Roulette Glossary: Terms, Expressions, Slang and Lingo

Table of Contents

Roulette is a gambling and casino game that keeps engaging players and bettors around the world because it doesn’t require extensive preparations, hard learned skills and complex techniques. Players put their chances up on the roulette wheel and the spin that will either put the ball in their desired pocket or not. 

But, even so, certain roulette terms, betting styles and playing techniques must be known and studied in order to maximize the possible winnings. And, because the game was invented in France, some of those terms have their French counterpart and some terms are very specifically known only in French language. Even the game itself has three most played variants that differ from one another in key layouts and rules - European Roulette, American Roulette and French Roulette.

A

  • Action
    When the player is “In Action” it is his/her turn to bet.
  • All-In
    Betting all of the player’s stake at once.
  • American Roulette
    A variant of a game most popular in the US. It has 38 pockets, rather than the standard 37, because it has an extra double zero pocket (will be explained later). This variant favors the casino rather than the player.

B

  • Back Track
    The outside part of a roulette wheel where the ball spins around.
  • Bankroll
    Player’s betting budget.
  • Basket Bet/Five Number Bet
    A special betting option in American Roulette where the players bets on pockets 0, 00 (double zero), 1, 2 or 3. 
  • Bet on the Layout
    When the player bets on roulette wheel numbers that are also placed on the roulette table.
  • Biased Wheel
    If a roulette wheel shows certain numbers more often, it can be accused of being biased.
  • Black Bet
    Betting that the next spot the ball will stop is in color black.
  • Block Betting
    When the player bets on a group of potentially winning numbers.
  • Bottom Track
    Inside part of a roulette wheel through which the ball slides before entering a pocket.
  • Bonus
    Various casino techniques whose goal is to attract new players to roulette. Starting bonus, free spins and similar.

C

  • Call Bets
    At certain casinos players are allowed to say money bets aloud without placing chips on the table.
  • Capping
    A cheating technique of adding additional chips after the croupier (explained later) has announced “No More Bets” (also explained later).
  • Chase Your Losses
    When players keep betting higher sums while on a losing streak in order to recoup the lost amount quickly.
  • Chips
    Roulette chips are usually not marked with numbers or patterns, but only colors that are assigned based on the value.
  • Clocking
    A banned technique that stands for using an electronic device that calculates in which pocket the ball could land based on trajectory and physics.
  • Cold Numbers
    Any roulette wheel numbers that have not been called for 37 spins.
  • Cold Wheel
    A roulette wheel where players keep losing rather than winning.
  • Column Bet/Colonne
    When players bet on one entire column out of three possible columns of numbers. With this, players split their bets on 12 different numbers to increase the chances of winning. 
  • Combination Bet
    Any roulette bet with more than one group of chips on more than one number.
  • Complete Bet/Maximum Bet
    When players can bet on every available individual number’s inside bet. High Rollers (explained later) are the ones that most often use this betting technique.
  • Corner Bet/Square Bet/Quarter/Carr
    Players can bet on four numbers at once, with the odds placed at 8:1 if one of those four numbers is called.
  • Croupier/Dealer
    Casino employee that leads the roulette game.

D

  • D’Alembert System
    A roulette-playing system that shows players how much money or chips to bet on unusual options in the game such as odd/even, high/low or red/black.
  • Dead Table
    Casino’s roulette table without any players.
  • Derniere
    A French term for one of the Dozen Bet (further explained below) groups of 12. Derniere stands for the last group of numbers between 25 and 36.
  • Dolly/Marker
    After the winning number and the winning amount have been announced, the croupier will place a dolly or a marker on that number on the roulette board, and players cannot change previous bets nor offer new ones until it is removed.
  • Double Zero
    American Roulette with a double zero pocket tips the edge higher in the favor of the house (casino).
  • Dozen Bet
    Similar to column bet, the roulette board numbers are split into three groups of 12 numbers, sequentially. Players can bet on one of these groups - 1 to 12, 23 to 24, 25 to 36.

E

  • En Prison Rule/In Prison Rule
    A rule in French Roulette where the players bet even money and if the ball ends on a zero after a spin, the money is trapped (or in prison). If, after another spin, the ball ends on a zero, the player loses that trapped amount.
  • European Roulette
    The most played roulette variant, played both in Europe and in Asia. ER has a table (also called a European table) with 36 numbers and one zero, which means players have bigger chances of guessing the winning number than in the American Roulette.
  • Even Money/Flat Bet
    Players bets that have a 1:1 return. For example, the player bets 20 dollars on a red pocket. If precise, the player wins 20 dollars, and his/her 20 dollar bet is returned. 

F

  • Fibonacci System
    Based on the Fibonacci sequence (1,1,2,3,5,8) this is a roulette strategy that stands for increasing bets after losses.
  • Flat Betting
    Not similar to Flat Bet, because this stands for betting the same amount on every roulette spin.
  • French Bets
    Popular with high-roller players (explained later). They place multiple bets at the same time to cover many wheel sections in order to maximize the chances of a winning number.
  • French Roulette
    A variant of roulette with a different table layout. Also, contrary to European roulette, the French one has two new rules - “En Prison” and “La Partage”.

G

  • Gaffed Wheel
    Player’s term for roulette wheels that seem manipulated or rigged by the casino.
  • George/John
    A term for a roulette player who tips a big amount of money to the croupier. If the tipped amount is decent then the player can also be called John.
  • Green Betting
    Betting on roulette games with a green chip that stands for 25 dollars.
  • Green Pockets
    Or zero and double zero pockets.
  • Grifter
    Roulette player who scams or cheats to win the game.

H

  • Heat/Under Heat
    Players who win a lot on roulette tables and wheels attract attention from the casino personnel.
  • High or Low
    Players can bet even money on all lower numbers (1-18) or on all higher numbers (19-36).
  • High Rollers
    Roulette players with high bets and high stakes.
  • Hold/Percentage
    The amount the casino takes from the players’ bets.
  • Hot
    Roulette players on a winning streak.
  • Hot Numbers/Golden Numbers
    Certain roulette numbers that win more often than other numbers.
  • Hot Table
    Roulette table where players keep winning.
  • House Edge
    The mathematical advantage the house/the casino has over a player.

I

  • Impair
    Betting on odds numbers on a table for French Roulette.
  • Inside Bets
    Any bets that players put on the inside layout of the game table. For example, inside bets are corner bets, individual number bets, split bets, street bets, line bets.

L

  • La Partage Rule/Divide Rule
    Common in French Roulette along the “En Prison” rule. When players bet even money, and the ball lands in a zero pocket, the croupier splits all even money bets and takes half for the casino while returning the other half to the players.
  • Line Bet
    When players bet on six numbers, or two lines of three numbers each. Like other bet types, this one also has a payout scale - 5:1.

M

  • Manque
    When players bet lower dozen (1-18) numbers on a French Roulette.
  • Martingale System
    If a player has lost a bet, he/she can use this system of doubling their next bet in hopes they will return their losses. A high risk, but also high reward strategy.
  • Mini Roulette
    Online variant of roulette with only 13 numbers (0-12). Most of the Mini Roulette games will return half the player’s bet, but only if the ball ends up in the pocket of number 0 - similar to the “La Partage” rule.
  • Mucker
    Name for a second croupier who arrives if the roulette table is very crowded to help with payouts or double-checks.

N

  • Negative Progression
    Any roulette betting system that depends on increasing bets after losing, such as Martingale, Fibonacci, etc.
  • Neighbours/Orphans/Orphelins
    Betting on one number and its three neighboring numbers on the roulette table. The neighboring numbers can be increased.
  • No Action
    A croupier can call No Action which cancels all current bets.
  • No More Bets
    Another croupier call that comes every time the wheel has been spun. 
  • No Zero Roulette
    Often online or promotional roulette variant that doesn’t have a zero on the wheel.
  • Noir
    Black betting in French Roulette.

O

  • Odd bet
    A Roulette bet on all odd numbers on the table (1,3,5,7,...)
  • Outside Bet
    Roulette bets on outside table layout - dozen bet, column bet, even money bets on red/black or odd/even or high/low.

P

  • Pair
    Betting on even numbers in French Roulette (2,4,6,8,...)
  • Parlay or Press
    Roulette players can parlay or press by using their bet and winning amount together on the next spin.  
  • Passe
    When players bet high dozen (19-36) numbers on a French Roulette.
  • Past Posting/Late Betting
    Forbidden and illegal technique of betting when the ball is about to drop in certain pockets.
  • Pinching
    Similar to Late Betting, Pinching stands for a player quickly removing betted chips once the winning number is not favorable, in order to avoid losses. Also illegal.
  • Pockets
    Small brackets on the roulette wheel where the ball ends up.
  • Positive Progression
    When players increase their betting amounts after a win in hopes of attaining a winning streak and maximizing their bets.
  • Premiere
    First dozen (1-12) bet in French Roulette.

R

  • Red Bet
    When players bet on red pockets, regardless of numbers. The payout is 1:1
  • Run
    This term stands for the events on the roulette wheel rather than the players. Roulette wheel is on a run when for example there are three of the same dozens in a row, or there are five black pockets in a row.

S

  • Sector Bet
    Similar to the Neighbour Bet but this stands for betting on certain roulette table/wheel sectors rather than on random positions.
  • Section Slicing
    Players can divide the roulette wheel into cold and hot zones.
  • Six Line Bet/Sixainne
    Similar to the Line Bet, but here the player bets on three lines of three numbers each, or in other words, the players bets on 9 numbers grouped next to each other.
  • Split Bet/Cheval
    When the players bets on two numbers next to each other. The payout for this is the second highest in roulette - 17:1.
  • Stack
    A stack of 20 roulette chips in a casino.
  • Straight Bet/En Plein
    When players bet on one single number. The highest possible payout - 35:1.
  • Street Bet/Triple Bet/Transversale
    A Split Bet that covers three numbers in a row.
  • Surrender
    Similar to “En Prison” and “La Partage”, Surrender works for the American Roulette and allows players to retrieve half his bet if the ball lands on zero.

T

  • Tiers Du Cylindre
    A French term popular in European and French Roulette that stands for a betting system where players cover a third of the roulette table without using a Dozen Bet, but by spreading different bets around the table.
  • Tom
    Opposite of George and John, Tom is a nickname for a poor tipper.
  • Toke
    Tips for the croupier which are placed in a specific toke box.

V

  • Visual Wheel Tracking
    Another illegal technique where players use certain devices or a computer to determine where the balls might land.
  • Voisins du Zero
    A roulette betting technique where the players place neighboring bets on numbers surrounding the zero.

W

  • Wheel Checks
    Another name for unmarked chips that are used specifically for roulette because players denominate the chips with values they desire.

Conclusion

With these terms under their belt, gambling enthusiasts and beginning roulette players can begin their casino adventures in hopes of winning those roulette spins with skill, guile, and a little bit of luck.

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