•    American Roulette rules differ markedly from European Roulette and French Roulette. For starters, the house edge in American Roulette is 5.26%, and there is an additional 00, raising the total numbers to 38.
•    The layout of the American Roulette wheel differs considerably from the European and French Roulette variants. Alternating red and black numbers, odd and even numbers are intentionally inserted.
•    Roulette betting systems are largely meritless, especially when it comes to anticipating roulette outcomes. Biased wheels are a rarity, but highly-experienced roulette dealers claim to have an idea about where the ball is likely to land on every spin.

American Roulette wheels are easily distinguished from their European and French Roulette wheel counterparts. This double-zero roulette game is uniquely appealing to players the world over. With numbers 0, 00, 1-36, American Roulette wheels feature a total of 38 number combinations. European and French Roulette games showcase numbers 0, 1-36, for a total of 37 numbers on the wheel. That extra 00 makes a world of difference to the rules of play. Compare the probabilities, house edge, and RTPs of American Roulette, European Roulette, and French Roulette games, below:

Table of Contents

American Roulette

•    Each number on the wheel has a statistical probability of 1/38 of occurring. That translates into a 2.63% chance of calling it right.
•    The house edge in American Roulette is 5.26%. It is determined by the difference between the true odds, and the odds paid by the casino. For example, single numbers pay 35:1, but the true odds should pay 38:1.
•    The RTP in American Roulette is 94.74%. It is easily calculated by subtracting the house edge from 100%.

European Roulette

•    Each number on the wheel has a statistical probability of 1/37. That translates into 2.70%.
•    The house edge in European Roulette is 2.70%. It is determined by the difference between the true odds, and the odds paid by the casino. For example, single numbers pay 35:1, but the true odds should pay 37:1.
•    The RTP in European Roulette is 97.30%. It is easily calculated by subtracting the house edge from 100%.

French Roulette

•    Each number on the wheel has a statistical probability of 1/37. That translates into 2.70%.
•    The house edge in French Roulette is 2.70%, but it can be as low as 1.35% when ‘En Prison’ and ‘La Partage’ rules are in effect. It is determined by the difference between the true odds, and the odds paid by the casino. For example, single numbers pay 35:1, but the true odds should pay 37:1. 
•    The RTP in French Roulette is 97.30%. It is easily calculated by subtracting the house edge from 100%.

The Layout of American Roulette Wheels and the Roulette Racetrack

Single-zero roulette wheels feature the following number sequence: 0-32-15-19-4-21-2-25-17-34-6-27-13-36-11-30-8-23-10-5-24-16-33-1-20-14-31-9-22-18-29-7-28-12-35-3-26. You will notice that there is no discernible pattern to any of these numbers. The roulette wheel is intentionally designed to prevent combinations of numbers from ‘agglomerating’, or ‘bunching’ together in predictable sequences. American Roulette rules warrant a different combination of numbers on the wheel. The sequence of numbers reads as follows: 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. Be advised that the 0 and 00 are both colored green in American Roulette games.

You may be wondering why roulette manufacturers design the wheels in such a way? Let's take a look at reasons for the ingenious placement of numbers on American Roulette wheels:

•    Low and High Numbers (1-18 & 19-36) alternate across the American Roulette wheel. This is priority #1 for the design and development of American Roulette wheels.
•    Intentional Obfuscation is necessary to keep players guessing about the design, layout, and combinations of numbers which make up the American Roulette wheel.
•    Alternating Odd & Even Numbers are equally important with American Roulette games. Take a look at the sequence, and you will likely see no more than 2 even numbers, or 2 odd numbers adjacent to one another at any given time.
•    Black and Red Numbers will alternate across the roulette wheel. This is designed to randomize this even-money bet, to make it difficult to anticipate where the ball will land.

Detailed Rules of American Roulette Games

American Roulette rules clearly spell out how the game is played, its probabilities, and payouts. Every game has a minimum bet amount. Any bet value less than that is not permitted. The maximum bet amount indicates the bet ceiling for any single spin of the wheel. Players have leeway within those predefined values. The minimum and maximum bet amounts are carefully calculated to ensure that casino liability does not exceed a specific figure per game. 

American Roulette players may notice the following table limit signs:

•    Minimum Chip Value
•    Minimum Inside Bet
•    Minimum Outside Bet
•    Maximum Inside Bet
•    Maximum Outside Bet

American Roulette rules clearly specify what the minimum and maximum values are for different combinations of betting options. Each roulette game has chip denominations. Every player at the table will receive a different color roulette chip, to make it easier to differentiate between player bets on the roulette racetrack. Depending on where you play American Roulette – Nevada or New Jersey, the Gaming Commissions may specify different minimums and maximums for inside bets and outside bets.

Recall that American Roulette rules permit players to place inside bets and outside bets, or either option exclusively. Provided you meet the table minimum, and don't exceed the table maximum, all bets are on. The maximum bet per table in American Roulette is not the maximum permissible bet on a single betting option. Individual numbers may be capped at a value significantly lower than the maximum bet per table. This limits the casino's liability when straight up selections land.

American Roulette Inside Bets and Outside Bets

Inside bets are the individual numbers, or groups of numbers on the inside of the roulette racetrack. They are easily identified, and the payouts on inside bets are substantial. Naturally, your odds of hitting individual numbers, or limited combinations of numbers are slim. There are 6 unique types of inside bets available to American Roulette players:

•    Straight up bets – longshot odds on straight up bets which pay 35:1 on individual numbers.
•    Split bets – split your bet over 2 adjacent numbers, and you will win if either of those numbers hits on the roulette wheel. The payout is 17:1.
•    Street bets – these are bets placed on 3 numbers in a line on the American Roulette racetrack. For example, 13, 14, 15, or 34, 35, 36. The payout is 11:1.
•    Trio bets – these bets are placed on numbers selections like 0, 1, 2, or 00, 2, 3. Note that these bets are on the intersection of 3 numbers when the 0 or 00 is included. The payout is 11:1.
•    Corner bets – at the intersection point of 4 numbers, a corner bet can be placed. On an American Roulette wheel, this includes options like 20, 21, 23, 24, or 32, 33, 35, 36, or 2, 3, 5, 6 et cetera. The payout is 8:1.
•    Six number bets – otherwise known as six-lane bets placed on the outside border of squares where sets of streets meet. They cover 6 numbers such as 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12. The payout is 5:1.

American Roulette outside bets are typically more player friendly, given that they pay out more frequently. Outside bets have a much higher probability of occurring, since they are broad-based betting selections. Like inside bets, there are 6 unique outside bet selections available to American Roulette players. These include the following:

•    Low numbers (1-18) bets – bets on low numbers take up approximately 50% of the roulette board, barring the 0 and 00 selections. If the ball lands on any number between 1-18, players will receive even money odds.
•    High numbers (19-36) bets – bets on high numbers take up approximately 50% of the roulette board, barring the 0 and 00 selections. If the ball lands on any number between 19-36, players will receive even money odds.
•    Red or Black bets – In American Roulette, there are alternating red and black options, as well as green 0 and green 00. 36/38 numbers on the roulette wheel are either red or black, and you get even money if you call it correctly.
•    Even or Odd bets - chances are the roulette ball will land on an even or odd number, with the exception of the 0 and 00 bet selections. Once again, this outside bet offers players even money odds.
•    Column bets – the columns represent combinations of numbers with 2:1 odds. There are 3 columns in American Roulette, like there are in European and French Roulette. If the ball lands in a column you have bet on, you will receive odds of 2:1.
•    Dozen bets - not to be confused with column bets, there are 3 dozens on the American Roulette board. The first dozen (1-12), the second dozen (13-24), and the third dozen (25-36). The payout on dozen bets is 2:1. 


Understanding Roulette Odds and Probabilities: Technical Analysis of the American Roulette Rules

You may be wondering how casinos make money if they offer generous payouts on American Roulette inside bets and outside bets? Take any even-money bet such as odd or even, red or black, low or high. The casino offers 1:1 payouts on these bets. But, these are not the equivalent of a standard coin toss, since there are 0 and 00 bet selections at play. Those extra numbers give the casino the advantage over the long-term.

Recall that American Roulette has a 5.26% house edge. When you place an even-money bet, your odds of winning are 47.37% (18/38). These bets offer the greatest probability of a win for players; considerably more than straight up bets which have a 1/38 chance of hitting. American Roulette rules are intentionally designed with these odds, probabilities, and payout percentages in mind. Notice that the true odds are greater than what the casino is prepared to give you, so it's a losing bet in the long run.

From a mathematical perspective, we must look at odds differently. If you are betting on red or black, and there are 38 numbers on the American Roulette wheel, you know that there are 18 red numbers, 18 black numbers, and 2 green numbers. The probability is 18/38. The odds are 20:18 because there are 20 ways to lose the bet, and 18 ways to win this bet. In terms of probabilities, your number is 47.37%. Your odds of winning this bet are clearly against you.

Now consider the true odds of a straight up bet in roulette. If there are 38 numbers on the wheel, there are 37 ways to lose this bet and 1 way to win this bet. So, the true odds are 37:1. However, the casino pays us 35:1. To determine the house edge in a roulette game, simply subtract the casino odds from the true odds and then multiply that figure by the probability of winning. The correct equation for this is as follows: HE (House Edge) = (True Odds – Casino Odds) X probability.

Using the aforementioned equation, we can easily calculate the house edge for ALL BETS in American Roulette. Let’s take a straight up bet as an example: (37/1-35/1) X (1/38) = 5.26314%

Is there a way to Anticipate Where the Ball Will Land in American Roulette?

Contrary to popular opinion, there are no failsafe ways to guarantee a favorable roulette outcome. Multiple betting systems have been promoted over the years, yet none of them should be used for hedging your bets. The literature is peppered with stories of how players use the Martingale System, Reverse Martingale, D’Alembert, James Bond, Fibonacci, and others. None of these betting systems can predict the outcome of a roulette spin. The random nature of a truly unbiased roulette wheel spin is ironclad. Bricks and mortar casinos feature perfectly-balanced roulette wheels, with frictionless spins, and 100% balanced tables. 

In the old days, it was possible to spot a biased wheel by documenting the outcomes of hundreds, perhaps thousands of spins. If bias exists, it will be evident in a ‘grouping’ of results in specific quadrants of the American Roulette wheel. In the absence of wheel bias, only one variable can be called upon to offer a degree of accuracy vis-à-vis where the ball is likely to land. It is the roulette dealer.  Professional croupiers are adept at performing the same actions over and over again, thousands of times a week, and hundreds of thousands of times a year. 

One casino dealer – Andrew Owen – provided some behind-the-scenes insights from his own experience as a roulette dealer. He attested to dealing for 6 hours per night, spinning the roulette wheel 60 times per hour. That translates into 1800 spins a week. The kicker is how he spins the ball, how you spend the will, and how both elements result in roulette outcomes.  According to Owen, he has found that his regular spins dropped 42.5 rotations around the wheel, time and again. He predicted with the 4 or 5 numbers where the ball would land on every spin. Similar stories have been told by many roulette dealers around the world. 

If there is any chance of ascertaining where the ball is likely to land, it's probably the roulette dealer who has the best guess, and even that is a stab in the dark!

To read all about roulette playing experience click here!

About the Author

With digital marketing strategies in his blood, Louis Wheeler has traveled around the world, exploring gambling cultures and gaining experience in casino games from 2003. If you are in a casino anywhere around the planet, you may find him right next to you, playing blackjack, roulette or texas hold'em.