7 Roulette Terms You Should Know

People have been playing roulette for hundreds of years, with the earliest versions dating back to 18th century France.

The basic premise of the game is to bet on a number and spin the roulette wheel. A ball will land on a colored number, and everyone who wagered on that outcome will win.

Since it has been around for so long, there are lots of terms and words that relate specifically to roulette. Many of them are French due to roulette’s origins.

In this article, we cover some of the words and terms you may find when playing a game of roulette.

American Roulette Vs European Roulette

When you are learning how to play roulette, you will hear the terms American roulette and European roulette be used a lot. These terms refer to the 2 different types of roulette wheels you will find.

The American wheel has 38 pockets, 2 of which are green and numbered 0 and 00. The rest are red and black and are numbered 1-36. This means the probability of winning is 1/38.

The European wheel has 37 pockets; it has the same numbers and colors as the American wheel but has no green 00 pockets. This means the probability of winning on this wheel is 1/37.

The order of the numbers also changes depending on the wheel.

Biased Numbers

This is a group of numbers that are statistically more likely to be landed on. This is done through analysis and observation and is often the result of a faulty wheel.

En Prison

This is French for ‘in prison’ and is an option that is sometimes given on European roulette wheels.

It only applies to even-money wages and only comes into play when the wheel lands on 0.

If this happens, the players don’t immediately lose their bet. Instead, it is locked (or imprisoned) for another spin. 

If they win the next spin, they get their bet back; if not, it goes to the house. This is a favorable rule because it is essentially a free retry.

A similar rule is La Partage, where the player only loses half their bet but doesn’t get the option to leave for another spin.

House Edge

It is a common term that the house always wins in gambling. This is because they set the rules and make them in favor of the house.

The house edge is usually determined by a percentage of how likely they are to come away winning compared to the player. For example, with an American roulette wheel, the house edge is 5.36%, whereas a European roulette wheel has a house edge of 2.7%.

Inside And Outside Bets

These are the 2 different types of bets you can make.

Inside bets refer to the numbers on the inside of the roulette table layout. They tend to have a larger payout. Below are some examples of inside bets that can be made.

  • Corner – a bet on four numbers in a square configuration, also called carre
  • Six-line – a 6-number wagering system, also called sixain
  • Split – bet on 2 adjacent numbers, also called cheval
  • Straight-up – a bet on a singular number and color, also called en plein. This is one of the largest payouts
  • Street – a bet on three numbers in a horizontal line
  • Trio – a bet of 2 sets of 3 number configurations, also called transversale

An outside bet is when you bet on one of the options of the outside of the roulette table layout. These bets cover a larger area of probability, so have a smaller payout. Below are some outside bets that could be made.

  • Red (rouge) or black (noir)
  • Even (pair) or odd (impair)
  • 1-18 (manque)
  • 19-36 (passe)
  • Column bets also called Colonne
  • A dozen bets, also called douzaine- the first group is called premiere, the last group is called derniere


This is also known as a combo or accumulator bet. It is a strategy that involves doubling your bet after a win and returning to the initial bet if you lose.

This approach is high risk, with you either winning double your money or losing everything. It has great benefits if you are on a winning streak.

Parlay as a strategy can also be applied in blackjack.


This is the amount of money you win on a bet. The payout depends on the type of bet you made and how much money you bet. 

More Terms

  • Airball roulette – A roulette wheel powered by air pressure.
  • Backtrack/balltrack – The outer rim where the ball is spun.
  • Biased wheel – A faulty wheel that causes a certain number to be landed on more often.
  • Bottom track – The bottom area of the wheel that the ball goes into before bouncing into a pocket.
  • Cold table – A table where you and/or other players have been consistently losing.
  • Dealer – A casino worker who deals out winnings and spins the roulette wheel, also called croupier which is exclusive to roulette.
  • Electronic roulette – A roulette wheel powered by electricity.
  • Even money – A bet that pays out 1 to 1.
  • Gaffed wheel – A wheel rigged by either players or the casino.
  • Hot table – A table where players have been regularly winning.
  • Mini roulette – A smaller wheel with only 13 numbers labeled 1-12. The payout is adjusted accordingly.
  • Orphelins – This is exclusive to European roulette. It refers to the digits that are close to each other on the roulette wheel but not on the board, such as 1-20-14-31-9 and 14-34-6.
  • Positive progression – Any strategy that increases your bets after a win.
  • Section slicing – Discover biases by dividing the board based on where the wheel has been hitting.
  • Surrender – Some casinos only take half the player’s wager if it lands on 0 or 00 and they have bet even.
  • Visual wheel trackingAbility to tell where the ball will land by how it’s spinning.

Final Thoughts

With this expanded vocabulary, you will be able to follow along with any roulette game with ease and feel like a proper high roller.

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