American and European roulette

There are 2 or 3 croupiers in a game of roulette, depending on how many fields there are on the table, 1 or 2. Ideally the table should have 2 fields, either side of the wheel, so there are twice as many players playing for large stakes. This is the only difference and everything else should be the same, including the layout.

The layout divides the European playing table into 6 fields: three central fields with no name, 9 fields at the bottom of the table, and the rest are marked with the number 12.

European roulette

The player places his chips in various strictly marked places on the table: he may place bets on a specific number, several numbers, or even combinations of numbers. The size of the payout is set by the establishment and its rules. You should not expect the sum won and received by the client to equal your calculated sum because the casino always creates an advantage for itself in the form of a suitable percentage on all stakes.

Your luck depends on which number you choose on the table. If you put a chip on “even”, you are betting on an even number coming up, and “odd” is an odd number. When you place a bet on “high” you win if the ball lands in any pocket numbered 19 to 36, and “low” means pockets 1 to 18.

When you bet on “black” you suppose that a black pocket will come up. Exactly the same goes for bets on “red”. If you win, the amount of your winnings will be equal to the amount you staked, so these bet are called “even odds”.

When making an “evens” bet, the chances of winning are 1:19/18 due to the 1 or 2 “zeros” (1:10/9 in American roulette). This gives the casino an advantage over the players.

The croupier says, “Place your bets” before each spin, inviting the clients to make their bets. After this he spins the wheel and throws the ball along the inner rim of the stationary outer wheel. While the ball is still moving rapidly round the rim, players can make bets.

All betting finishes as soon as the croupier says, “No more bets”. All players’ eyes are glued to the little ball, which hovers for a fraction of a second and somehow wavers before it falls towards the pockets. Then comes the moment of truth – the ball finally drops into one of the pockets with a light knocking sound, and stops still.
The croupier quickly announces the winning number, colour and position: “17, red, odd, low”, bringing an end to the spin. Then the croupier must pay out the winnings to the lucky players and collect with his “rake” the stakes of the players who weren’t so lucky this time. Players who bet on 17 receive winnings 35 times their stake.

American and European roulette
In European casinos it is common to have a roulette table with one green zero pocket. In order to attract more players, American casinos sometimes conduct experiments with European style wheels.

American roulette

American roulette is more profitable for the casino when compared to European roulette in that it has a second zero pocket (the European table has only 1 green zero pocket and 36 other numbered pockets, while the American version has 38 in total). Not having this second zero pocket reduces the casino’s advantage to 2.7%. For example, in making a bet the client will lose 1:37. 1 divided by 37 gives us 2.7%. If there are 38 pockets, the player will lose 2 stakes, and the probability of losing increases (1:38), which makes 5.26%.

European roulette, which challenges clients to try their luck on a roulette table with 1 zero pocket, is not common in casinos, because of the above mentioned advantage to the client.

Casinos try to attract a large number of clients using American roulette. It lures players with the “en prison” rule, but at the same time the establishment’s profit is decreased to 2.63%. “En prison” means to collect just half of each stake and pay out 1:1 (even numbers – odd numbers, low – high, etc.). What is more, half the sum is also collected on an American table if zero comes up.

On a table with 1 zero, this reduces the chance of “en prison” and is to the advantage of the establishment. This means a loss of half your stake with 37 spins and the casino’s edge falls to 1.35%. And this will, of course, attract gamblers to bet.

Now it is not worth relying on casinos giving such an advantage to clients. It is generally not easy to find a roulette table with just 1 zero.

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