Roulette is actually derivative of a French word that means "small wheel". It is a popular casino game that offers a variety of payouts depending on the type of bet made. The roulette table has, indeed a small wheel, with 37 or 38 slots where a small ball would fall into. There are slots for numbers 1 to 36 (colored red and black alternately) and a green slot for a "0". The American roulette wheel has another green slot for a "00". The wheel is turned in one direction and the ball is made to travel in a groove above the wheel in the opposite direction. Gravity does the rest and the ball eventually lands in one of the slots.

The earliest version of the game is believed to have been invented by Frenchman Blaise Pascal (one of the well-known mathematicians today) in the 17th century. The table then only had the numbers 1-36. In the 19th century, the modern day roulette wheel was devised by Francois and Louis Blanc (also French) and they added the "0" to increase the odds in favor of the house. When the game was brought to the U.S. though, the wheel got the additional "00" slot.

The Bets:

There are several types of bets in the game of roulette. A straight bet is a bet that the ball lands on a single number of choice and it is a 35:1 payout (meaning, a $10 bet wins $350). The following is a brief description of the other types of bets and the usual payout odds for a winning bet.

1:1 Payout Bets

High-Low - A low bet is a bet that the ball lands in any of the 1 to 18 slots. A high bet is for 19 to 36. Odd-Even - A bet on either an odd or even number (i.e. if one thinks the ball will land on an even number, the player bets on even). The "0" and "00" are neither considered odd or even. Red-Black - A bet that the ball lands on either a red or black slot.

2:1 Payout Bets

Column-The Roulette table has a layout of 3 columns of 12 numbers for each column. A column bet is a bet therefore that the ball lands on any of the numbers in a particular column. Dozen - Similar to Odd-Even, this is a bet that the ball lands in any of a series of numbers. The number sets are 1-12, 13-24 and 25-36.

Other Group Bets

Six-Number - Betting on a set of any six selected numbers (just like some lottery games). Payout is at 5:1. Five-Number - Just like Six-Number except that a player only chooses a set of 5 numbers. This pays out at 6:1 odds. Corner - At 8:1 payout odds, this is a bet on a set of four numbers. Trio - 3 number set bet. This pays out at 11:1 odds. Split - 2-number set bet. Payout is at 17:1.