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Roulette Wheel (American and European Roulette)

The numbers 1 through 36 are divided evenly among red and black "pockets". The pocket is the container that a ball may come to rest in. In addition to the 36 red and black pockets, there are also, either 1 or 2 green pockets, containing the number zero and double zero (00) on the roulette wheel. A closer look also reveals that the numbers are not distributed in a random fashion. An attempt at order has been made, but is it relevant to the statistics?

If no roll is dependent on any preceding roll, then how could the relative position of the numbers affect the balls resting position? The fact that you can bet on more than the individual number, and that each pocket has added attributes for wagering on counters this line of thinking. A balance between red and black, high and low, and odd and even is sought by the wheel makers.

For every number on the wheel, directly across from it is the next highest even number. Black and red alternate, pairs of even numbers alternate with pairs of odd numbers (with 0 and 00 exceptions). This roulette wheel design is standard within the industry.

A roulette dealer (usually referred to as "croupier") spins the wheel counter-clockwise and releases what is usually a plastic ball along the track that runs along the top of the wheel's cavity. As the wheel loses velocity the ball is pulled down off of the track and bounces around until it settles into a pocket. There are a million small buffers and bumps to ensure that the ball is tossed around randomly before it finds a home.

The main difference between the European and American Roulette Wheel is the zeros. The European Roulette Wheel, with one zero and no double zero, alters the house edge in favor of the gambler in comparison to American Roulette. This zero/double zero discrepancy changes the house advantage from 2.7 percent with the European Wheel to 5.26 on the American Roulette Wheel possessing both the zero and the double zero.

Also, in European and English casinos there is an option to use the en prison rule. This allows the gambler, if the zero comes up, to either surrender one half of their outside wagers or to leave them for the next game.

When you add in the en prison factor, also known as ‘Surrender,’ the house advantage drops even lower on the European Wheel taking it to 1.352 percent. This is a very inviting play compared to the 5.26 percent in the United States.

We get asked all the time. "What's the difference between an American and a European roulette wheel?" An American roulette wheel has an extra slot - 00. A European roulette wheel has the numbers 1-36, plus a slot for zero. This extra slot on the American wheel means that the odds of winning are slightly worse on an American wheel. On both wheels, you may think that there is no rhyme or reason as to how the numbers are arranged, but there is; the numbers are arranged this way so that the odds of landing on high, odd, low or even numbers are evenly distributed. The zero and double zero numbers are in green and on opposite sides of the wheel, the colours and odd/even numbers alternate, and the numbers themselves are randomly distributed.

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