| Roulette is Still Kicking
by Mr. Frank Scoblete
September 14, 2006 – The game of roulette goes as far back as Roman soldiers spinning their shields and asking the gods of chance what the chances were of victory. Sometimes the soldiers were only playing a game for money or jewelry or who could pillage the village they had just conquered, and sometimes the soldiers had much bigger questions, such as, "Which casino offers the best roulette games?"
Roulette became the staple "casino" game of Europe many centuries ago and many a nobleman lost his lands and his good name by attempting to defeat "that damnable wheel." Roulette is the third most favorite casino table game today, behind blackjack and craps - in fact, it has been third for quite a long time now, since the late 1940s.
There are approximately one million to 1.3 million roulette players in America out of approximately 52 million casino gamblers. While roulette keeps its main patrons, we don't see the game picking up steam any time soon. Indeed, some casino prognosticators believe that some of the newer table games such as Let It Ride, Caribbean Stud, Three-Card and Four-Card Poker might just surpass roulette in the next 10 years.
Roulette is a simple game to understand. You have to guess which pocket the ball will fall into. You have 37 or 38 pockets in a roulette wheel, numbered 1 through 36 and 0 and 00. The European wheel, which was (ironically) invented in America, has only one 0, while the American wheel, which was (ironically) invented in Europe, has a 0 and 00. On the American wheel, the house has a 5.26 percent house edge, while on the European wheel, the house has a 2.7 percent house edge.
Now, players can bet on which single number the ball will hit and they will be paid $35 for every $1 they bet should they guess correctly. The true odds of the bet are 37 to 1 and that is how the casino makes its money - by not paying you the proper odds. Players have a host of other bets they can make as well. They can bet on which color, red or black, the ball will land on; whether it will be an odd or even number; or a number in the first 18 or second 18. Players can also bet on which dozen numbers will hit. In fact, players can bet on one, two or as many numbers as they desire.
Except for two cases, the house maintains its 5.26 percent and 2.7 percent house edges. In the double zero American game, the player can bet the "Five Number Bet" at the top of the layout. This bet on the 0, 00, 1, 2, and 3 has over a seven percent edge and is the very worst bet at roulette. On the flip side, some casinos allow something called surrender or en prison on their even-money bets of red/black, high/low, odd/even. While surrender and en prison are handled differently, the effects are the same for both - of the 0 or 00 hits when you are wagering on an even-money bet, you will only lose half your bet. This reduces the house edge in half at both versions of roulette.
Obviously, if you enjoy playing roulette, finding casinos where surrender or en prison is allowed is of primary importance. If you cut the house edge in half, you cut your losses in half - if you are betting the same amounts of money, that is.
Of the two types of roulette games, the European variety is also the preferred one. Again, you are facing a game with almost one-half the house edge as the American game.
While roulette's house edge is rather high, the speed of the game can be slow. Always look to play at crowded roulette tables. By doing this, you are reducing how many spins per hour you will face. In all casino games, there are two elements that cut into the players' bankroll - the house edge and the speed of the game. By playing at crowded roulette tables, you can face about 40 decisions an hour.
Over the generations of roulette play there have been countless systems created to try to beat the game. None of them have worked. Because the house keeps some of the money on a win, no betting system can overcome the hit on a person's bankroll. If you decide you must play a system, let me recommend that you get my Spin Roulette Gold book, which analyzes and describes just about every roulette system ever invented.
The only people who have ever beaten roulette in the past have been those who discovered faulty wheels where certain numbers were coming up more than they should be. These "wheel clockers" took down thousands of spins and analyzed the hits. When they found wheels that were "biased" or "off," they bet the biased numbers.
The second type of long-range winner has been those individuals who are able to visually predict where the ball will land will great accuracy. This technique is very difficult to master as you have to watch the ball and the spin of the wheel.
Finally, there are some dealers who might get into a certain rhythm when they spin the wheel and release the ball. They might develop what is called a "signature," which can be predicted. This signature will be relatively constant, maybe 10 to 18 holes away from the last hit, and, if so, can be exploited by the astute roulette expert.
While roulette will never challenge slots for dominance in the casinos, its days are not yet numbered!
Copyright 2006 Frank Scoblete
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