Just like any game, each casino game has its own terminology and lingo.
Roulette is one of the most famous, most exciting, and easiest casino games you can play.
Although you don’t need to know all the terminology to play, it’ll help you understand what’s going on at the table.
It’ll also help you avoid disputes or misunderstandings, and communicate with the dealer clearly.
When betting on a live table, you cannot ask the dealer to place a certain bet by simply pointing at a number or section.
Similarly, you cannot say things like “I want this chip on the line”, or “I’m betting on the last numbers”.
Such statements are not clear enough and can easily lead to disputes, which is why they are not allowed at the table.
So, here it is. A complete list of roulette terms, both English and French.
If you can think of any other word, or if you think something’s missing in this list, or believe one of the definitions is not correct — feel free to leave a comment at the end!
Roulette terminology (English)
- Straight up. A bet placed on a single number, which pays 35 to 1. This is the single roulette bet with the highest payout.
- Split. A bet placed on the line between two numbers, e.g. eight and eleven. If any of the two numbers comes in, the payout will be 17 to 1.
- Corner. A bet placed on the intersection of four numbers, which pays 8 to 1.
- Street. A bet that covers a row of three numbers, e.g. four, five, and six. The bet must be placed on the outer line (the one further away from the dealer). Pays 11 to 1.
- Six-line. A bet covering six numbers. Pays 5 to 1.
- First four. A bet covering the first four numbers on the layout (0, 1, 2, 3). In American roulette, which has a double zero as well, this is called “basket” and it covers 0, 00, 1, 2, 3.
- Inside bet. Any of the five bets mentioned above, which are placed on the center, or inside, of the layout.
- Outside bets. Any bet placed on the outside of the layout (columns, dozens, or even chances such as red).
- No spin. If the dealer spins the ball incorrectly (in the wrong direction, or too slowly, or if the ball bounces off the wheel), that’s called a “no spin”. In this case, the dealer will spin the ball again.
- Cash plays where it lays. This is the phrase announced by the dealer whenever a customer places actual money (notes) on the layout. If the player doesn’t say anything, “cash plays where it lays”. This is to avoid potential disputes, or cheating.
- Change only. When a player buys in during a spin, the dealer announces that it’s “change only” rather than an actual bet.
- Racetrack. A visual representation of the roulette wheel on which the dealer can place a call bet. E.g. if a customer throws a £100 chip and says “three and the neighbors”, the dealer will simply put the chip on number 3 on the racetrack. Then, if the bet wins, £20 will be placed on the winning number on the layout.
- Color change. When a customer buys in, either with money or cash chips, and gets color chips.
- Complete. A bet which covers a number straight up as well as all its splits, corners, street, and six-lines. It is a picture bet which pays 156.
- Full and complete. Same as above, but in this case each split, corner, etc. is played to the maximum. Which means the highest possible bet will be placed on each inside bet.
- Section shooting. The attempt to spin the ball with a certain speed, or technique, so it lands on a specific section of the wheel, on purpose. Very hard but not impossible.
- Double/triple. When a number comes in twice or three times in a row.
- Pocket. One of the 37 slots (or 38 slots, if you play American Roulette, which has a double zero) in which the ball will land.
- Diamonds. Also called ball deflectors. These are the tiny metal parts on the wooden slope, and they are designed to make the spin even more unpredictable (sometimes the ball will hit a diamond, and sometimes it’ll fall directly on a number slot).
- Chipper machine. Also called chip sorter, it does exactly that — it sorts chips by color. Without a chipper, the dealer would have to divide all losing chips by color, and put them in stacks of twenty. Every. Single. Time. Chipper machines make it a lot easier and faster.
- Picture bet. A chip pattern, e.g. a chip on the number straight up and four on its corners. Roulette dealers memorize picture bets so they can calculate complex payouts faster.
- No bet. A bet which will not be accepted. This could be a late bet (if the customers places chips on the layout when the ball is about to drop), or a bet that is less than the minimum (for example, £5 on black when the minimum is £10), or any bet that’s not allowed.
Roulette terminology (French)
- En plein. A bet placed on a single number, which pays 35 to 1. This is the single roulette bet with the highest payout.
- Cheval. A bet placed on the line between two numbers, e.g. eight and eleven. If any of the two numbers comes in, the payout will be 17 to 1. The literal meaning is “horse”.
- Carré. A bet placed on the intersection of four numbers, which pays 8 to 1.
- Transversale. A bet that covers a row of three numbers, e.g. four, five, and six. The bet must be placed on the outer line (the one further away from the dealer). Pays 11 to 1.
- Sixain. A bet covering six numbers. Pays 5 to 1.
- Roulette. The name of the game itself is french, and its literal translation is “small wheel”.
- Tiers. Literally “a third”, this is a track bet which covers roughly a third of the wheel (the one opposite zero).
- Voisins. This refers to the voisins, or neighbors, of zero. It is a track bet which covers approximately half of the wheel (the one close to and including zero).
- Orphelins. Literally, the “orphans”. These are the numbers that are not covered by the track bets mentioned above. Specifically, 1, 6, 9, 14, 17, 20, 31, 34.
- Finale. A call bet which covers three or four numbers ending with the same digit. For example, finale 4 is a bet on 4, 14, 24, and 34, all straight up.
- Croupier. The roulette dealer.
- Rien ne va plus. The French equivalent of “no more bets”. This is announced by the dealer before the last few revolutions (players are not allowed to place any bets when the ball is about to drop).
- En prison. This refers to an even money bet, e.g. red, which is put “in prison” when zero comes in. The player gets the option to either get half of the bet back, or wait until the following spin (this only applies to French roulette).
- La Partage. Same as the above, but in this case the player loses half of the bet instantly, without the option to wait for another spin.
- Jeton. A roulette token (a color chip or a cash chip).
- Manque. Low numbers (1 to 18), which is an even money bet. It does not cover zero.
- Passe. High numbers (19 to 36), which is an even money bet.
Funny/weird roulette terms
- Mickey Mouse. A three-chip bet — two corners and a straight up — whose pattern looks like the head of the cartoon character. It is a picture bet with a payout of 51.
- Dolly. The roulette marker which is placed by the dealer on the winning number, even if empty. It’s commonly referred to as a dolly as it looks like a tiny doll.
- Dealer’s signature. Because roulette dealers are human beings and not machines, each dealer spins the ball differently. From time to time, a croupier may tend to hit certain numbers or sections of the wheel repeatedly, not necessarily on purpose. This is what’s called the dealer’s signature, which can give an advantage to the player.
- Eye in the sky. The cameras used to monitor casino games, including roulette, from above.
- Ponies (UK). Black £25 chips.
- Ladies (UK). Pink £100 chips.
- Biscuits. Cash chips worth £1,000 or $1,000.
- Hot numbers. Numbers that have come in twice or more during the last spins.
- Cold numbers. Numbers that have not come in in a while.
Do I have to know the terminology to play?
Not really. And if you have any questions, the dealer will help you.
Knowing roulette terms can be useful if you want to play call bets — that is, any bet in which you pass the chips to the dealer (cash or color chips) and tell them where to put them.
It could be as simple as “$100 on 22 straight up”, or “black and odd, half and half”. Or a complex one.
For example, you could throw a chip at the dealer, call a French bet, such as the neighbors of zero, and have the change (whatever amount is left after the French bet has been placed) on second dozen and second column.
Either way, if you’re just getting started, or you simply prefer to play without any of those complicated bets, there is no need to memorize any of these terms.
It’s very important for roulette dealers to know the terminology, so they can communicate clearly with both the customers and the inspector/pit boss.
But if you’re playing, don’t worry about it, and as I mentioned, ask the dealer if something’s not clear.
Can you think of any other roulette word that’s not in the list? Click the button and leave a reply 👇