There are some nice stories about the most popular casino game Roulette, as far as it is played in the brick and mortar casinos all over the world. Find a croupier and let him of her speak out freely and they all will surprise you with their experiences at the table. About people who were throwing away money like old newspapers, people who were arguing at the table and new friendships that over the table grew and brought people together. It all happens but this is not a story book, so we keep to the game itself. American Roulette is a variant on European Roulette and is based on a sort of greed of former casino bosses who found the contribution of the players to the game a bit low. That contribution, called the ‘edge’ is in European Roulette 2,70% based on the income that the casino holder will have thanks to the zero pocket on the wheel which entitles him to cash all the bets when the little ball is falling into that pocket, colored green instead of red and black as the other pockets. The Americans came up with a wheel that contained two of those green zero pockets, which almost doubled their edge to 5,26%. This is the most important difference between American Roulette and European Roulette. We have to adjust the remark that the French system also used two zero pockets and when it arrived in the Mississippi area it was more liked by the casino bosses.
When we make a study of the history of Roulette we will see that the present system of American Roulette was common worldwide, till the year 1843 when the present European form was introduced in the casino of the German town of Homburg. It is noted in almost all games that it was in former times difficult to find a kind of standard in rules and lay-out of a game. A lot of games exist in various forms with all their own rules and counting of the points. Maybe that modern times will bring more standardization now many games are offered through worldwide networks like Facebook. In Las Vegas, the first state in the USA that made a living out of gambling, some strange wheels were located, like wheels with 28 pockets, single zero and double zero pockets and an extra symbol, pictured by the American Eagle, traditional seen as the symbol of liberty. It meant that players were indeed free, free to lose more money because this wheels were really profitable to the casinos, but soon they disappeared and are now of high value for collectors.
Wheels were sometimes handmade or made by primitive machines and they were never completely random as they are today. There always were some deviations and when you were able to find out how they appeared you could make huge profits out of this knowledge. Wikipedia gives us the story of Gonzalo Garcia-Pelayo, who in the early 1990s played in the Casino de Madrid in Spain, where he suspected that the wheel was not random, which led to the fact that some numbers occurred more than others. In one day he won 600.000 euros and in total one million euro before he was stopped by the casino who took him to court where the judges dismissed the legal complaint telling the casino that they better use perfect wheels instead of complaining that the present one was not random. Since that edict all major casinos ordered their producers to provide only 100% random wheels.
We told you that the house edge in the American Roulette system is 5,26% of all bets, due to the use of the two zero pockets in the wheel. This is a theoretical and average profit that can caries from day to day of course, but at the end of the year this will be the outcome. That is when all players would play American Roulette without any risks and would all go home with small profit or loss, caused by the zeros. But there are always real punters at the table who risk much more than putting their money on black or red only or on odd or even numbers. And when a player puts his last money on the wrong number, color or combinations, his bet will disappear in the pockets of the croupier and ends up in the bank of the casino. The Casino Control Commission in Atlantic City, New Jersey (the second city of casino importance after Las Vegas), calculated that the real win of the casinos is between 21-30% and that is a lot more than the 5,26% house edge.
We have no figures present how American Roulette is doing in online casinos. Most online casinos offer European Roulette, having enough profit with one green zero pocket instead of the two zero pockets of the American Roulette. There are even online casinos that take only half of the bets when the little ball falls in the zero pocket, halving the official edge of 2,70%. American Roulette online can also offer the so called neighbor game, based on the order of numbers on the roulette wheel. We explain this on the page Roulette Rules and you will learn there that it can be very exciting and is really an asset to the normal American Roulette, as played in hundreds of casinos in the United States, Canada, South America and the Caribbean.
Although not many online casino offer American Roulette now, it is expected that it will be adjusted to their casino table games as soon as this type of gaming is officially allowed in the United States. But is also possible that the European system will be introduced in the States as far as it goes for online roulette. In that case the information on this page has been useful for your historical knowledge of the game, but maybe you will never play it online. Is a trip to Las Vegas a good idea then?