American Roulette Wheel Explained – Learn Ins and Outs of Table Rules and Payouts

American roulette wheel

13 minutes

Last Updated: May 13, 2022


American Roulette Wheel Explained – Learn Ins and Outs of Table Rules and Payouts

While European roulette is the most popular variation on the Old Continent, the American roulette version is the one you’ll primarily find if you step into a US-based or Asian casino.

Similar to the European version in many essential characteristics, the US roulette wheel version also has its distinct features.

On this page, we’ll explain every detail of the roulette wheel and share with you the ins and outs of everything you need to know about the exciting American roulette variation.

The American Roulette Wheel

Suppose you’re an absolute beginner roulette player. In that case, the easiest way to make sure you’re playing an American roulette version is to look at the number of pockets and the specific layout of the wheel’s numbers.

Focusing on the first part, the American roulette wheel differs from the European version in that it has 38 pockets, while the European has 37. This includes a zero, a double zero, and numbers from 1 to 36.

The existence of the double zero is the difference-maker between the American and European versions. This is also the reason why the American variation has a higher edge, but more on that later.

The zero and double zero are easily recognizable on the wheel, as they are colored in green.

All of the other numbers are colored red or black.

The second factor that separates the American roulette wheel from the European one is the sequence of numbers on the wheel.

This sequence can be incredibly confusing, and there’s no noticeable relation between each pocket and its particular position.

Looking into the exact layout of the US roulette wheel, the clockwise number placement starting with the zero is 28, 9, 26, 30, 11, 7, 20, 32, 17, 5, 22, 34, 15, 3, 24, 36, 13, and 1.

Then, the sequence starts again with the double zero at the halfway point and continues in the pattern of 27, 10, 25, 29, 12, 8, 19, 31, 18, 6, 21, 33, 16, 4, 23, 35, 14, and 2.

The sequences don’t make any difference in potential outcomes, as the ball has an equal probability of landing in any of the 38 pockets.

From the perspective of the number layout, we should highlight the last major visual difference between American and European roulette.

The numbers on the European roulette wheel always face inwards, towards the center of the wheel. Oppositely to this, the numbers on the American version face outwards towards the players.

American Roulette Betting Board

Now that we know how the American roulette wheel looks, we should focus on the second most crucial aspect of the game, the American roulette table.

More specifically, the betting board and the number layout on it.

If you like playing both American and European roulette, you’ll have no issues navigating your way through the betting board, as the two are nearly identical.

American roulette table

The only major difference is the double zero betting option on the top left corner of the betting layout. Other than that, the remaining basic bets are the same and divided into two categories, inside and outside bets.

To help you learn each of them, we’ll go over all of the available bets and briefly explain them:

Inside Bets in American Roulette

Inside bets are the more complex American roulette bets and are generally not recommended for beginner roulette players.

These bets offer you better winning odds than outside bets but are also more challenging to get right. Having said that, here are all the inside bets in American roulette:

  • The Straight Up – This roulette bet covers only one number of the wheel, including zero and double zero. You place your chips directly on the number you want to bet on.
  • Split – Split bet covers any two adjacent numbers on the betting board, including zero and double zero. To make this bet, you simply place the chips on the line separating the two numbers you want to bet on.
  • Street – A street bet is any bet that includes three numbers in a row. It’s placed at the end of the row. For instance, if you’re betting on a 10, 11, 12 combination, you need to put the chips on the bottom line of the number 10 on the betting board.
  • Corner – This roulette bet can cover any four numbers that share a corner. You place the chips where these four numbers touch to make a bet.
  • Five – Also known as the basket bet, this is the only type of roulette bet that the American version has and the European doesn’t. The five bet covers the 0, 00, 1, 2, and 3 numbers.
  • Line – The line bet is a six-number bet that covers any two adjacent rows of numbers. You place this bet on the border between the two rows. An example of a line bet is a bet covering the 1, 2, 3, and 4, 5, 6 rows.

Outside Bets in American Roulette

Outside bets are far less risky than inside bets. The tradeoff is the noticeably smaller payouts.

Unlike the previous type of bets covering single numbers or small combinations, these bets include entire groups of numbers. This makes them easier to follow and more suitable for beginners just learning their way around the game.

Here’s a complete rundown of all outside bets in American roulette:

  • Columns – The column bet box is featured in the far right of the betting board. As there are 36 total numbers from 1 to 36, there are three columns equally divided into twelve numbers each. For example, the horizontally lowest of the three columns includes numbers 1, 4, 7, 10, 13, 16, 19, 22, 25, 28, 31, and 34.
  • Dozens – Like the previous bet, the dozens bet also includes three separate groups of 12 numbers. Only in this case, the numbers are grouped based on their overall value. The first “dozens group” covers numbers from 1 to 12, the second covers numbers from 13 to 24, and the third one from 25 to 36.
  • Red/Black – Otherwise known as the color bet, this outside bet lets you wager on the red or black pockets. You can simply make this bet by placing your chips on the red or black box at the bottom center part of the betting board.
  • Odd/Even -Like the previous bet, this is an even-money bet, as you can choose between only two options, that the ball will land on an odd or even number.
  • Low/High – Rounding off the list of the even-money bets, the low/high bet lets you choose whether you think the ball will land on a number between 1 and 18 or 19 and 36.

One important thing to mention when it comes to outside bets is that the zero and double zero symbols are excluded from the winning possibilities.

In other words, no matter which of the above bets you make, if the ball lands in the zero or double zero pockets, you’ll lose your bet.

American Roulette House Edge

When talking about American roulette, there’s no way of going about it without addressing the house edge difference compared to the European version. The house edge is the one major disadvantage of the American roulette version.

Putting this into numbers, the American roulette wheel has a house advantage of 5.26%.

At first glance, this is still a very tolerable house advantage compared to many other casino games. But, in the context of an American vs. European roulette comparison, the latter is the much more favorable option.

This is because the house edge in European roulette is only 2.70%.

This difference is present because the American version has both the zero and double zero pockets, while the European version has only the zero pocket, as we’ve discussed above.

American roulette

This effectively doubles the house edge. So, if you’re focused on playing with the lowest possible casino advantage every time you bet on roulette, the European version is clearly the better option.

Besides the inherently higher house edge that comes with American roulette, the payouts are identical, and the probabilities are reasonably similar, although slightly worse than in European roulette.

To help you remember all of the odds and chances of winning each available American roulette bet, we’ve drafted this detailed but easy-to-understand table:

Type of Bet Bet Payout Probability
High/Low Bet 1/1 47.4%
Odd/Even Bet 1/1 47.4%
Red/Black Bet 1/1 47.4%
Dozens 2/1 31.6%
Columns 2/1 31.6%
Six Line 5/1 15.8%
Basket Bet (First Five Bet) 6/1 13.2%
Square or Center 8/1 10.5%
Street 11/1 7.9%
Split 17/1 5.3%
Straight Up 35/1 2.60%

How to Play American Roulette

In most casinos that feature American roulette, the chips used at this game will differ from those used on all other games in the casino.

Not only this, but each player will receive chips in a different color. This is done to avoid confusion and possible confrontations when paying out the players.

Each betting round of roulette starts with the players placing their chips on the desired numbers or combinations.

After that, the dealer will spin the wheel and drop in the ball. It’s key to remember that you can still bet or remove your bet as the dealer spins the wheel and drops in the ball.

After waiting for a few seconds more, the dealer stops the betting for that round by saying: “no more bets.”

From this point until the end of the round, you cannot place new bets or change any of your existing bets. If you continue betting after the dealer proclaims that no more bets are allowed, they can disqualify your bets.

Once the ball falls into one of the 38 pockets, the dealer will call out the number and put a small marker on the number’s place on the betting board to indicate the winning number.

The dealer will sweep all of the losing bets from the betting board and pay all the winners. After completing this, they’ll remove the marker, and a new round of betting can begin.

US roulette wheel

Best Strategies for Success in American Roulette

American roulette, just like all other versions of this game, is a purely luck-based gambling game. This means that you can’t really do anything to increase your winning chances or shift the odds your way.

That said, if you want to have more success in American roulette, the best thing to do is to minimize the risk of placing losing bets and getting the most value from every bet you win.

With this in mind, you need a betting system to know how to size your bet depending on your situation. There are two types of roulette betting strategies. These are:

Progressive Betting Strategies

The main concept of progressive betting strategies is that you need to increase or decrease the size of your next bet depending on the outcome of your previous bet.

There are many strategies that fall into this category, but we can differentiate two main types of betting systems: those with steep progressions and those with flat progression.

Betting strategies with steep progressions include popular systems like the Martingale and Fibonaccis strategies. On the other hand, the D’Alembert system is the most notable example of a flat progressive betting strategy.

The Martingale system advises you to double your bet every time you lose. The Fibonacci system follows a somewhat similar tactic but in a safer manner, staying true to the famous Fibonacci sequence.

Lastly, the D’Alembert system is the safest but also least rewarding of the three.

To make this a bit clearer, we’ve made another helpful table. In the scenario below, here’s how many casino chips you would bet on a four spin losing streak with each of these American roulette betting strategies:

Martingale Bet Size Fibonacci Bet Size D’Alembert Bet Size The Bet Outcome
1 1 1 Loss
2 1 2 Loss
4 2 3 Loss
8 3 4 Loss
16 5 5 Win

Non-Progressive Betting Strategies

Non-progressive strategies aren’t as fun and exciting to play as progressive ones, as you won’t be scaling your bets progressively with each spin. One of the best examples of non-progressive betting strategies in roulette is the James Bond strategy.

Should You Play American Roulette?

With all of the information and tips we’ve covered on this page, you now know more than most American roulette players and will have no difficulties making your way through the session without any trouble.

Moreover, now that you know all the good and bad sides of American roulette, you can decide whether you should stick to this game or explore different roulette variations.

If you want to enjoy a fun and exciting game and don’t mind the specifics of the house edge, the American roulette version is an excellent choice.

On the other hand, if you’re chasing the best value for each roulette bet you make, we recommend you go with the European roulette variation.

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