Understanding Roulette Terms – A Glossary

min read
A close-up look at a roulette tabletop.
BetMGM Nov 08, 2023, 10:53 AM

The tension mounts as the bets are placed. Bets on the inside and outside, bets on the red and the black. The croupier spins the wheel and tosses the ball; round and round it spins. As the ball drops from the track onto the wheel, the croupier calls “No more bets!”

The game – known to most as “roulette” – is now completely in the hands of Lady Luck.

The exciting, nerve-wracking and gut-wrenching roulette casino game has enticed risk-takers since the 18th century. Also available as an online casino game, modern roulette is thought to be a hybrid of French mathematician Blaise Pascal’s attempt at a perpetual motion machine and the Italian game Biribi. There are other ideas about its origins, but all signs point to the game having been taken up by the French and spread across Europe and the US.

With a game as rich in history as roulette, it’s no surprise that it has a linguistic history to match – players have developed an impressive and unique jargon for it over the years. So If you’re considering playing the game, we’ve got some important tips to share. One, the game is based purely on luck; two, the outside bets and colors are likely to pay out more often; and three, to play the game you must learn its language.

Roulette Terminology

If you’re wondering how to play roulette at a casino, we suggest you start by understanding some of the terms used most often during the game. Don’t worry – we’ve done the hard work for you.  

Roulette wheel: this is where the action happens. The wheel will have between 37 and 38 numbers (depending on the variant you play.) Numbers 1 to 36 are alternately red or black while the 0 and 00 are green.

Roulette table: this is a felt-covered tabletop showing where the various bets can be placed. The numbers’ colors correspond to those of the numbers on the wheel.

The ball: usually a white, marble-like ball that is thrown counter to the way the wheel spins.

Croupier: this is the dealer – the person who collects the bets, spins the wheel, throws the ball and pays out the winner.

Dolly: a marker that the croupier places on the winning bet.

Different Types of Bets

What makes roulette one of the best online casino games to play (as well as highly enjoyable in an actual casino,) is that you can get more chances to win by placing multiple bets. In fact, roulette is possibly one of the casino games with the best odds. The betting table shows you where you can place your bets. You can choose to bet on the numbers themselves, groups of numbers, the colors or even on whether the ball will land on an even or odd number.

And now that we’ve gone through the general terms let’s unpack some betting terminology.

Inside bets

These are bets laid on the actual numbers inside the table map.

  • Straight up: when you bet on one number for a payout of 35 to 1. You have to be very lucky to pull this off.  
  • Split: betting on two numbers for a payout of 17 to 1.
  • Street: betting on three numbers for a payout of 11 to 1. You can use one chip to bet on three numbers by placing it at the end of a row of three, known as a street.
  • Corner: this is where you bet on four numbers and the game pays 8 to 1. The chip is placed where four numbers meet.
  • Five-number bet: this is mainly in the American version as this bet covers 0, 00, 1, 2, 3 and pays 6 to 1.
  • Six line: the chip is placed on the edge of two joined streets. You’ll be betting on six numbers and can expect a 5 to 1 payout if you win.
  • Row 00 bet: this is also exclusive to American Roulette as your chip covers 0 and 00 and pays 17 to 1.

Outside bets

These are bets placed on the outside blocks of the table map.

  • Manque bet: covers the low numbers from 1 to 18
  • Passe bet: covers the higher numbers from 19 to 36
  • Rouge ou noir: a bet based on whether the ball will land on red or black
  • Pair ou impair: a bet placed on whether the ball will land on an odd or even number
  • Dozen bet: betting that the number will be in the chosen dozen
    • First block from 1 to 12 (also known as première douzaine or P12)
    • Second block from 13 to 24 (moyenne douzaine or M12)
    • Third block from 25 to 36 (dernière douzaine or D12)
  • Column bet: betting on the fact that the number will be in the chosen vertical column of 12 numbers, such as 1–4–7–10 down to 34.
  • Snake bet: this special bet covers numbers 1, 5, 9, 12, 14, 16, 19, 23, 27, 30, 32 and 34. This gives it a zig-zag, snake-like pattern. The bet is placed by putting the chip on the lower corner of the number 34 square that borders the 19 to 36 betting box. Sometimes the bet will be indicated by a two-headed snake that winds from 1 to 34. The chip can then be placed on the head at either end of the body. (Note that the snake bet isn’t available in all casinos.)

Playing Roulette Online? Here’s a Helpful Hint

As with all online casino games – whether it’s live dealer casino games, online slots, poker or anything else – it’s best to get to know how the game works before you start using your own money. Roulette is no different.

Most online casinos allow you to play demos before diving into real play. During a demo, you may be given a certain amount of free bonus funds to play with; this feature enables you to make as many mistakes as you need while learning. Try the straight-up bets, the streets, corners and other combos to discover odds and payouts. Once you’re comfortable with the game then you can move on to playing with real money.

Play Roulette Without Even Getting Into Your Car

BetMGM is home to some of the best casino table games. With their easy-to-use mobile app, you can now play roulette anywhere, anytime. Simply register and you can start playing today.

Actress Vanessa Hudgens flipping casino chips next to the text "The King of Casinos"
About the Author


Read More

Our BetMGM editors and authors are casino experts with a wealth of knowledge of the online casino industry at all levels. Their coverage includes company news, game reviews, how-to instructional articles, strategy guides, and editorials showcasing BetMGM’s superior product and game library.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are casino experts with a wealth of knowledge of the online casino industry at all levels. Their coverage includes company news, game reviews, how-to instructional articles, strategy guides, and editorials showcasing BetMGM’s superior product and game library.