The Best Roulette Game in Las Vegas – Why and Where to Play Single Zero Roulette

We have all seen a roulette wheel. Some of us have even played it in a casino. While all roulette games look the same at first glance, small variations in the winning payouts and even the wheel itself can lead to sizable differences in the expected outcome for both the player and the casino. In this article, we will show you the three main roulette games available in American casinos. We will take a deeper look at the underlying mathematics of each game to determine which variant of roulette is best, and why. Finally, we will help you track down the best roulette game in Las Vegas!

If a roulette wheel had only 36 pockets (the little slots on the side of the wheel into which the ball eventually drops) the game would be truly fair. The 1-in-36 (2.78%) chance a player would have to win 35-to-1 would exactly offset the 35-in-36 (97.22%) chance he or she would have to lose.

Casinos, of course, are in the business to make a profit. The money to buy the liquor they serve for free, to build and maintain the dancing fountains, and to pay the wages of everyone from the bellhop to the pit boss to the celebrity headliner has to come from somewhere. A lot of it comes from the house edge, which is the mathematical advantage over the player that is built into every game the casino offers.

In most roulette games offered in American casinos, that advantage is provided by the green 0 and 00 pockets both on the wheel and at the top of the layout. Instead of 36 pockets, a typical American roulette wheel actually has 38: the numbers 1 through 36, 0, and 00. The presence of the 00 pocket leads to American roulette sometimes being called “double-zero roulette.” In double-zero roulette, the player now has only 1 chance in 38 (2.63%) of winning 35-to-1; the probability of losing has increased to 37 out of 38 (97.37%) Even the most math-averse reader can see that this setup is disadvantageous to the gambler. More specifically, the 2 extra pockets give the casino a house edge of 5.26%. Over the very long run, for every $10,000 the casino collects in losing wagers, it pays back only $9474 in winnings. It should be pointed out that all bets available on double-zero roulette–except one–have the same house edge. The comparative payouts and probabilities for straights, streets, corners, and splits, as well as the lower-paying bets on the outside of the layout, are all structured to have this same house edge of 5.26%. The one exception is the “basket,” which is a wager on 0, 00, 1, 2, and 3. This wager pays 6-to-1 and has a house edge of 7.89%.

Serious roulette players who want to minimize the house edge should track down and play single-zero roulette. In single-zero roulette, the green 00 pocket is missing; the wheel has only 37 pockets. This is as close to fair as the wheel can get. The player has a 1-in-37 chance (2.70%) of winning 35-to-1, and a 36-in-37 chance (97.30%) of losing. This is only a 7 one-hundredths of a percent increased probability of winning on any particular number, but it has a significant effect on the house edge. Single-zero roulette has a house edge of only 2.70%, compared to 5.26% for double-zero roulette. That works out to an extra $256 in winnings per $10,000 collected.

Some single-zero roulette games offer another variation on their payouts. If a player wagers on one of the even-money outside bets on the layout (even, odd, red, black, 1-to-18, or 19-to-36), and the ball lands in the 0 pocket, the casino collects only half of your losing wager. For example, if you wager $10 on black, and the ball lands on 0, the house only takes $5 of your wager.

In an even rarer variation, the dealer may give you the choice of either losing only half your bet, or putting your bet “in prison.” Here’s what happens when you go to roulette jail:

1) The dealer puts a marker over your bet (the full $10 bet from before) that says en prison. You can neither add nor take away from your wager for the next spin.

2) The dealer spins the roulette wheel again for the next round.

When the ball finally comes to rest, one of two things will happen. Again, let us assume we have a $10 en prison bet on black.

1) The ball lands on black. You do not win anything, but it is like a jailbreak for your wager. The en prison marker is removed and you are free to do what you wish with your $10. Effectively, you get your money back.

2) The ball lands anywhere else (red or 0). You lose.

The en prison or “half back on even money” option cuts the house edge on these bets to a meager 1.35%. All of the other bets on the layout remain at the usual single-zero house edge of 2.70%. As far as I know, no casino offers this option on double-zero roulette. If one did, the house edge on these even-money wagers would be 2.63%.

By this point, we have shown that single-zero roulette is the more advantageous variation to play. It is the standard roulette game across Europe and Australia; a double-zero roulette game in Monte Carlo would be practically unheard of. You will also find single-zero roulette in many casinos throughout the Caribbean and the Pacific Rim.

Single-zero roulette is significantly harder to find in the United States, but it is out there. Many of the larger, higher-end casinos on the Las Vegas Strip offer it in their high-limit gaming sections only. A few of the more “European-themed” hotels are rumored to even offer the en-prison option.

If you lack either the bankroll or the stomach to wager $25, $50, or even $100 per spin, head to Las Vegas and visit Caesar’s Palace, Mandalay Bay (on weekends only), The Mirage, Monte Carlo (Friday and Saturday nights only), Nevada Palace, Stratosphere, and The Venetian.

Note that at Caesar’s, The Venetian, and Mandalay Bay, while their regular roulette tables may not technically be “high-limit” tables by their standards, they may still have a $15 minimum bet.

Several Las Vegas casinos reportedly offer single-zero roulette in their high-limit areas only. Other casinos not listed here just might offer it if a known high-roller requests it. Las Vegas casinos that limit their single-zero roulette to their high-limit tables include Bellagio, Golden Nugget (at high roller request only), Las Vegas Hilton, Luxor (weekends only), MGM Grand, Paris (at high roller request only), Rio, and Wynn Las Vegas.

A few of these high-limit tables even offer the favorable en prison option. Gamblers have reported playing en prison at the high-limit tables of Bellagio, Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand, The Mirage, Rio, and Wynn Las Vegas.

Several casinos in Atlantic City offer single-zero roulette in their high-limit areas only. I have heard of none that offer en prison. You can play high-stakes single-zero roulette at Tropicana, Showboat, Harrah’s, Caesar’s, Trump Marina, and Trump Taj Mahal.

These lists of casinos will no doubt change as time goes on. Some games increase in popularity while other tables have no one but a lonely dealer at them at 10 o’clock on a Friday night. In the time between this article was written and is now being read, some casinos may have expanded their single-zero roulette games or gotten rid of them entirely. An attempt is being made to keep track of all active single-zero roulette games in the United States at the Single Zero Roulette Squidoo Lens at [http://www.squidoo.com/singlezeroroulette/].

We have shown that single-zero roulette offers substantially better odds for the gambler than does the more common double-zero American game. The gambler will ultimately lose money over the very long run at any roulette game. Because of the lower house edge, however, the gambler has a better chance of winning money in the short run at the single-zero tables, particularly if the game offers the en prison option. Any roulette enthusiasts who want to maximize their wins–or even just minimize their losses–would do well to find and play the more advantageous, single-zero roulette game.

Craps Proposition Bets: Here Are Eight Wagers to Avoid When Playing This Table Game

Look at any craps table and you’ll see numerous wagers where some appear to have hefty payouts. These are One Roll wagers. None of them pay off in true odds. These bets should be avoided because they can deplete your bankroll very quickly.

Seasoned players know there are thirty-six possible combinations that can be made with a pair of dice, each with numbers one through six. For example, the number 7 can be rolled six ways, such as: 6 and 1; 1 and 6; 5 and 2; 2 and 5; 4 and 3; 3 and 4. The numbers 6 and 8, five ways; numbers 5 and 9, four ways; numbers 4 and 10, three ways; 3 and 11, two ways; and the 2 and 12, one way.

With the aforementioned in mind, here are the bets that you should avoid and why, when playing:

The Field

This is a one roll wager where the player wins if a 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11 or 12 appear and loses if a 5, 6, 7 or 8 appear. Payouts are even money except for the 2 or 12 which pay 2/1. A novice player would look at the field and think, “There are seven numbers to win with and only four to lose.” However, if you combine all the ways the winning numbers can be rolled they will total 16. The losing numbers combinations total 20. Thus, winning numbers can appear 45% of the time but the losers come forth at 55%. The house edge is about 6%.

Any Craps

Another one roll wager that pays 7/1 if a two, three, or twelve is rolled. Add them all up and the true odds are 9/1 against. The house edge is about 11%.

Any Seven

The worst one roll wager for the player. The odds are 6/1 against and the payout is only 4/1. If you really want to make this bet, my advice to you is, don’t. The house edge is about 17%.

Hardway Bets

These are the even number totals of 4, 6, 8, and 10. In our Monopoly days we knew them as doubles. Two 2’s = 4, etc. In the world of craps these are known as Hardways. When a player elects to make a Hardway wager he or she is betting that particular number will only appear as an even number total, for example, a hard eight as 4 and 4. All of the other four combinations that make up the eight now become losers. The Hardway bettors now lose when a seven or any eight other than the 4 and 4 appear. The odds are 10/1 against but the payout is only 9/1. The house edge for a hard 4 or 10 is about 11%, and hard 6 or 8, about 9%.

Horn Bet

A one roll wager betting that a 2, 3, 11, or 12 will emerge. The bet must be made in multiples of four units. You will be paid 30/1 for the 2 or 12, or 15/1 for the 3 or 11, minus your three losing wagers. These numbers only have a 1/6 chance of showing up. You can also bet these numbers individually. Your best bet is no bet. The house edge is about 12.5%.

C & E (Craps and Eleven)

The C&E bet is actually a combination of the any craps (2,3,12) bet, or the 11 (AKA Yo) bet. Basically, when you bet on C and E, you are wagering that the shooter will roll any craps numbers (2, 3, or 12) or 11. If you hit any one of these numbers, you win the bet.

There’s a 1 in 6 chance that the C and E bet will hit. The payouts are different for each part of the bet. If the crap numbers come up it pays 3/1. If an 11 is rolled, 7/1. the total overall house edge is 11%.

Fire Bet

Not all casinos offer this wager. The bettor(s) win if the shooter makes at least four different point numbers before a seven out is rolled. Only different point numbers count. The pay tables range from a 10/1 payout for one point made four times up to 2000/1 If all six point numbers are made four times each before a seven out. In this unlikely event the house edge is a whopping 25%!

Hop Bet

This is a one roll verbal bet that is rarely played because most bettors are unaware of it. A player may wager that the dice will hop to a certain combination on the next roll. For example: if you have a hunch that an 8 will be rolled as a 6 and 2, simply shout to the dealer, “Five dollars on hop eight as six and two”. If it happens you will be paid 15/1. You may also call out a Hardway, “Hop eight at four and four”. If you’re lucky, you win 30/1. Any callout is permitted. All payouts are the same. This is a typical sucker bet. Depending on the hop combo called out, the house edge can range from about 5% to 12%.

Your best bet is to stick to the line wagers, pass, don’t pass, come, don’t come with the odds bet(s) and the place numbers 6 and 8.

Good Luck!

Casino Hold ‘Em: The Poker Table Game Where Players Compete Against the Casino, Not Other Players

Casino Hold ’em is similar to the king of all poker games, Texas Hold ’em. The main difference being players compete against the house rather than other players. It is easy to learn and play, as long as you understand poker hand rankings. Novice players need not worry about being intimidated by other players. First let’s list the face value for each card and the five card poker hand rankings in sequential order:

Face Value of Cards

2 through 10 and Jack, Queen, King, Ace (2 is lowest, Ace is highest)

Poker Hand Rankings

High card – Five cards of different values with mixed suits and Ace being the highest.

One Pair – Two of the same cards such as 2, 2.

2 Pair – Two of the same cards twice, 7,7, & K, K

3 of a Kind – Three of the same cards, K, K, K, (AKA Trips)

Straight – Five cards in sequential order with mixed suits, 7,8,9,10, J

Flush – Five cards with the same suit in any order (5 Spades, Hearts, Clubs, Diamonds.

Full House – Trips and a Pair, Q, Q, Q, 8,8, (AKA, Full Boat).

4 of a Kind – Four of the same cards, J, J, J, J, (AKA, Quads).

Straight Flush – Five cards of the same suit in sequential order.

Royal Flush – 10, J, Q, K, A, of the same suit.

How to Play

A standard 52 card deck is used. All players must first make an ante wager before play begins. There is also an optional bonus wager called AA Bonus. The dealer will then deal his or herself two hole cards face down, and place three community cards face up in the center of the table. This is known as the flop. The community cards can be used by all players to complete their hands.

Players examine their cards and must make one of two decisions:

Fold – forfeiting the ante bet.

Call – Make a wager equal to two times the ante bet.

The dealer will then deal two more community cards face up for a total of five, and reveal his or her cards. The players and dealer make their best five card poker hand by using any combination of their own two cards and the five community cards.

The dealer must have a pair of 4’s or better to qualify. If the dealer does not qualify, the call bet pushes and the ante bet will pay according to the pay table listed below.

If the dealer qualifies and player beats dealer, the call bet pays 1 to 1 and the ante bet pays according to the ante pay table below.

If the dealer qualifies and beats the player, the player loses the ante and call bets.

If the dealer qualifies and ties the player, the ante and call bets push.

Pay tables may vary, below is supposedly the most common one:

Ante Bet Pay Table

Royal Flush – 100/1

Straight Flush – 20/1

4 of a Kind – 10/1

Full House – 3/1

Flush – 2/1

All Other – 1/1

Optional AA Side Wager

The AA optional side wager pays if the player is holding a pair of Aces or better. The bet pays even if the player folded the original hand. Here is the pay table:

Royal Flush – 100/1

Straight Flush – 50/1

4 of a Kind – 40/1

Full House – 30/1

Flush – 20/1

Straight – 10/1

Three of a Kind – 8/1

Two Pair – 7/1

Pair of Aces – 7/1

Strategy

Strategy is rather simple for this game according to gaming Analysts. Only the worst 18% of hands should be folded. Which are two low unsuited hole cards with no chance of a straight or flush when matched with the three-card community flop.

House Edge

The house edge has been calculated at 2.16% for the call wager and 2.97% when making the bonus wager, based on the pay tables listed.

Good Luck!

Baccarat – A Casino Card Game With III Phases and a Bit of History

Before I explain this Baccarat game that dates back to the 15th Century, let’s review a brief bit of history. Americans got their first real glimpse of this casino game during the 1962 James Bond movie, Dr. No, when Bond, played by Sean Connery, was winning in a Monte Carlo casino. The game was Chemin de fer.

Phase I – Chemin de fer

In this original version Players wagered among themselves and won or lost with their own money. A dealer shoe rotated around the table counterclockwise after each hand. Players could decline the bank and pass the shoe to the next player. A 5% commission for winning bank hands paid to the house was to cover the casino overhead.

Phase II – Punto Banco

Punto Banco, meaning Player, Banker, was introduced in Nevada from Cuba in the late 1950’s, where it was very popular until Castro closed he mob run casinos. The main difference from the French version is that the house banks the game. A tie bet was added to increase the house edge, and the 5% commission to the house for a winning bank bet remains in place. Eventually the name baccarat, Italian for zero, was coined. Today baccarat is played in high limit rooms throughout the world where millions are won and lost each day.

Phase III – Mini-Baccarat

Eventually gaming establishments saw profit potential with Baccarat however they had to make it attractive to the average player. Hence, a new version was born, Mini-Baccarat.The rules for this game are exactly the same as Punto Banco except one house dealer controls he game for up to seven players. Table minimums are as low as $5 or $10. Numerous optional side bets have been added to increase the house edge.

How to Play Baccarat

The objective of baccarat is for the player to come as close to the number 9 as possible. Aces count as one, 2’s – 9’s are face value and 10’s – K’s count as zero.

Regardless of the number of players, the dealer only deals two hands from a six or eight deck shoe. Prior to the deal players must first place one bet on either the bank hand, player hand, or tie. Croupiers pass the shoe so players have the option in turn to deal the cards. In Mini-Baccarat, the shoe remains in place and the dealer controls all the action.

When a hand is totaled, it cannot exceed 9. If the two cards total more than 9, the first digit is dropped. The second digit becomes the total. Ex: 7,8=15. (the 1 is dropped) total = 5.

Baccarat requires no skill to play. All the player needs to do is place one bet before the deal. The dealer examines both hands to determine if a third and final card should be drawn. The determination is made according to a fixed set of game rules. Here they are:

Game Rules for Player Bet

The player position always draws on a 0, 1, and 2,3,4,5, unless the banker has a natural 8 or 9. Player always stands on 6,7,8, and 9. When the play bet has a natural 8 or 9, the game is over.

Game Rules for Banker Bet

The banker position always draws on a 0, 1, and 2 unless the player has a natural 8 or 9. The banker always stands on 7,8, and 9. When a banker has a natural 8 or 9, the game is over.

Strategy

No playing strategy is required. Always bet the bank which has the lowest house edge at 1.06%, even with the 5% commission owed to the house. A player bet has a house edge of 1.24% while the tie bet that pays 8 to 1 has a whopping house edge of 14%!. This bet is not recommended. A number of optional side bets at the mini tables have house edges from 2 to 13%. These are not recommended.

Good luck!