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  American Roulette:

In many of its fundamentals, American Roulette is much the same as the game prevalent on the other side of the Atlantic. A small ball is dropped onto a spinning wheel, which is divided into many numbered compartments called pockets. These pockets may be red or black. Players make bets on where the ball will land. A correct bet wins.

The main characteristic that distinguishes American Roulette from its European counterpart is the fact that American roulette wheels have 38 slots. 37 of these are like those found on the European wheels: red-and-black alternating slots numbered from 1 to 36 (not arranged in numerical order), plus one green slot marked zero. The “extra” slot in American roulette wheels is the “00” or double-zero slot, which is also green. In addition, the arrangement of numbers on the roulette wheel differs between the American and European versions, though neither arrangement follows the arithmetic sequence. (However, the layout—a sort of diagram built into the roulette table where people lay their chips—is laid out in arithmetic sequence.)

One might think that the European version of roulette is closer to the “original” incarnation of the game. This is a not unreasonable assumption, given that the word roulette itself is French for “little wheel.” However, it is also a false assumption. The earliest form of roulette wheel did have two pockets that gave the house an edge. It was only later that some casinos started to use wheels where the pockets that gave the house an edge were reduced to one. Therefore, even though roulette was supposedly invented in France, the version predominant in the Americas is actually closer to old-fashioned roulette than the European version is. A player aware of this information is more likely to derive extra enjoyment from his or her experience of playing American roulette.

American Roulette


The double-zero slot in American roulette constitutes a significant disadvantage for players. The first and simplest reason this is so is because an American roulette wheel has one more slot than a European-style wheel. The higher the number of possible outcomes (given an equal probability for each outcome), the lower the probability of a particular outcome emerging. This concept is easiest to illustrate if we discuss bets on a single number. If you bet on the slot marked 13 on a European roulette wheel, your chance is one in 37. If you are using an American roulette wheel, your chance of winning drops to one in 38.

In addition, many of the supposedly low-risk bets become riskier. We refer here to the so-called even-money bets. These bets have a relatively high probability of winning, but also give a low payout. Some examples are betting on odd or even numbers, or betting on red or black squares. The “zero” slots are neither odd nor even, and neither black nor red. If the ball lands on zero, you will lose, whichever way you bet. The more zeros there are, the higher the probability exists of such results occurring.

Certain betting strategies also become riskier when employed in American roulette. This is especially true of the famous (or, perhaps more accurately, the notorious) Martingale betting strategy. Players employing this tactic keep doubling their bets all the way through their losing streak. This is done with the assumption that once the player finally wins, the returns on his or her very large penultimate wager will more than make up for the previous losses. Unfortunately, this strategy rarely works. For most players trying Martingale, the losing streak does not end—at least not during that particular gambling session. The casino staff member in charge of the roulette wheel ends the game, or perhaps the player runs out of money or gives up. In such cases, the Martingale strategy only leads players to lose a great deal of money. This sad outcome is all the more likely—and perhaps all the more costly—with an American-style roulette wheel.

American Roulette Table


Given the facts, perhaps the best strategy in playing American Roulette is not to rely too much on strategies. Many of these strategies, such as the abovementioned Martingale strategy, are rather high-risk. This risk is of course compounded by the additional house edge introduced by the double-zero pocket. It is always very tempting to give your strategy just one more chance—or the roulette wheel one more spin. However, all you may end up doing is increasing the amount of money the house will win from you.

Also, you must remember the simple—but often underestimated—principle that each spin is an independent event. As such, the outcome of one spin has no real bearing on the outcome of other spins. For example, just because a certain wheel has thrown up even numbers for several consecutive spins does not mean that an odd number will emerge on the next spin. This principle holds true for any roulette wheel, no matter whether it has one zero or two. (Provided, of course, that the casino is not cheating.)

The differing arrangement of numbers on the American and European roulette wheels may be disorienting for players who are accustomed to playing by European rules. And vice versa, of course.

In other words, American Roulette can be a very enjoyable—even glamorous—experience. However, you would be better off playing European Roulette in terms of your chances of winning money. Of course, for certain players, there is not much of a choice (i.e. all the casinos in their geographic area offer only American Roulette). However, such players can try going to online casinos. Most casinos offer roulette, and many specify right away which style of roulette they use. If the information is not immediately available, one can always send an inquiry to the site owner before downloading the necessary software or setting up an account.

Of course, it must be remembered that American roulette has a certain advantage, which has more to do with thrills than money: when you do beat the house, your glory is all the greater—all because of that one extra pocket. For many players, this is more than good enough reason to give American Roulette a shot.

  List of casinos with American Roulette:

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