roulette is a casino game in which players place bets on a number or group of numbers. The outcome is determined by dropping a ball into a spinning wheel with numbered pockets. The game was first played in Paris in the late 1700s and is now found in casinos around the world. There are many variations on the game, but the European version has the lowest house edge. There are several betting combinations in the game, with different odds for winning and payouts. The most common are inside bets, which cover groups of numbers, and outside bets, which cover the whole wheel. In addition, there are special bets such as the Voisins du Zero and the Tiers du Cylindre. These bets have their own French names, and it is important to learn these in order to understand the game.
There are various theories about the origin of the game, including one that it was invented by 17th-century French mathematician Blaise Pascal to test a hypothesis regarding the probability of a rolling double-zero. Another theory is that the game was derived from the older games hoca and portique. The modern roulette wheel is a solid wooden disk slightly convex in shape, with a metal rim that contains a series of compartments called frets or separators. Thirty-six of these are painted alternately red and black and numbered nonconsecutively from 1 to 36. A green compartment on the American wheel carries the sign 0 and two other green ones on the European wheel carry the signs 00.
While the basic rules of roulette are easy to learn, it is difficult to develop a consistent strategy that will lead to profits. A quick search on Google will return millions of systems for playing and winning at the game, some of which work better than others.
The best roulette strategy is to play only with funds that you can afford to lose and not use for other expenses. Set a budget before you begin and stick to it, no matter what happens. You should also avoid any bets with a high house edge.
The game can be played with either the European or the American wheel, but the latter has a higher house edge than the European version. If a casino offers both, choose the European version. Also, look for a game that has the “en prison” rule, which applies to even-odds bets that lose to a winning zero and reduces the house edge to only 1.35%.