One such example could involve a small stack of chips being bet straight up on a few individual numbers, plus a couple of corner bets, some street bets and a bigger pile of chips going on red.

In the majority of cases this dispersing of chips is likely to be completely casual and unplanned, but in some there may well be a method to the apparent madness.

There are considered to be three and a bit of these so-called racetrack bets, with all of which having French names. After all, roulette originated in France in the 18th century in its earliest forms, branching out to become more popular elsewhere in Europe and to the USA in the following century.

These racetrack bets are all placed on a European roulette wheel containing just the single green 0. Here is some more information about them if you wish to have fun placing them yourself.

Of the 37 numbers on a European wheel, this bet features 17 of them and will be a winner if the ball lands in the section of any number moving clockwise round the wheel from 22 to 25.

This section of numbers has the green 0 positioned exactly in the middle as the eighth number and this is why the bet is called Voisons Du Zero, as this literally translates to ‘Neighbours of Zero’.

However, this bet isn’t as simple as putting an equal number of chips straight up on these 17 numbers, hoping for a 36/1 payout. Instead, nine bets are effectively placed.

These are:

- Two units on the basket bet 0, 2, 3 – which wins 24 units if successful
- Two units on the cornet bet of 25, 26, 28, 29 – returning 18 units if successful
- One unit on the split bet of 4, 7 – returning 18 units if successful
- One unit on the split bet of 12, 15 – returning 18 units if successful
- One unit on the split bet of 18, 21 – returning 18 units if successful
- One unit on the split bet of 19, 22 – returning 18 units if successful
- One unit on the split bet of 32, 35 – returning 18 units if successful

Following this strategy would give you a 45.9% chance of winning any spin.

Because there are 37 numbers on a roulette wheel, there is no number that can be considered directly opposite the green 0.

But there is a bet that includes 12 numbers on the wheel in a sequence that is approximately opposite the 0. This sequence starts at 27 and moves clockwise around to 33.

The literal translation for Tiers Du Cylindre is ‘Third of the Wheel’ and this bet is much simpler to place than the Voisons Du Zero as it focuses solely on split bets.

Six are required to cover the 12 numbers and they all also have equal stake to return 18 units. These are the combinations:

- 5, 8
- 10, 11
- 13, 16
- 23, 24
- 27, 30
- 33, 36

The numbers in the bet virtually cover a third of the wheel (12 numbers out of 37) and the likelihood of winning a spin is similar too, at 32.4%.

With 29 numbers covered so far by the other two bets, this leaves eight unaccounted for – 17, 34 and 6 on one side of the wheel and 1, 20, 14, 31 and 9 on the other. These are regarded as the orphans, hence the name of the following bet.

These are the five bets, all of a single unit, which make up Orphelins:

- A straight up bet on the number 1 – returning 36 units if successful
- A split bet on 6, 9 – returning 18 units if successful
- A split bet on 14, 17 – returning 18 units if successful
- A split bet on 17, 20 – returning 18 units if successful
- A split bet on 31, 34 – returning 18 units if successful

You would have a 21.6% chance of placing a winning bet on any spin using this approach.

There is what is practically a scaled down of the Voisons Du Zero for those not happy with having to bet nine units on a single spin.

The Jeu Zero bet follows the same premise, but covers only seven numbers instead of 17 (between and including 12 and 15) and requires the placement of only four bets instead of nine.

All of the following have an equal stake of one unit:

- A straight up bet on the number 26 – returning 36 units if successful
- A split bet on 0, 3 – returning 18 units of successful
- A split bet on 12, 15 – returning 18 units of successful
- A split bet on 32, 35 – returning 18 units of successful

A winning spin is expected approximately once every five spins (18.9%) of the time if using the Jeu Zero.

One of the main things to note from these racetrack bets is that they threaten to be highly profitable if any sort of bias can be identified on a wheel.

The Voisons Du Zero and Tiers Du Cylindre bets in particular cover large sections of the wheel in a certain section.

Also, it may have been spotted that 17 is the only number that would win on more than one bet if this is where the ball came to rest. It is included in two split bets within the Orphelins group.

However, should 17 be the winner, it would still only return 36 units. This is the same as a couple of straight up options across the racetrack bets – 26 in Jeu Zero and 1 within Orphelins.

These three numbers provide the highest returns across the racetrack bets if successful.