The center of the game, the roulette wheel, has it’s own mystic quality. Nearly three feet in diameter, and about a hundred pounds heavy, there’s no competition, the roulette wheel is the star of the show.

On the wheel is an array of numbered compartments referred to as “pockets”. The pockets are either red, black, or green. The numbers 1 thru 36 are evenly split between red and black, while 0 and 00 are green pockets. Instead of being randomly placed around the wheel, the numbers are ordered to try and achieve balance between both black and red, high and low, and odds and evens.

Have a look at an American and a European roulette wheel:

A close look reveals the wheel is quite masterfully laid out. Directly across the wheel from every odd number is the next highest even number. Black and red alternate; pairs of even numbers alternate with pairs of odd numbers, although there is variation around and about 0 and 00. This design is standard for each and every 38-number roulette wheel around.

Knowing the wheel is not exactly essential in roulette, but the more you know the closer you feel to the action, and the more fun it is. And it’s always handy for trivia games that quiz you on the roulette wheel.