American roulette ranks as one of the two most popular variations of this classic game of chance, alongside European roulette. This variation enjoys a great popularity among players, residing in the United States but is played by European fans of the game as well. The American variant follows the same rules as its European counterpart with a few small deviations.
Due to its immense popularity among American players, all well-known online casino operators in the industry have included American roulette in their gaming collections. Read on to find out more about the game of American roulette, its table layout, house edge and the types of bets that can be placed.
The most substantial difference between American and European roulette lies in the number of pockets on the wheel. While European roulette wheels have only 37 pockets including the 0, this is not the case when it comes to American roulette where the wheel has a total of 38 pockets. Numbers 1 through 36 are coloured in black and red while the two zero pockets, marked with 0 and 00, are coloured in green.
There is a deliberate randomisation of the numbers on the wheel and those on the betting layout on the table. The numbers alternate so that black numbers are always opposite red numbers. Each red number is always followed by a black number. The double-zero pocket is positioned between two red numbers, while the single-zero is located between two black numbers.
After careful examination of the wheel, players may be left with the impression there is a slightly higher average of red numbers around the double-zero pocket as opposed to a higher average of black numbers around the single-zero one. This difference, however, is quite insignificant. In addition, the numbered pockets alternate pairs of even numbers with pairs of odd numbers.
As far as the table layout is concerned, the only difference between the American and the European variations of the game is that on the American layout there is one additional betting box to represent the double-zero pocket on the wheel. As French bets like Orphelins and Voisin du Zero are not allowed, there is no section on the American tables’ layout where these exotic bets can be placed.
House Edge in American Roulette
Many seasoned players steer clear of engaging in the American variation of the game because the house has a greater advantage over them on double-zero wheels. In European roulette, the house advantage is estimated to be 2.70%. This house edge can be reduced further if the La Partage rule applies on the table. This rule states that if the ball ends up in the zero pocket, players who have made even-money bets will have half of their original wagers returned. Thus, the house edge drops even lower to 1.35% when the La Partage rule applies.
Needless to say, this is not the case in American roulette with its double-zero wheel. First of all, the La Partage rule does not apply here, yet the chances of the ball landing in a zero pocket are slightly higher on a double-zero wheel. It is precisely that extra zero pocket that gives the house a whooping edge of 5.26% in a game of American roulette. If the ball lands in one of the two zero pockets, all even-money bets lose, which needless to say, works to players’ disadvantage. Moreover, if you place the so-called Five-Number bet, which is specific to the American variant of the game only, the house edge increases even further to 7.89%.
American Roulette House Edge and Payout
Square or Corner
Red / Black
Odd / Even
High / Low
Types of Bets in American Roulette
The types of bets one can place in American roulette are roughly the same save for the aforementioned French bets – Orphelins, Voisins du Zero and Tiers du Cylindre. The bet types can be subdivided into two major categories – inside and outside bets. The Five-Number bet is exclusive to the American variation only and is not accepted in European or French roulette.
Outside bets enjoy a great popularity among inexperienced players since their chances of winning are higher. Players can place a Red/Black bet, in which case they are wagering that the next number to come up will be of their chosen colour.
Another popular option is the Odd/Even bet where players wager that the ball will land on an even or on an odd number.
It is also possible to make a High/Low bet – in this instance, you are betting the winning number will be within a specific range. In roulette, numbers 1 through 18 are known as “low” numbers while those from 19 to 36 are called “high” numbers.
These three subtypes of outside bets are often called even-money bets because they pay out 1 to 1.
Since the 36 numbers on the table layout can be divided into three dozens (1 through 12, 13 through 24, and 25 through 36), players can also make a Dozen bet where the winning number should be in their chosen dozen. Dozen bets have a slightly higher payout of 2 to 1.
The Column bet is yet another option for those who wish to play it safe. It covers an entire column of numbers and is placed within one of the three “2-1” boxes on the layout. Winning Column bets also pay out 2 to 1.
Inside bets are more popular among seasoned roulette players because they are riskier. One such wager is the Straight Up bet where players are betting on a single number. If your number of choice is spun, you will be paid out at the rate of 35 to 1.
With Split bets, players are betting on two numbers that are positioned next to each other on the table layout. The chips are typically placed on the line that separates the two numbers. If the ball lands on one of the numbers, your payout will be 17 to 1.
The Street bet, involves any three consecutive numbers which are positioned in a row on the layout, for example numbers 7, 8 and 9. The chips for this type of wager are placed on the outside line of the row on which the player wants to bet. If one of the three numbers is spun, the player is paid out at a rate of 11 to 1.
Then again, it is possible to place a Corner (also called Square) bet, in which case you are betting on four numbers that meet at one corner, like 16, 17, 19 and 20. The chips are placed the common corner of the four numbers, hence the name Corner bet. It has a payout of 8 to 1.
With the Six-Line bet, players are betting that one of six numbers in two adjacent rows will be spun. An example of one such bet would be wagering on 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9. If you wish to make a Six-Line bet, you place the chips on the outside line between the two rows. Provided that one of your six numbers wins, the payout will be 6 to 1.
There is one subtype of inside bets which is exclusive to American roulette only – the Five-Number bet, also referred to as the Basket bet. This bet covers pockets 0, 00, 1, 2 and 3 specifically, and is placed on the outer corner shared by numbers 0 and 1, and 00 and 3. However, it is important to mention players are largely recommended to steer clear of this type of bet because it has an even higher house advantage of 7.89%. The Five-Number bet is not to be confused with the Four-Number bets in European roulette since the odds for the latter are fine.
Why are Five-Number bets to be avoided? The answer is simple – the probability of you winning with this wager is 5 to 38 or 13.2% but if one of the five numbers comes up, you will be paid out at a rate of 6 to 1 only.