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Roulette-Games.com - American Roulette Guide


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The Dealer

In American casinos, the game is run by one dealer. This is in contrast to the European version of roulette in which several croupiers (the French term for dealer) are used, for the European game is played with a double layout and more employees are needed to staff the table. But in American casinos, one dealer will suffice to run the game. Sometimes, if the game is particularly busy, the dealer may have an assistant, whose sole function will be to collect losing chips and stack them up. But this is the exception, rather than the rule.

The dealer has several duties. He or she will first change the player's cash into roulette chips. Each player will receive roulette chips of a different color from the other players' chips. These roulette chips have no intrinsic value away from the roulette table and are specially marked. The different colors make for a smoother game, since there will usually be a multitude of bets on the layout. The only way the dealer will know how to make the proper payoffs will be through the color of the chips.

In addition to changing cash for chips, the dealer runs the game. He keeps the wheel in spin, and spins a small white ball counter to the wheel's motion, rolling this ball and letting it spin away until it falls into a slot on the wheel. This slot determines the winning number and other payoffs. After a winning number is determined, the dealer collects all the losing chips first, and then pays off the winning bets. After this is done, the players make bets prior to the next spin of the ball and the whole procedure begins again. There is usually a pit boss in the vicinity of the roulette wheel. He or she may supervise the play at the roulette table and will be called upon in case there is a dispute between the players and the dealer or the players themselves disagree. But this rarely happens since all the players use different colored roulette chips.

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Roulette Chips

As mentioned above, the chips are in different colors and are marked differently than other casino chips. A player can't wager them at any other game in the casino. Not only that, but players are forbidden from taking these chips away from the roulette table. When they're finished playing, they must turn in all their chips to the dealer, who will pay off the player by exchanging these for casino chips, which can then be brought into the cashier's cage and exchanged for cash.

There is usually a standard value placed on the roulette chips. In the old days, before inflation, 10¢ or 25¢ chips were the standard. Today, it's hard to find a standard chip value less than $1. If a player gives the dealer a $20 bill, he or she will receive 20 chips, each having a standard value of $1. However, the player is not stuck with this value. Suppose that a player came with a $100 bill and wanted each chip to be valued at $5. This will be done, and the dealer, to make certain that there is no mistake, will place that colored chip on the outside rim of the wheel with a $5 marker on it, or a button to show that a stack of 20 chips is worth $100.

When no chips are on the rim, everyone is playing with standard value chips. These chips will come in enough colors, usually eight or ten different ones, to accommodate that many players. There will also be enough chairs at the roulette table for this many players. Players may change the denomination of their chips if the player wins a lot of money, rather than betting handfuls of $1 chips, he may change the value to $5 for his colored chips. However, he or she may not want to bet standard casino chips of that same valuation, since there may be a problem if another player is also betting casino chips, and there may be a dispute as to who is entitled to a payoff. The same holds true for cash bets, which we don't recommend using.

For bigger bets, casino chips of the regular kind can be used. This is for $5, $25 and $100 bets. However, the vast majority of bets will be made by using the roulette chips. When payoffs are made, the dealer cuts the chips, that is, he breaks into the stacks of chips at his disposal. If the payoff is 17 chips, for example, he'll cut a 20 stack by taking away three chips from that stack and move them by hand to the winner.

This is in contrast with the European game, where a rake is used to collect and pay off chips. In both games, after the number has come up, some kind of marker is placed on the layout to indicate the winning numbers before the losing chips are collected and winning bets are paid off.

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The American Wheel

The game of roulette depends on the spin of the wheel, an ornate device that is approximately three feet in diameter and contains slots numbered from 1 to 36, plus a 0 and 00. The bowl of the wheel, which takes up most of the space on a roulette wheel, contains numbered pockets. Above this, eight metal buffers, some horizontal and some vertical, are there to slow down the ball as it spins counter to the wheel's motion, so that the ball will fall into a pocket in the most random manner possible.

When it falls into a pocket, that pocket corresponds to a particular number, and that number determines which bets win and which lose for that spin of the wheel. Each pocket is separated from its neighbors by metal dividers, which are known as separators. As the ball slows down, it may fall into a pocket only to bounce up and into another pocket, but eventually its inertia will cause it to remain in one pocket. That pocket contains a number, and that's the winning number for that spin.

There are 36 numbers in all, half in black and half in red, plus two extra numbers, the 0 and 00, which are in green The numbers aren't in consecutive order on the wheel, but are placed randomly, with red and black numbers alternating, except when broken up by the 0 and 00. With thirty six numbers on the wheel, half will be odd and half even, half will be black and half red, and half will be in the lower tier (1 - 18) and half will be in the higher tier (19 - 36). All of these are possible bets; odd-even, red-black, high-low, and as we shall see are paid off at even money.


The American Roulette Wheel

If there were only 36 numbers, then the house should have no advantage over the player and it would be merely a game of chance without side, the bettor or casino, having an edge. However, the addition of the 0 and 00 gives the house the higher advantage. These could be called house numbers, because they are winning numbers for the house when the player bets on any of the even money propositions just mentioned, as well as on other numbers and betting propositions.

A gambler could be on the 0 and 00 as a number, as well as any other numbers, but then it means that there are 38 possible numbers to bet on, with the payoff at 35-1 on a single number, still giving the casino a 5.26% advantage. Since the house has a built-in advantage, it wants the game played as honestly as possible, and therefore the roulette wheels are built as friction free as possible, so that there is no bias or deviation from a random situation prevailing. The wheels are inspected frequently and checked out for any worn parts, such as pockets or dividers, for these may create such a bias.

Some player go from wheel to wheel, clocking them and checking out the pattern of numbers that come up, hoping for such a bias, but it is rarely found. If more numbers come up in any sequence out of the ordinary, it is more probably coincidence, for when there's a random gambling, numbers can repeat and come up in strange sequences, and the spins can still be the result of chance.

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The Roulette Layout

Now we come to the partner of the wheel at the roulette table, the layout. The layout contains all the possible betting situations that a player can have while playing roulette. The following is a typical roulette layout. The layouts are usually green. The numbers from 1 through 36 are divided into three columns, and are in numerical order. Each one is either red or black, corresponding to the colors of the wheel. 0 and 00 are at the head of the columns of numbers, and may be bet upon separately or together.


American Roulette Table Layout

On the outside are the even-money bets, 1 - 18, even, red, black, odd, and 19 - 36. Between them and the columns are the dozens bets, 1 - 12, 13 - 24 and 25 - 36 placed so that they correspond with the numbers in the columns. On the layout these dozens bets are marked 1st 12, 2nd 12 and 3rd 12.

Finally we have the column bets, which are at the far end of the columns, opposite to the 0 and 00 areas. They each show 2-1, and are paid off at that price. Each of these column areas covers all the numbers running down the column. This is the standard layout to be found in American casinos, and as we have said it will accommodate all the possible bets that can be made at the game of roulette.

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