The game of American roulette is played by releasing a ball onto a spinning wheel, fitted with pockets or slots. The ball comes to stop on a numbered slot when the wheel stops turning. Whoever placed a bet on this number will then win the game.

Structure of the American Roulette Wheel

There are 38 numbers on an American roulette wheel, including a single-zero, a double-zero, and numbers from one to 36. American roulette wheel differs from its European counterparts because it has the double-zero.

The numbers that mark the American roulette wheel are not arranged randomly or in increasing order. Rather, the manufacturers have decided to order them in such a fashion that there is an equal probability of the ball landing on red, black, low, high, and odd and even numbers.

Arrangement of the American Roulette Wheel

On American Roulette wheels, the black and red numbers are arranged so that they face each other, in an alternating pattern. Even numbers and odd numbers get alternated, too, but are positioned in identical pairs that face each other, rather than singles. The odd numbers on the American Roulette wheel are put next to the subsequent even number, in increasing order. Finally, on the roulette wheel the numbers are found in pairs, with a single number between them. Add up the pairs and you’ll come out with 37 or 39 for the most part. The sum of all 38 numbers is 666.

As a way to prevent confusion, the single and double zeroes are positioned beside green pockets on the American Roulette wheel.

Betting on the American Roulette Wheel

If you play the American Roulette wheel, you’re able to make 11 kinds of bets. The table you play on is arranged according to the layout of the wheel itself; it has all 38 numbers organized into three-number rows and 12-number columns. It’s called an inside bet when you make a bet inside these rows or columns. The final five kinds of bets you can place are known as outside bets. They can be black or red, low or high, even or odd, or can be a set of numbers in a column (referred to as a Column) or range of 12 numbers (referred to as a Dozen).

The Payoffs and House Advantage in American Roulette Wheel

The house typically has an advantage of 5.26% in American roulette wheel. This percentage is nearly twice that of its European counterpart (2.7%). All of your bets have a favor of 5.26% for the casino, with one exception: a five-number bet. This kind of bet will increase the house’s advantage to 7.89%.

The Rules of American Roulette Wheel

A special rule applies to American roulette wheel games. It’s known as “Surrender,” or sometimes “La Partage.” It cuts the house advantage almost in half, to 2.63%.

It’s only in even-money bets that La Partage is applied. The rule says that if the ball falls upon zero on the wheel, there is an option for the player to concede half of what he or she betted, rather than losing everything. Another such rule is known as En Prison. This rule, however, is only observed in European casinos. It gives players the extra choice of keeping their bets where they are for the following spin, rather than giving away half.

When I was 14 years old my parents took me on a 2 day cruise, it was great; my dad spent the whole time looking a bit green whilst my mum introduced me to the wonders of onboard casinos – that was the beginning of my love affair with roulette. Ten years latter, I still love the roulette wheel, it’s appeal and excitement hasn’t waned. In the course of those ten years, however I have noticed a number of strategies that people tend to play with – personally I think they take the fun out of the game, but hey, everyone has a right to know what their options are, right?

The most common strategy used in roulette is known as the Martingale. This strategy is based on the theory that loosing streaks don’t last long, therefore if you continue to bet on the same one of two chance options (e.g. black or red/odds or evens), it won’t be long until you win. Now, the way that you actually make money on this is by doubling your bet each time each time you don’t win. Confused? Don’t be! If I bet $5 on red and it comes up black, then I’ve lost $5, however the next spin I bet $10 on red – oops came up black again, now I’ve lost a total of $15. Never mind, I stick with the Martingale theory, I double my bet on the same choice and so I put down $20 on red. Hallelujah, it’s red! I win $40. Does it work out? Yes, I bet $5 + $10 + $20 = $35; I made a $5 profit. Make sense?

Once you’ve grappled with the Martingale, the next strategy for you to deal with to is the Uber Martingale, actually more commonly known as the Grand Martingale. This strategy works in much the same way as the regular Martingale, except that with the Grand Martingale you double your bet and you add one of your original bet. So, after the first loss of $5 you double it to $10, but you also add one, i.e. another $5, so your second bet is $15. If that one doesn’t come in for you, you double the $15 and add one, i.e. $5 to make your third bet $35, and so on. This increases your profit margin when you do win.

The truth is that I have seen people win big with these strategies; they’re highly logical and do work. However, I’ve also seen people loose big on them because they didn’t plan properly; a table with a low limit can cause problems when playing the Martingale strategies because it increases the chance of reaching the limit before you win. So, if you’re going to play this strategy, play at a high limit table, and always start your bets low.

This isn’t the only roulette strategy used, but it is the most common. Personally, I find all strategies to be a little dull, except for mine that is – favorite numbers, birthdays and following the gut; frankly you can’t beat it.

The Red/Black system is one of the better known roulette systems around. Your bets for this system are on either red or black, with your pay out 1 to 1, meaning your money is doubled for a win. It is worth keeping in mind that your chances of winning each bet are just under 50/50 due to the fact that the 0 and 00 gives the casino its advantage.

To begin you must choose a color and place your bet on either red or black. If you win, keep your winnings and place your starting bet again. If you lose, double your stake and place a bet on the same color again. If this bet wins, your net result after two bets is the same as if you had one you initial bet. Keep your winnings and begin with your starting stake again. If your second bet loses, double your stake again, and continue doing this until your color does come up, at which point your net win from the string of bets will be the same as if you won your starting bet. It doesn’t take too many losing bets in a row for your bet amount to climb to quite a big number. Be very aware of the table bet limit – if you reach this before you have a win then you stand to lose a considerable amount.

The Five Number System calls for straight-up inside bets which offer a payout of 35 to 1. You place your bets on five individual numbers. Don’t forget 0 and 00 are part of the inside numbers you can wager on. Pick any five numbers, they all have the exact same chance of winning. Find a game where the minimum bet is no more than $5 and buy forty $1 chips ($40). If you limit yourself to relatively small stakes you can’t get badly hurt. With this system you hope to get lucky two consecutive times. Start by placing one chip on each of your five chosen numbers. Repeat this same wager until you win – you have enough chips for eight tries. When the ball comes to rest on one of your numbers, you win 35 chips. Divide the 35 chips over your five number fields, seven on each. If you hit again the pay off will be 7 x 35 = $245. No matter what the outcome, this was your last spin. Smart gamblers know when to quit.