Roulette is one of the world’s most popular casino games and has a reputation for being incredibly exciting. Based entirely on luck, the game involves placing chips on a roulette table and waiting to see which number will come up. The game has a long history, starting over 300 years ago with the invention of a formal wheel by French mathematician Blaise Pascal.
The modern roulette wheel consists of a solid wooden disk that spins around a central shaft. Thirty-six metal compartments, painted alternately red and black, line the rim of the wheel. There is also a green compartment, painted green on European-style wheels and marked with a 0 on American ones.
To play the game, players place their bets by laying them on a betting mat, with precise positioning of the chips indicating where the player intends to place them. Players may bet on any number or groupings of numbers, including odd and even, high and low. The dealer spins the wheel in one direction, and a small ball is spun in the opposite direction around a tilted circular track that runs around the edge of the wheel. When the ball and wheel come to rest, the number that the ball falls into is the winning one.
When a player wins, the dealer will signal that fact by removing a marker from the table. The winning bets are then re-marked as “color.” When the dealer has a full set of color, they are re-arranged to form a single number and the game begins again.
A special rule called “La Partage” reduces the house’s advantage in roulette by allowing players to keep half of their even money bets if the ball lands on zero. This is an exception to the normal rule, which is that all bets must be placed before the dealer announces “no more bets.”
In the United States, roulette draws only a fraction of the crowds that it does in Monte Carlo and other casinos throughout Europe. The game is often passed over by more popular casino games such as slots, video poker, blackjack, and craps.
Erik Kristopher Myers’ Roulette is a gritty, raw, and uncompromising film that proves there’s so much more to directing than just pointing a camera. The director shows a talent for creating compelling stories, and I hope that more producers will take notice of this young filmmaker. I look forward to seeing what Myers does next.