Roulette Variants: American Roulette

While Roulette originated in France, it spread quickly throughout the world and soon became one of the most popular casino games in the gambling world. The game entered the United States in the French territories. From New Orleans, it moved westward and evolved into a unique American style game often played on makeshift tables. Over time, the game of roulette played in the United States developed into a distinct variation with a particular style and set of rules.

Roulette betting

There is one major difference that distinguishes American Roulette from the European version. The roulette wheel has 38 spaces. Like the European Roulette wheel, it is numbered from 1-36. However, there are 2 zeroes: 0 and 00. The European wheel only has 1. American casino owners realized that adding an extra zero could improve their profits. Due to the additional zero, there is a higher house edge at 5.26%. In this case, players are paid 2/38 or 5.26% less than they should be. In European roulette, the house edge is lower at 2.7%.

Despite this difference, American Roulette is very similar to the European version and easy to understand. The roulette wheel and betting table are structured in the same way. The wheel is numbered with red and black spaces. The table has corresponding spaces and there are areas for inside and outside bets.

The addition of an extra zero creates a slight difference in the odds of winning. In both versions, the payouts are the same. However, with 38 slots on the roulette wheel, the probability of winning in American Roulette is slightly lower. While it appears minor, this adjustment has a major impact on player outcomes and casino profits in the long run. As you can see below, the differences in probability appear minor.

Bet

Payout

American Probability

European Probability

Straight

35 to 1

2.63%

2.7%

Split

17 to 1

5.26%

5.41%

Street

11 to 1

7.89%

8.1%

Corner

8 to 1

10.53%

10.81%

Line

5 to 1

15.79%

16.22%

Dozen

2 to 1

31.58%

32.43%

Red/Black,

Odd/Even, High/low

1 to 1

47.37%

48.65%

The objective of American roulette is to guess which numbered space the ball will land on the roulette wheel. Players make bets against the House by placing chips on the betting table, which are numbered with red and black spaces. To win, players guess correctly and win money according to the payouts of each bet type.

Players can make either inside bets or outside bets. Inside bets are placed on specific numbers or sets of numbers on the betting table. When a player makes an inside bet, they bet that the ball will land on their lucky number. For example, a “straight” or single bet is placed for a single number. Outside bets are placed on broader categories of numbers on the betting table. When a player makes an outside bet, they bet that the ball will land on a certain kind of number including red/black, odd/even or high/low.

After bets are made, the dealer (or croupier) spins the roulette wheel and throws a small ball in the opposite direction. The dealer will announce when there are no more bets allowed on the table. When the ball lands on a number, the dealer will call out the number. The dealer will pay the winning bets and clear the losing ones. At this point, players can make bets for the next round of roulette.

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