What Makes American Roulette So Awesome

I know you don’t agree with me, but American roulette is my favorite casino game.

When I visit a casino, the first games I seek out are the double-zero versions of roulette.


I’ve always stood up for this casino staple.


I am an American, after all.


So why do I get so pumped up for double-zero roulette?


The primary distinction between American and European game rules is discussed first.


Comparing American with European Roulette

The number of pockets in the roulette wheel where the ball can land is the primary distinction between American and European rules. Roulette wheels in the United States contain 38 compartments (1 through 36, plus a green zero and a green double zero space), while those in Europe have 37 compartments (1 through 36, plus a green zero space).


The added room has a noticeable effect on the odds of an American game. The house has an edge of 5.26% on all bets in American roulette, but only 2.7% in single-zero roulette. When compared to single-zero or European tables, the house edge in the American game is about twice as high.


But hold on, I haven’t finished telling you the tale. There is a particular regulation in authentic European roulette games that further decreases the house edge. If the ball lands in the green zero spot, players at Euro tables receive a payout equal to half their original wager. The house edge on even-money bets is only 1.3% with that restriction in effect. By any standard, those are fantastic odds.


How come American roulette is my favorite?


It can be Reached

There are just seven casinos in Las Vegas that offer roulette with only one zero. Only two of the casinos, the Palazzo and the Venetian, offer American-style roulette games; the other five all stick to the European version.


The selection of Euro games is similarly limited if you don’t gamble in Las Vegas. The remaining Atlantic City casinos aren’t exactly chomping at the bit to throw out cash, especially because they have to make room for low-odds games like single-zero tables. No resort in Mississippi or Louisiana owned by a major operator like Harrah’s offers single-zero table games. In the United States, games played according to American rules are the most prevalent and least expensive option. If you aren’t a high roller, you might not even be able to play single-zero games.


It’s Comfortable

I’ve only ever known or played the one-zero game because I’ve spent my entire life in the United States. When I was a kid, I had a casino play set with a plastic roulette wheel, playing cards, a ball bearing, some poker chips, and some dice, and the wheel was arranged in imitation of good ol’ USA rules.


European roulette’s rules are much more player-friendly, that much is true. Due to its popularity, some American casinos have adopted the “en prison” rule for usage on double-zero wheels, which returns half of your even-money stake in the event of a zero. The house’s edge was reduced from 5.26 percent to 2.63 percent, but the game never caught on because of this. The fact that the idiotic “five numbers” wager isn’t offered on single zero tables is another reason why I prefer European games to American ones; it’s a bad way for the casino to swindle uninformed people out of their money.


For me, though, it all boils back to old habits. There should be two green zero places on the wheel when I play. I don’t think I’ll get my bet back in half because of the “imprisonment rules.” My experience with gambling is limited to tables with much higher limits than those seen in Europe.


Price Is Reasonable

Why shouldn’t I just stick to those seven casinos when I go to Las Vegas if single-zero roulette delivers significantly better odds? For the most part, $100 minimum bets apply to access to the VIP rooms where single-zero games are played. The Mirage and the MGM Grand have the lowest minimum bets in town at $25 per hand at their single-zero tables.


I can usually place a $5 or $10 wager on a single spin at the American roulette tables in Las Vegas. Simply said, I can’t afford to gamble on a game with a single zero. At a busy table in Las Vegas, I might see an outcome once per minute; at the VIP tables, I’d have to risk four times my monthly mortgage payment. My wife and I cannot tolerate behavior like that. Even at $600 an hour, it’s already prohibitively expensive.


Years before Las Vegas, Atlantic City casinos had single-zero games, making it the premier destination for high rollers. In the United States, the term “European-anything” is shorthand for “elite” and “uppity,” and it appears that this European import fits that mold. Even though I like to think of myself as an academic who has risen above the limitations imposed by his upbringing, I can’t help but feel at ease when playing the double-zero game.



Do casinos really want American gamblers to play on wheels with only one zero? Euro roulette wagers typically do not count toward bonus criteria or loyalty points at online casinos. Nearly all casinos in the United States have removed their tables. The games, if you can locate them, usually have prohibitively high minimum bets or are only accessible to those with VIP access. Due to these factors, I greatly prefer playing roulette games that follow the American regulations. I’m rooting for a few of you to have a change of heart after reading this and give the game another shot.

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