The Origins of the American Roulette Wheel
The American Roulette wheel is based on the European Roulette wheel. Blaise Pascal, a French mathematician who lived in the 17th century, was the first person to introduce a primitive form of the roulette wheel. The Frenchman was trying to create a perpetual motion machine. Instead, he formed a wheel that went on to become the basis of one of the oldest and most popular casino games ever.
The term “roulette” is a French word that translates to “little wheel”. In the 19th century, roulette had evolved and was brought over the seas to the United States. In the 1970s, the majority of United States casinos had at least one roulette table. In 1996, the first ever online roulette game was released. The way in which roulette had evolved in different countries is the reason why there are three main roulette versions, the American, European and French Roulette variants.
The Segments of an American Roulette Wheel
American Roulette is slightly different to European and French Roulette as it has 38 numbers whereas the other two have 37 numbers. The wheel contains coloured, numbered segments. One half of the numbers 1 to 36 are red, and the other half are black. There is also a green 0 and 00 on an American roulette wheel. In the other two versions, there is only a single green 0 and not the additional 00. The aim of the game is for players to bet on where they think the ball will come to rest.
How does the 0 and 00 Influence American Roulette?
American Roulette has a higher house edge in comparison to European and French Roulette. In American Roulette, the house edge is 5.26%. In the other two versions, it is only 2.70%. This is because of the additional 00 segment inside the wheel.
The Sequence of Numbers on an American Roulette Wheel
In American Roulette, the numbers are not sequential inside of the wheel. Instead, they are distributed in a randomized order. In European and French Roulette, the numbers are also non-sequential, however, the layout is different to American Roulette.
Starting from 0, the first half of the wheel is laid out as follows:
0 – 28 – 9 – 26 – 30 – 11 – 7 – 20 – 32 – 17 – 5 – 22 – 34 – 15 – 3 – 24 – 36 – 13 – 1
At this point, the red and black numbers are stopped at the green 00 on the wheel. After the 00, the second half of the wheel continues as:
00 – 27 – 10 – 25 – 29 – 12 – 8 – 19 – 31 – 18 – 6 – 21 – 33 – 16 – 4 – 23 – 35 – 14 – 2
As seen above, there is no specific sequence that the numbers follow on an American roulette wheel, and it is set up in that way for a reason. It eliminates the possibility for players to notice any bias in the game. Here are a few facts about the American Roulette wheel:
- The red and black numbers alternate continually.
- No consecutive numbers have the same colour
- The successive numbers are paired at opposite ends of the wheel
- Odd and even numbers are distributed evenly on both halves of the wheel
- Low (1-18) and high (19-36) numbers must alternate on the wheel
The Base – The Foundation of the Wheel
American roulette wheels have a base. The base refers to the outer shell of the wheel. Typically, the roulette wheel base is wooden, however, it can also be composed of other materials.
If there are any scratches or dents in the base, it does not matter. In most sections of a roulette wheel, maintenance is required to ensure it does not affect anything to do with the game. However, the base is a durable part of the wheel that protects the interior, where all the action happens.
The Shaft – Providing Support
Within an American roulette wheel, there is a shaft. It is a metal part of the wheel that supports the rotor. The shaft is also known as the ‘Roulette Spindle’. It requires maintenance if it is not functioning properly. If the shaft is damaged in any way, it could affect the gameplay of the wheel, eliminating the complete randomness of the game.
The Pockets – Where Players’ Fate is Decided
As mentioned earlier, an American roulette wheel has 38 pockets. The pockets are all numbered and coloured. They are separated by frets that can cause the ball the bounce off them at time. Once the roulette ball slows down and stops in a pocket, it will remain in its place and ultimately decide the outcome of the round.
The pockets must also undergo maintenance to ensure that they are fair. Every aspect of the pocket is important, including how deep it is. If a pocket is too deep, the ball will quickly stop and remain in that pocket. In American Roulette, most land-based casinos use the famous Huxley Starburst design for roulette wheels. It is a modern style that keeps the game of roulette unpredictable and completely random.
The Diamonds – Creating Confusion
Some American Roulette wheels have diamond-shaped deflectors. These are also known as deflectors, pins, stops or slats. The purpose of the diamonds on the wheel is to change the ball’s path. However, they quickly become worn out and require maintenance to ensure that there are no imperfections to affect the game’s randomness.
The Rotor – Setting Wheel in Motion
The roulette rotor is the inner mechanism of the wheel. It weighs around 66lbs and ensures that the wheel continuously spins at a specific speed. If there are any imperfections with the rotor, it must be addressed by the casino.
The Ball Track – The Ball’s Starting Point
The ball track is the surface on which the ball moves on around the wheel. If there are any imperfections with the ball track, the gameplay may be affected. Thus, casinos must ensure that the ball track of an American roulette wheel is almost always close to perfect.
The American Roulette Betting Area
In American Roulette, players will find a betting area where they can place their wagers. The betting area consists of Inside Bets and Outside Bets. Inside Bets are wagers that are placed on the numbers in the betting area. Outside Bets are bets that are placed on the perimeter of the numbers in the betting area. Below, we have a complete list of Inside and Outside Bets.
- Straight Up Bet – A bet on a single number.
- Split Bet – A bet on two numbers that are adjacent to one another on the betting area. The bet is placed on the line between the two numbers on the betting area.
- Street Bet – A bet on three sequential numbers in a row (for instance 4, 5, 6).
- Corner Bet – A bet on four numbers that are joined by their corners.
- Line Bet – A bet on two neighbouring streets, covering a total of six numbers.
- Basket Bet – A bet on the numbers 0, 00, 1, 2, 3. It is exclusive to American Roulette.
- Column Bet – A bet that covers one of the three columns on the betting area. There are 12 numbers in a column.
- Dozen Bet – A bet on a group of 12 numbers. The three groups of numbers include 1-12, 13-24 and 25-36. These are known as the 1st 12, 2nd 12 and 3rd
- Red/Black Bet – A bet that covers all of the red or black numbers on the wheel.
- Even/Odd Bet – A bet that covers all of the even or odd numbers on the wheel.
- Low/High Bet – A bet that covers all of the lower or higher numbers on the wheel. The lower numbers are 1-18 and the higher numbers are 19-36.
American Roulette Odds and Payouts
Now that you are familiar with the different types of bets in American Roulette, we review how much they pay and the probability of winning a bet on one of these wagers.
- Straight Up Bet – pays 35:1 and has a 2.6% chance
- Split Bet – pays 17:1 and has a 5.3% chance
- Street Bet – pays 11:1 and has a 7.9% chance
- Corner Bet – pays 8:1 and has a 10.5% chance
- Basket Bet – pays 6:1 and has a 13.2% chance
- Six Line Bet – pays 5:1 and has a 15.8% chance
- Dozens Bet – pays 2:1 and has a 31.5% chance
- High/Low Bet – pays 1:1 and has a 47.4% chance
- Odd/Even Bet – pays 1:1 and has a 47.4% chance
- Red/Black Bet - pays 1:1 and has a 47.4% chance
A Complex Structure for a Simple Game
American Roulette wheels are far from simple. From the ordering of the numbers to the construction of the wheel, nothing is straightforward. Luckily, the game itself is very easy to learn and this complex device can provide you with hours of fun.