What is the American version of roulette

The American version of roulette features a double zero.


The game of roulette, a true emblem of casino gambling, has captivated players and spectators alike with its unique blend of suspense, strategy, and chance. A staple in both traditional and online casinos, roulette comes in different variations, each offering a distinct experience. The focus here is on understanding the American version of roulette, a variation that has sparked intrigue and debate among gambling enthusiasts worldwide.

What is the American version of roulette
What is the American version of roulette

Definition of Roulette

Roulette is a casino game named after the French word meaning “little wheel.” In this game, players choose to place bets on either a single number or a range of numbers, the colors red or black, or whether the number is odd or even. The game determines the winning number and color by a croupier spinning a wheel in one direction, then spinning a ball in the opposite direction around a tilted circular track running around the wheel’s outer edge. The ball eventually loses momentum and falls onto the wheel, landing into one of 38 colored and numbered pockets on the wheel in the American version.

For detailed rules and betting options, visit the Roulette page on Wikipedia.

Brief History of Roulette

The history of roulette is a rich tapestry, woven from myths, legends, and concrete historical milestones. The origins of roulette are often attributed to the French mathematician Blaise Pascal in the 17th century, as a byproduct of his perpetual motion machine quest. However, the game as we know it today took shape in 18th century France, where it was particularly popular in Parisian casinos.

The journey from old-time Paris to the digital era has seen the roulette wheel undergo several changes. One pivotal moment in roulette history was when the game crossed oceans and made its way to America in the 19th century. Unlike the original French version, American roulette showcased notable modifications, like the addition of a double zero (00) to the roulette wheel, significantly impacting the game’s odds and payout structures.

American roulette’s lineage has been somewhat controversial, often considered less favorable to players due to the higher house edge caused by the extra double zero pocket. Despite this, its enduring popularity in casinos, from the flamboyant establishments of Las Vegas to virtual online arenas, is a testament to the excitement and allure it adds to the world of gambling.

For more information on its history, explore the History of Roulette section on Wikipedia.

This introduction into the American version of roulette sets the stage for a deeper examination of its rules, strategies, and cultural significance in subsequent sections. The intrigue surrounding the game, whether it’s the thrill of the spinning wheel or the strategic betting, guarantees a captivating read for enthusiasts and casual readers alike.

Understanding American Roulette

Delving into the world of American Roulette requires comprehending its gameplay, unique characteristics, and the nuances that set it apart from other variations. This high-stakes game of chance has a distinctive style and format that influence strategy and betting. As we peel back the layers, we’ll uncover the essential aspects that all players, novice or seasoned, should know to understand the game deeply.

Overview of American Roulette

American Roulette, one of the most popular casino games, revolves around a spinning wheel, a betting table, a ceramic ball spun by a croupier, and a series of wager options available to each player. By placing bets on numbers or color, players attempt to predict the outcome of the wheel spin. One factor that significantly distinguishes American Roulette from other versions is the presence of both a zero (‘0′) and double zero (’00’) on the wheel and the betting table, increasing the house edge to 5.26%, a stark contrast to the 2.7% in European Roulette.

For comprehensive insights into different styles, consult the Roulette Wikipedia page.

The logic of Roulette wheel numbers & Roulette table
The logic of Roulette wheel numbers & Roulette table

Distinctive Features of American Roulette

Double Zero (’00’) Pocket

A key feature that defines American Roulette is the double zero (’00’) pocket. This additional green pocket increases the number of slots on the wheel to 38, raising the house edge. While this may seem like a minor alteration, it has profound implications for both the betting strategy and the potential payouts. The presence of the ’00’ makes outside bets statistically less likely to win, which is a strategic consideration every player must account for.

Roulette Wheel Layout

The layout of the American Roulette wheel also sets it apart. Numbers on the wheel are not arranged consecutively. Instead, they are ordered strategically to balance red/black, odd/even, and high/low numbers. Here’s how the sequencing goes, clockwise: 0, 28, 9, 26, 30, 11, 7, 20, 32, 17, 5, 22, 34, 15, 3, 24, 36, 13, 1, 00, 27, 10, 25, 29, 12, 8, 19, 31, 18, 6, 21, 33, 16, 4, 23, 35, 14, 2. This unique arrangement is integral to the game mechanics and betting calculus.

For a visual representation, refer to the American Roulette Wheel layout on Wikipedia.

Rules of Playing American Roulette

Playing American Roulette involves a series of fixed rules with variable strategies. The game begins as players place their bets on the designated table. Betting can be intricate, with inside bets placed on numbers directly or on lines between numbers for a combination of numbers. Outside bets, on the other hand, are placed on additional sectors marking several number categories, red or black colors, or odd or even numbers.

Once bets are placed, the croupier spins the wheel, launching the ball in the opposite direction. When the ball settles into a numbered slot, the croupier announces the winning number, and bets corresponding to this number win.

Players need to understand the types of bets and their respective payouts. For example, a straight bet on one number has a payout of 35:1, while a bet on red or black offers a 1:1 payout. Knowledge and strategic application of these rules are crucial for a player’s success and profitability in the game.

Understanding these facets of American Roulette equips players to approach the game with greater confidence and strategic insight. While the house edge and rules may present challenges, they also add to the thrill that has captivated players for centuries. The blend of strategy, risk, and the tantalizing possibility of lucrative rewards is what makes American Roulette a standout choice in casinos worldwide.

European vs. American Roulette

When stepping into the vibrant world of roulette, players often encounter two predominant variants: European and American Roulette. These styles, while similar in general gameplay, harbor distinct differences that significantly sway odds, strategies, and player experiences. Unraveling these aspects is crucial for enthusiasts aiming to navigate the subtleties of each format effectively.

Similarities and Differences

Both European and American Roulette hinge on the same foundational concept: players must predict where the ball will land on the roulette wheel. The wheels in both versions are similar, with pockets numbered 1 to 36, alternately colored red and black. However, a stark difference arises in the presence of green zero pockets.

European Roulette features a single zero (‘0′), making for a total of 37 pockets. In contrast, American Roulette introduces a double zero (’00’), creating 38 pockets. This extra pocket in American Roulette significantly affects the game’s odds, tipping them more in the casino’s favor. Another subtle but important distinction is the number sequencing on the wheel, leading to different layouts between the two versions.

Find more on the structural nuances on Wikipedia’s European Roulette page.

Impact on Gameplay and Odds

The ’00’ in American Roulette is more than just an additional number. By increasing the house edge to 5.26% compared to European Roulette’s 2.7%, it markedly alters the game’s dynamics. Simply put, players stand to lose an average of $5.26 for every $100 bet in the American version, versus $2.70 in the European style.

This discrepancy stems from the payouts being identical in both games, despite the altered odds of winning. For instance, a straight bet (on a single number) pays 35:1 in both versions, even though the chances of hitting that number are higher in the European game. The impact extends to outside bets as well, as the extra ’00’ decreases the probability of winning a red/black or odd/even bet.

To delve into the probabilities and statistics, visit the Odds of Roulette section on Wikipedia.

Roulette Wheels
Roulette Wheels

Players’ Preferences: A Comparative Analysis

Given the statistical advantage, one might wonder why players opt for American Roulette at all. The preference is often due to several factors including geographical location, individual casino policies, and player psychology.

In the United States, American Roulette is more prevalent, primarily available in casinos, and often preferred for its familiarity and patriotic resonance. European Roulette, however, is the go-to choice for players conscious of the statistical edge, seeking to maximize their chances. The choice can also depend on specific betting strategies, as some may align better with the risk-reward balance in European Roulette.

In virtual settings, i.e., online casinos, players have the liberty to select between the two based on personal preference, as geographical constraints become irrelevant. The choice then heavily leans on understanding the house edge and strategizing accordingly.

The European vs. American Roulette debate extends beyond the wheel layout and odds; it encompasses cultural preferences, strategic thinking, and personal inclinations. By understanding these, players can make informed decisions, blending statistical reasoning with their comfort and enjoyment levels, ultimately enhancing their overall gaming experience.

Playing American Roulette: Strategies and Tips

Mastering American Roulette involves not just understanding the rules but also implementing strategies that maneuver through its unique house edge. While no strategy guarantees victory, they can optimize your betting decisions. From grasping the house edge to calculating odds and making informed bets, every strategic insight enhances your potential to make the game more enjoyable and rewarding.

Common Strategies for American Roulette

Various strategies cater to different risk appetites and bankroll sizes. One of the most well-known approaches is the Martingale Strategy, where players double their bets after every loss. This method is straightforward but requires a sizable budget to maintain through a losing streak.

The D’Alembert Strategy is a less aggressive option, entailing increasing or decreasing bets by one unit, depending on whether the previous bet was a loss or win. It’s seen as safer, keeping bets from escalating too quickly.

Another notable strategy is the Fibonacci System, based on the famous Fibonacci sequence. Here, each bet is the sum of the two previous bets. This system takes a more cautious approach but, like all strategies, also requires an exit plan to collect winnings before a loss occurs.

While these strategies can’t overcome the house edge, they manage the way you place bets, helping to control the risk and reward. Reading further on the mathematical logic behind these strategies is recommended, which you can find on the Roulette Strategies Wikipedia page.


Understanding the House Edge

The house edge in American Roulette stands at a hefty 5.26%, directly attributable to the double zero on the wheel. Essentially, for every $100 a player bets, they stand to lose an average of $5.26 over time. This percentage is a statistical average over numerous games, not each individual game, meaning that short-term outcomes can still vary widely. Understanding this concept is crucial, as it underscores the risk level and influences how you should strategize your betting.

Betting Types and Odds in American Roulette

Different betting types in American Roulette offer various odds, affecting potential payout rates. Here’s a quick breakdown:

  • Straight (Single Number): The payout is 35:1, with a 2.63% chance to win per spin.
  • Split (Two Numbers): A payout at 17:1, with a winning probability of 5.26%.
  • Street (Three Numbers): It pays 11:1, carrying a 7.89% chance to win.
  • Corner (Four Numbers): The payout stands at 8:1, with a 10.53% probability.
  • Five Numbers: Exclusive to American Roulette, the payout is 6:1 with a 13.16% chance to win.
  • Six Numbers: With a 5:1 payout, the chance to win is 15.79%.

Outside bets, which include Red/Black, Odd/Even, and Low (1-18)/High (19-36), offer a lower payout at 1:1 but have almost a 50% chance of winning, considering the ‘0’ and ’00’ slots. These probabilities provide a clear view of potential returns, guiding strategic betting based on risk and reward preferences.

Practical Tips for Players

  1. Set a Budget: Determine a fixed amount you’re willing to risk and stick to it. This strategy prevents substantial losses and guides betting decisions.
  2. Understand the Odds: Familiarize yourself with the payouts and probabilities of the different bets. Betting on single numbers can be more thrilling because of the high payout, but the odds are significantly lower.
  3. Play Outside Bets for Better Odds: While the payouts are lower, outside bets have higher chances of winning, making them preferable for sustained play.
  4. Use Strategies with Caution: Betting systems can help manage your bankroll, but they don’t guarantee wins. Understand the limitations and risks before employing any strategy.
  5. Stay Sober, Stay Rational: Keep a clear head to make informed decisions, as impaired judgment can lead to unnecessary risks.

Incorporating these strategies and tips doesn’t ensure victory, as roulette is ultimately a game of chance, but they do enhance your gameplay. They help in formulating a structured approach, keeping the game enjoyable, and setting the stage for a potentially rewarding experience. Whether you’re playing for fun or aiming for substantial wins, these insights can significantly influence your American Roulette journey.

American Roulette in Popular Culture

American Roulette, with its high stakes and vibrant spin, holds a glamorous spot in popular culture. It’s not just about the game; it’s the suspense and thrill that come with the spin of the wheel. This excitement has captured the imagination of filmmakers, writers, and famous personalities, solidifying the game’s iconic status.

American Roulette in Film and Television

The silver screen has often used American Roulette as a symbol of chance, risk, and dramatic tension. Films like “Casablanca” feature pivotal scenes around the roulette table, leveraging the game’s inherent unpredictability to drive their narratives. In “Run, Lola, Run,” the protagonist’s fate hinges on a spin of the roulette wheel, further illustrating the game’s metaphorical use to represent life’s unpredictability.

Television isn’t far behind, with series like “Breaking Vegas,” where the storyline dives into clever and sophisticated strategies used by certain individuals or groups to win big in Las Vegas casinos, often focusing on games like roulette.

The representation of American Roulette in movies and TV shows often emphasizes glamour, luxury, and the tantalizing possibility of changing one’s fortunes in an instant. These portrayals contribute significantly to the mystique and allure of the game, making it a cultural icon in the realm of gaming and entertainment. More references can be found on roulette in film on Wikipedia.

American Roulette in the US
American Roulette in the US

Famous American Roulette Players and Stories

The allure of American Roulette has seduced a plethora of famous personalities, many of whom have fascinating stories associated with the game. One notable individual is Ashley Revell, who, in 2004, made headlines for selling all his possessions and betting his net worth of $135,300 on red at a Vegas casino. The ball landed on a red pocket, and Revell walked away with $270,600, embodying the risk-and-reward nature that defines roulette.

Another captivating story is that of Chris Boyd, a computer programmer who saved up for three years before betting $220,000 on red at a Vegas casino in the mid-1990s. Similar to Revell, fortune favored Boyd, and he left the table with a win of $440,000. These tales are not endorsements of reckless gambling but rather illustrations of the high-stakes drama that accompanies American Roulette.

These stories, embedded in the history and lore of American Roulette, demonstrate the game’s ability to inspire boldness and a willingness to embrace risk. They contribute to the game’s portrayal in popular culture as not just a gambling activity but a symbolic representation of chance, fortune, and the American Dream. The fascinating backgrounds of these roulette enthusiasts add a rich layer to the game’s presence in cultural narratives, reinforcing its status as a beloved icon of casino gaming.

The Global Influence of American Roulette

American Roulette resonates beyond the glitzy confines of Vegas, carving out a global presence that’s hard to ignore. This section delves into its online ubiquity, legal status in the international arena, and the future, shaped dramatically by technological advances.

American Roulette in Online Casinos

In the digital age, American Roulette maintains a dominant position in online casinos, reflecting its popularity among virtual gamers. Platforms now offer various iterations of American Roulette, accessible from devices, allowing enthusiasts worldwide to engage in the thrill of the spinning wheel.

One of the reasons behind its widespread online presence is the game’s adaptability and the ease with which players can understand its rules. With the online gambling market size reaching an estimated $66.7 billion in 2020, a significant portion of revenue is generated from games like roulette, which have been able to digitally recreate the casino atmosphere. Players can find this variant on numerous websites, alongside its European and French counterparts, each offering different betting strategies and payouts.

Moreover, the rise of live dealer games has enhanced realism, providing a personalized experience without requiring players to step into a physical casino. These advancements in online gambling technologies have propelled American Roulette to global recognition, making it a staple in the virtual casino scene.

Legal Status of American Roulette Around the World

Globally, the legal status of gambling, and by extension, American Roulette, varies significantly from one jurisdiction to another. While countries like the United Kingdom have a very open market, with clear regulations provided by entities like the UK Gambling Commission, others impose strict restrictions or outright bans on gambling activities.

For example, in China, all forms of gambling are illegal, barring some state-run lotteries. In contrast, Japan has strict gambling laws, but the government allows betting on certain public sports and hopes to open multiple casino resorts. This legal landscape influences where and how American Roulette can make its presence felt.

Players interested in participating in American Roulette need to be cognizant of their local gambling laws to avoid contravention. These varying legal frameworks reflect cultural, social, and religious considerations that shape legislative perspectives on gambling.

The Future of American Roulette: Technological Advances and Virtual Reality

The future of American Roulette glimmers with possibilities as technological innovations continue to reshape the gaming industry. One of the most significant advancements is the integration of virtual reality (VR) in gambling. With VR, players wear headsets to experience the casino environment in 3D, navigating virtual casino floors with realistic game tables.

Imagine engaging in American Roulette where, instead of clicking a mouse, players could stand by the table, chips in hand, surrounded by the sights and sounds of a casino. By 2022, the VR gambling market is expected to reach $520 million, growing at an astonishing rate as it attracts a new generation of gamers seeking immersive experiences.

Furthermore, the advent of blockchain technology offers a revolutionary change in ensuring fairness and transparency in gambling activities. By utilizing blockchain, online platforms could offer players verifiable assurance that each spin of the roulette wheel is entirely random, not influenced by underlying algorithms often feared to favor the house.

The marriage between American Roulette and technology symbolizes a forward leap, not just in expanding the game’s accessibility, but also in revolutionizing the user experience. From the internet’s democratization to the immersive escapism offered by VR, American Roulette is poised to maintain its popularity in the digital era, continuing to adapt and thrive in the changing landscape of global entertainment.


As we draw this comprehensive guide to a close, it’s pertinent to consolidate the key insights gathered about American Roulette, reflecting on its rich history, distinctive gameplay, and global influence. More importantly, pondering the reasons behind its enduring appeal provides a deeper understanding of its place in both casino gaming and cultural lore.

American Roulette
American Roulette

Summary of Key Points

Throughout this discourse, several pivotal aspects of American Roulette have been unearthed:

  • Originating in France, roulette ventured across oceans, where it evolved into the American version, identifiable by its distinctive double zero and resulting in a higher house edge.
  • The game’s rules are straightforward, but strategies like the Martingale or the James Bond strategy often beckon players into deeper intricacies of betting.
  • Comparisons with European Roulette highlight subtle yet impactful differences, particularly in odds and player advantages, given the latter’s lower house edge.
  • The representation of American Roulette in films and literature underscores its symbolic status as a blend of risk, chance, and the American Dream.
  • Technological advancements forecast an exciting future, especially with the advent of VR and blockchain technology, revolutionizing player experience and game integrity.

These points encapsulate the journey, mechanics, and cultural significance of American Roulette, offering both novices and seasoned players a holistic view of the game.

The Enduring Appeal of American Roulette

American Roulette, despite its lower odds compared to its European counterpart, continues to captivate millions globally. But why does a game, seemingly simple in its construct, maintain such a stronghold on players’ imaginations?

The allure, perhaps, lies in its perfect storm of simplicity and complexity. Anyone can understand the basic premise—place a bet, watch the wheel spin, and hope for the best. Yet, the plethora of betting options, from straight bets to the complexities of corner bets, not to mention the strategies players employ in an attempt to beat the odds, contributes to a profoundly engaging experience.

Furthermore, American Roulette embodies the spirit of the traditional casino like no other game. It’s a tangible representation of the risks we take in life, a metaphorical spinning wheel that decides fortunes in a heartbeat. Whether in the neon-bathed halls of Las Vegas or via the digital pathways of online platforms, it offers a slice of Americana that is both thrilling and endlessly optimistic.

In essence, American Roulette thrives on the paradox of simplicity in play and complexity in strategy, seasoned generously with the unpredictability of chance. Its status is more than a game; it’s a cultural icon, a touchstone of excitement and human aspiration, continuing to fascinate generations of players and onlookers alike.

What distinguishes American roulette from European roulette?

American roulette has a double zero pocket, increasing the house edge to 5.26%, whereas European roulette has a single zero and a house edge of 2.7%.

Does American roulette offer any specific betting options because of the double zero?

Yes, the presence of the double zero in American roulette allows for a unique five-number bet, covering 0, 00, 1, 2, and 3.

Is it legal to play American roulette everywhere in the United States?

No, the legality of roulette and other gambling activities varies by state. Some states allow casinos and gambling, while others restrict or even prohibit them.

How has technology influenced the game of American roulette?

Technology has greatly expanded accessibility, with online casinos offering various forms of roulette, including live dealer games. Innovations like VR are also starting to introduce a new dimension to the game.

What strategies are commonly used when playing American roulette?

Common strategies include the Martingale, where players double their bet after a loss, and the James Bond strategy, which involves spreading bets across the table. However, no strategy guarantees success.

Why is American roulette so prevalent in movies and pop culture?

American roulette is symbolic of chance, risk, and the glamour of casino culture, themes that are often explored in movies and literature, making it a popular choice for dramatic scenes.

What are the odds of winning in American roulette compared to other casino games?

The odds of winning for an individual number bet in American roulette are 1 in 38 due to the extra double zero, making the house edge 5.26%, which is higher compared to games like blackjack and baccarat.

Are there any famous wins or players known in the American roulette scene?

There have been notable wins throughout history, but due to the nature of the game of chance, there aren't many renowned professional roulette players. Instead, stories often revolve around dramatic one-time wins or losses.

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