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24 November 2015
By Frank Scoblete
Roulette has an interesting history. The Roman soldiers used to spin on their shields and if their aquiline noses pointed up yonder hill, they would lay waste that mountain village, killing everyone except for the people they didn’t want to kill, pretty girls and such.
If their aquiline noses pointed down the hill to another village that was in the valley, they would march down the hill and lay waste to that valley village, killing everyone except for the people they didn’t want to kill, pretty girls and such. Lucky to be a pretty girl in those violent times.
Pretty girls still play what became of that Roman tradition, and the only thing that can be hurt now are their bankrolls.
Now roulette has two types of wheels: the 0-wheel, known as the single-zero wheel (pretty clever, right?), and the 0 / 00-wheel, known as the double-zero wheel (even cleverer). The single-zero wheel is also known as the French or European Wheel, while the double-zero wheel is known as the American Wheel.
There is a little bit of a problem with the wheels’ names. You see, the American double-zero wheel was developed in Europe, while the European single-zero wheel (wait for it!) was developed in America. That’s like the Roman nose pointing up the hill and the Roman soldiers attacking downhill. That could get pretty confusing – but at least the pretty girls would be safe no matter what.
The American double-zero wheel has a 5.26% house edge attached to it; while the European single-wheel has a 2.70% house edge attached to it. Translated into money, on the double-zero wheel your expectation is to lose $5.26 per $100 wagered, while on the single-zero wheel your expectation is to lose $2.70 per $100 wagered – obviously a far better bet.
Given a choice, then playing the European wheel is the better bet. Trouble comes along with many of the casinos that have these wheels because they jack up the table minimums. If the double-zero game has a $5 or $10 minimum, the single-zero wheel will have a $25 minimum. So they get you coming and going.
So look for the European wheel as long as it is at the betting level you normally play; otherwise you are playing a better game that will lose you more money. Funny how the casinos can make that work.
Now, in Atlantic City and in some casinos around the country, there is a rule called surrender. If the ball falls into the 0 or 00, the players betting the outside proposition bets of Red/Black, Odd/Even or High/Low will get half their losing bet back. Such a rule reduces the house edge on the American game to 2.63%. On the European game the house edge falls to a low of 1.35% if they have the European version of surrender which is called en prison.
I think it goes without saying (but I have to say it), find a European wheel with en prison and play the outside bets mentioned above – as long as you are not playing double or more of your normal amount. If not, find an American wheel with surrender and play those outside propositions as well.
And thus, my legions, over that yonder hill is a village to be laid waste.
Frank Scoblete’s new book is “I Am a Dice Controller: Inside the World of Advantage-Play Craps!”
This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at email@example.com.
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