# 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Roulette (game)

**ROULETTE,** a gambling game, of French origin. It is one
of the two games played in the gambling-rooms at Monte Carlo,
and the description here given, and the maximum and minimum
stakes mentioned, are to be understood as applying to the game
as it is there conducted. It is solely a game of chance, though
so-called “systems” are innumerable, and some of them for
a short period often appear to give the player an advantage.
There is no possible system, however, which will assure success
in the long-run, and it is herein that the ingenuity of the game
consists. Every systematic method of play must depend upon
increased stakes to retrieve past losses; and though a player
with an unlimited capital might be practically certain to
achieve his end in the course of time, the circumstance that
there is always a maximum renders the bank invincible. The
roulette table, covered with a green cloth, is made up of precisely
corresponding halves with a circular space let into the middle
holding the wheel, on either side of which the cloth is divided into
spaces marked *passe*, *pair*, *manque*, *impair*, and the
black and red diamonds. The
wheel is divided into thirty-seven
compartments, coloured, alternately black and
red, numbered from one to
thirty-six, the thirty-seventh
being zero. *Pair* indicates
even numbers, *impair* odd
numbers, *manque* includes the
numbers from 1 to 18; *passe*,
from 19 to 36. The methods
of staking are innumerable.
The minimum stake is five
francs, which must be placed on the table in the form of a
five-franc piece, and not in smaller change. *Rouge*, *noir*,
*pair*, *impair*, *manque* and *passe* are even chances; *i.e.* a
stake put upon any of them is paid in corresponding coin
should the player win, the exception being when the little ball
which is spun round the wheel falls into zero, in which case
the even money chances are put “in prison”—that is to say,
laid aside until another spin, when if the bank wins they
are lost, if the player wins he is allowed to retrieve his money.
The maximum in the case of these chances is 6000 francs.
Any one who desires to play *en plein* puts his stake on one of the
thirty-seven numbers. If the ball falls into the corresponding
number on the wheel, the stake is paid thirty-five times; and
as there are thirty-seven numbers on the board, with the advantage
already described of imprisoning the even-money chances
when zero comes up, it will be seen that there is a steady percentage
in favour of the tables and consequently against the
player. This percentage is of course greatly increased when,
as is often the case, a second zero, called *double-zéro*, is used.
In some gambling-houses there is even a third one, called
Eagle Bird. The maximum stake allowed *en plein* is 180
francs. The next most daring selection is *à cheval*, when the
stake is placed on the line separating any two numbers, and if
either of them wins the player is paid seventeen times, the
highest stake permissible being 360 francs. *Transversale pleine*
covers any three numbers in a line, the coin or note being placed
on the line dividing any one of the numbers from the neighbouring
even-money chance, as, for instance, between 4 and *passe*, or
6 and *manque*. A *trarisversale simple* covers six numbers, as,
for example, where the line between 4 and 7 joins *passe*, or
between 6 and 9 joins *manque*; and if any one of these numbers
wins, live times the value of the stake is paid, the maximum
here being 1200 francs. *En carré* includes four numbers, the
coin being placed, for instance, on the cross between 1, 2, 4, 5,
or 28, 29, 31, 32; eight times the value of the stake is paid,
and the maximum is 760 francs. The dozens and the columns
are also indicated on the board, the first dozen of course
including 1 to 12. In each of the columns are twelve numbers
in different order. A stake placed on either a dozen
or a column is paid twice its value, the maximum here being
3000 francs. A stake constantly played is called the *quatre*
*premiers*, which includes zero, 1, 2 and 3, the stake being placed
on the line where zero and 1 join *passe*, or where zero and 3 join
*manque*. If any one of these four numbers, including zero, wins,
the stake is paid eight times; and four times eight being thirty two,
there is a greater advantage to the table than when it loses
*en plein* or on certain other chances. Zero can also be played
in combination with any one or two of its neighbours; if with
one of them the stake is paid seventeen times, if with two of
them eleven times. A croupier sits on either side of the wheel;
there is also one at each end of the table, their business being
to assist the players in staking and recovering their winnings.
Behind each of the former pair an official on a high chair super»
vises the table. The croupier whose duty it is to spin the wheel
waits for a time till stakes have been made, and then, exclaiming,
“Messieurs, faites votre jeu!” sets the cylinder in motion,
throwing the ball in the direction contrary to that in which the
wheel revolves. When it is seen that the ball will soon fall at
rest in one of the compartments of the cylinder the croupier
gives the notice, “Rien ne va plus,” after which no stakes can
be placed. When the ball finally rests in the compartment, the
croupier announces the number and the even-money chances
that win, as for instance *rouge*, *impair* and *manque*. He and
his fellows then gather in with a rake all the money that has
been lost, after which the winnings are paid and the game
proceeds. At the beginning of play each table is supplied with
a. certain large sum. When the bank loses this and is forced to
send for another supply it is said to be “broken.”

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