Glossary

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A

American Roulette Table – In American roulette, all the outside bets are on one side of the field of regular numbers. Above these are the two boxes for 0 and 00, next to eachother.
Announced bet – also a "Call", placing a bet by clearly calling it to the dealer. Rarely happens with any bets other than established call bets.

B

Ball – Ivory coloured sphere, usually made of plastic. It is thrown into the spinning roulette wheel to determine the outcome of the spin: the box where the ball stops is the winning number.
Basket – Wager in American roulette on three numbers that include 0, 00 or both. Possible bets are 0,1,2 and 0,00,2 and 00,2,3. These are inside bets.
Bet – An amount of money (often measured in chips) that a player wagers on a specific outcome of a game. If the player is correct, he receives his money back and additional winnings. If he is wrong, he loses his bet.
Bet on three numbers – See "Street"
Betting a double – Betting on two of the same thing: two numbers, two rows or two columns. This is done by placing the chips of the wager on the dividing line between the two regular bets. The most common type of this is by betting a "Split": on two numbers.
Betting strategy – A personal set of rules used by players to dictate (or guide) their process of betting. This may include a betting system, and a limit to the maximum bet, maximum losses and maximum profit. It is vital to stick to a viable betting strategy in order to stay away from "Gambler’s Ruin".
Black – One of the three colours of the roulette numbers. The other two are Red and Green, with the latter one reserved for 0 (and 00). Half of the other numbers are coloured black. It is also an outside bet, paying 1-to-1.
Blanc, Francois – French entrepreneur from the 19th century. Twin brother to Louis Blanc. After the death of his brother and the ban on gambling in France and Germany he was attracted to Monaco by King Charles III of that country to set up a resort and casino to rescue Monaco out of its heavy debts. Francois set up the Monte Carlo casino and made it great. He is said to have had an inscription in his office that read "No matter Red or Black, Blanc (white) always wins."
Blanc, Francois and Louis – Twin brothers, French 19th century entrepreneurs. Together they started a large casino in Homburg where they attracted attention with French roulette and made it, and gambling in general, very popular with the European upper class.
Breaking the bank – Winning all the money that is at that point available at the table. This requires hazardously high bets.

C

Call bets – Strictly speaking, all bets called aloud to the dealer call bets. But it is most often used to describe a group of specific bets in French roulette that are always betted by calling them out. See also "Classic call bets" and the list of call bets.
Casino – House or website for the practice of gambling.
Casino margin – see House Edge
Classic call bets – Betting combinations originating from original French roulette. These include Jeu Zéro, Voisins du Zéro, Tiers du Cylindre and Orphelins. See also the list of call bets.
Cloth – see Table
Coloured chips – Chips used in American roulette. Different colours represent different players and all chips have the same value, as determined by the player.
Column – Vertical row of 12 numbers on the roulette table. Also represents bets on a column. To bet a column, chips are placed in the specific box at the column bottom that usually says "2-to-1", which is the payout for this bet.
Complete bet – Also Full Complete, or Maximum. Betting fully on a number. There are different views of what a complete bet is. The simpelest one is a bet consisting of 9 chips, or multiples thereof, one on a number, four on the Splits containing that number, and four on the Corners including that number.
The large (and true "Full Complete" bet) consists of all possible inside bets on a single number. This includes the straight-up (with 1 chip), 4 Splits (2 chips each), 4 Corners (4 chips each), 1 Street (3 chips), 2 Six Lines (6 chips each). This gives a total of 40 chips.
Completez – French name for a maximized or complete bet. See Complete Bet
Corner – Also a Carreé. A bet of four numbers, which corners are together on the roulette table.
Couple – see Split
Croupier – Also the Dealer. Member of the casino staff in charge of the roulette table and the bets placed on it. Redeems losses and pays out winnings.

D

D'Alembert, Jean Le Rond – 18th century philosopher, mathematician and physicist who laid down the principle of "equilibrium". One of the most popular betting systems is named after him: D'Alembert.
Dealer – The name for the Croupier in American rouette. On this type of table (with the double 0), the dealer may never place bets on the table or accept chips from players.
Divine Proportion – Another name for the golden ratio (1.61803…). Two numbers are in divine proportion when the one divided by the other gives this ratio.
Dolly – Plastic, glass or metal marker used by the dealer to show which number was spun on the roulette wheel. The croupier places the marker on the number and removes all losing inside bets around it before he proceeds to pay out winning wagers.
Dolly – Name in American roulette for the small plastic marker the dealer places over the chips on the winning number after a spin.
Dopey Experiment – Rather obscure betting system. The Dopey Experiment makes a player bet the same amount on a the same number for 35 times or until he wins, hoping this will generate profit. It is not widely used and not even well known.
Double Column bet – Bet on two adjacent columns on the table. This bet is made by placing chips on the line dividing the betting boxes for both columns. Since this is a bet on 24 numbers, it pays out 1 to 2.
Double dozen – Bet on two consecutive dozens on the table. This bet is made by placing chips on the dividing line between the betting boxes for both dozens. Since this is a bet on 24 numbers, it pays out 1 to 2.
Double table – Roulette table that is laid out with the wheel in the middle and two locations to bet, on on each side.
Double transverse row – Also known as a "Six Lane". Bet on two consecutive rows on the table. The bet is made by placing chips on the touching corners of the leftmost or rightmost boxes of the two rows. This is a bet on six numbers and pays out 5 to 1.
Double Zero – A number found on the roulette wheel in American roulette. It can be bet on the same as single zero. It is neither red nor black, odd nor even, and neither high or low.
Dozen Bet – Outside bet on the roulette table on 12 consecutive numbers. There are three of these: 1-12, 13-24 and 25-26. Each has its own betting box to the side of the grid with the single numbers. This bet pays 1 to 3.

E

En Prison – A rule that applies to even money outside bets on most casino tables. When this rule is in effect, all losing bets on Red, Black, Even, Odd, 1-18 or 19-36 get an "extra chance" to not lose: they are left at the table for another spin. If they win that, the bet is returned with no losses and no winnings. This rule decreases the house edge, making outside even money bets the most lucrative of the roulette table.
End table – Dealer at the head of the table, supervising betting and placing call bets. His word is usually seen as final in a dispute.
Etiquette – Rules governing the behavior and dress of players and dealers/croupiers in a casino. This varies around the world. Some of these rules are very strict (such as whether the dealer may touch the chips, when it is allowed to place bets), others are more niceties (the custom to dress rather formally in European casino’s, for instance). A wise player makes sure he knows these rules, for instance by asking a croupier or floor manager.
Even – Odd – Even money outside bets based on whether the outcome will be even or odd. Note that 0 and 00 are neither Even nor Odd.

F

Fermat, Pierre de – Seventeenth century Italian mathematician who corresponded with his colleague Blaise Pascal and on estimating the outcome of double or nothing bets. This was the start of the mathematical branch of Probability.
Fibonacci, Leonardo – Leonardo of Pisa was a 13th century mathematician who published a book containing many mathematical insight that were new to Western Europe at the time. He attained this knowledge on his travels in Asia. One of the most famous numerical series is named after him.
Fila – see Street.
Final bet – Only used in French roulette. A bet that includes straight-up bets on all numbers that end in a specific digit. Final 5 (pronounced "finnáal five"), for instance, is a bet on 5, 15, 25 and 35.
First four – Bet on the first four numbers of French roulette (0, 1, 2, 3). Made by placing the chips on the intersecting corners of the 0 and 1, or the 0 and 3. In essence, this is a Six Line with only four numbers.
French Roulette Table – In French roulette there is only one zero, and the outside bets are on both sides of the number field with opposite bets often on different sides.
Full orphans – see Orphelins

G

Gambler’s Fallacy – The superstition that past events of a random game influence the future. This means players will be inclined to believe that after a streak of the ball landing on Black 20 times, chances are higher than normal that it will land on Red the next time. This is of course not true, every spin of the wheel has the exact same probabilities regarding its outcomes.
Germans, The – Group of German bettors who amassed a fortune by studying the ‘non-randomness’ of several tables in the Casino Del Mar de la Plata (Argentina). After this, it became common practice to exchange the cylinders of the tables to make them more unpredictable.
Golden Ratio – Also know as the golden number or the divine proportion, this number, often represented as φ (fi) is approximately 1.618. This number is encountered very often in nature and also in the Fibonnaci sequence.
Good manners – Etiquette required in many casinos. A casino can remove players who annoy others or are a disturbance.
Great Martingale – Betting system based on the regular Martingale. Instead of doubling the bet after every loss, it is doubled and 1 extra chip is added. This way, should you win, you always win 1 chip for every spin you lost instead of just 1 chip.
Green numbers – Numbers that are colored green on the roulette table. These are the 0 and (in American roulette) the 00.
Gross Profit – Total profit of a player without deduction of his bets.

H

High – Low – Even money outside bets based on whether the outcome will be between 1-18 (low) or 19-36 (high). Note that 0 and 00 are neither High nor Low.
Hold – Also Casino Hold. Percentage of the bankroll of a player that is lost to the casino. This is generally between 20% and 30%, much higher than the House Edge, because on average people will keep playing until they have lost around a quarter of the money they brought to the table. These are the actual profits of the casino as a percentage of the amount of chips bought by players.
House edge – Measure for the unfairness of a casino game. It is the long term advantage that the casino has over the player. In roulette this edge is given by the fact that inside bets do not account for zero in their payout (there are 37 or 38 numbers, but a Plein bet only pays out 1 to 35) and because outside bets always lose on zero. On a table with a single zero, the house edge is 2.7%. When there is a 0 and a 00, the house edge increases to 5.26%.

I

Informal attire – Also known as informal business attire, it is the dress code that many casinos require from their guests. Although black or white tie are also acceptable, these are often more formal than required. This dress code requires men to wear a suit and women to wear a dress.
Inside bets – Bets that are made by placing chips on numbers on the table. This includes all bets made on six or less numbers at the same time. See also the list of inside bets.

J

Jeu Zero – see Zero Spiel
Joseph Jaggers – British engineer who supposedly Broke the Bank at the Monte Carlo casion on the late 19th century after carefully studying a single table for a long time.

L

La Partage – Rule in some European casinos where a player has a chance to redeem part of his outside even money bet when he loses it because of an outcome of zero. The En Prison rule (see there) is an example of a Partage rule.
Labouchere – Betting system named after Henry Labouchere, a French named English gentleman. This system is a negative progression system and uses outside even money bets.
Las Vegas – City in Nevada, USA, famous for its casinos, shows and hotels. It was one of the first places of the United States where gambling was legalized.
Law of Balance – Not an actual physical law, but it states that results will balance out. This implies that after many high numbers, the roulette wheel will be ‘more inclined’ to generate low numbers to ‘balance out’. This is an example of the Gambler’s Fallacy, but is used by many people to justify certain betting systems.
Law of Large numbers – When applied to gambling, this theorem from probability theory states that the average outcome of a great number of game results will converge to the expected value. This means that in the end (after many, many roulette spins) game results will balance out and feature all numbers equally often, but it does not mean that chances of outcomes change based on past events (the Gambler’s Fallacy).
Law of the Third – Not an actual physical law. When applied to roulette, it states that after 36 spins of the wheel, a third of the numbers will not have been hit, a third will have been hit once, and the remaining third be hit twice. This is a simplification of the actual probablity of the distribution of 36 outcomes and not entirely wrong. It cannot, however, help a player to gain an advantage, since it cannot predict the future. Using it to do so anyway is an example of the Gambler’s Fallacy.
Legislation, South African Gambling – Since the National Gambling Act of 1996, casinos have been able to obtain licenses to legally offer opportunities to gamble. All adults may gamble at such a casino.
Letters between Pascal and Fermat – Correspondence initiated in 1654 between the mathematicians Blaise Pascal and Pierre de Fermat, who tried to solve the problem of who wins in double or nothing games. In their letters they, for the first time, consider the "likelihood" of certain occurances in games, giving rise to the branche of mathematics we know today as Probablity Theory.
Line – Bet of three numbers that lie on the same horizontal line, such as 1-2-3 or 21-22-23. This is an inside bet.
Loaded algorithm – Software defect in the random number generator that causes online roulette systems, just like a real life loaded table, to hit some numbers more often than others.
Loaded dealer – The dealer is called loaded when he throws the ball in such a way that it hits some numbers more often than others.
Lucky numbers – Numbers that are considered to be lucky, such as 7, or unlucky, such as 13. This differs across cultures.

M

Martingale – Very basic betting system: every time a player loses, he doubles his bet until he wins. As geometric progression system, betting size increases extremely rapidly.
Mathematical Expectation – Also known as "Expected Value", this number is a mathematical interpretation of the average of a process of chance. The expected value is an indicator for what, on average, the outcome of a random process will be. The expected value for the losses on a single chip betted on the number 0 are 0.053 for American and 0.027 for French roulette. This means that for every chip you bet, you are expected to lose a few cents. That means that statistically, all people who have bet 100 chips on American roulette will on average have lost about 5 of those.
Max(imum) bet – The maximum amount that can be wagered on a single bet. This number is often given on the roulette table, and always known by the dealer.
Min(imum) bet – The minimum amount that can be wagered on a single bet. This number is often given on the roulette table, and always known by the dealer.
Minimum age – The minimum age to enter a casino and gable (including roulette) is 18 in most countries, including South Africa.
Monte Carlo Casino – One of the most famous and glamorous casinos on the planet, located in the Principality of Monaco on the mediterranean coast. Its main building was designed by Charles Garnier (architect of Paris Opera). The casino was opened in 1863.
Monte Carlo Fallacy – Also known as the "Gambler’s Fallacy", this is the superstition that past results of roulette (or other completely random games) influence the future. An example is the feeling that after 20 spins resulting in Black, the ball is more likely to land on a Red number. This is not true, the chance is always 18 out of 37 (or 38). The name Monte Carlo Fallacy comes from the casino of that name where this example happened: on August 18th 1913, the ball of a single roulette table landed on Black 21 times in a row.
Multiple bet – A bet that wins on multiple numbers. This can either be an inside or outside bet that is not Straight-up, or a bet where chips are placed on different areas of the table (a combination of different bets).

N

Neighbours bet – Bet on a single number "and the neighbours". A 5 piece bet on the given number and its two left and right neigbours on the wheel. For instance “0 and the neighbours” would be five straight-up bets on 3, 26, 0, 32 and 15.
Net profit – Difference between the total earnings and total amount bet. It is the amount by which a players chips have increased.
No more bets – The English equivalent of “Rien ne va plus!”, the call of the croupier or dealer that no more bets may be placed and that he will spin the wheel.
Norman Leigh – A player who, together with his team, launched a gaming system based on Reverse Labouchere, winning big and getting banned from the casinos on the Costa Azul.
Number of the Beast – The book of Revelations (from the Bible) names 666 as the number of the Beast. Since the sum of all 36 roulette numbers is also 666, people have speculated on the relation between the casino game and this last part of the Gospel of St. John.
Numerology – A set of beliefs, traditions and pseudoscientific theories that aim to establish scientific or mystical relations between numbers.

O

One table cloth – Table lay-out with a single place to bet and a single wheel at on of the ends of the table.
Orphan Pairs – see Orphelins
Orphans – see Orphelins
Orphelins – A Call bet on the numbers called the Orphans: 1, 6, 9, 14, 17, 20, 31, 34. A full bet (Orphelins Plein) requires 8 chips or multiples thereof and bets single on all the numbers. The alternative requires 5 chips (or multiples) and consists of a single bet on 1 and the four pairs 6/9, 14/17, 17/20 and 31/34, it is call the Orphelins Cheval (Orphan pairs).
Oscar Grind – Very slow positive progression betting system. It is explained here.
Outside bets – Bets that are made by placing chips on specific areas of the table that are not the 37 (or 38) numbers. These include Even Money bets and Column and Dozen bets. See also the list of outside bets.

P

Paired Finals – a Finals bet consisting of numbers chosen so that their endings are contiguous and allow bettng in pairs. An example is the bet 1/4 that includes the pairs 1/4, 11/14, 21/24 and 31/34.
Pascal, Blaise – French mathematician from the seventeenth century who designed the modern game of roulette, but omitted the zero. In his correspondence with the mathematician Fermat, he attempted to solve problems regarding even odds games, giving rise to modern probability theory.
Passe – Manque – See High – Low. Passe means High and Manque means Low.
Payout – Phase of the roulette game where the croupier and dealer pays out the winning bets, in order of payout ratio: even odds bets are paid out first, and singles bets paid last.
Plein – French term for a Straight bet. See Straight.
Prime numbers – Numbers that cannot be divided by any natural number other than 1 and themselves, such as 2, 3, 5, 7 and 103. 1 is not a prime.
Pythagoras – Greek philosopher and mathematician that started the Pythagorean school. He was the first to truly classify numbers in the sense we still use today.

R

Random number generator – Software, used in online roulette, to simulate randomness. It is used to determine the outcome of every spin. Despite its name, there is no software that is absolutely truly random.

S

Scoreboard – The place where, in American roulette, is noted how much value each player has given to his colour of chips. Since each player plays with his own colour, he can decide how much every single chip is worth (within the limits of set for that table). The Dealer then places a the corresponding value marker on the Scoreboard
Series 5/8 – See "Tiers du cylindre".
Straight – Bet on a single number 0-36 or 00. Made by placing chips on the square of the number on the table. The payout is 35-to-1.
Street – Also a Row, this is a row of three subsequent numbers on the roulette table. It can also mean a bet on such a row. To bet a street, the chips are placed on the vertical line on the far left or far right of the row you wish to bet on.

T

Table limit – Maximum amount of money that can be bet a roulette table in a single bet.

V

Valued chips – Chips used in French roulette. All players use these type of chips simultaneously. Each chip can be exchanged for its set value at the register.

W

Williams and Holland Law – This law states that, given enough data, everything can be proven using statistics. It can be used to justify the appropriateness of almost any betting system at any time.

Z

Zero – Box on the roulette wheel with the only number that is neither black nor red. In American roulette there are two boxes for zero: 0 and 00. All inside bets that do not include zero lose when the ball lands in this box. All outside bets lose as well, but the even money bets can be subject to the specific rules En Prison and Partage.