Indeed, it not entirely a coincidence that roulette was invented at about the same time as the guillotine.
Both machines reflect an eighteenth-century sensibility. They embody the Newtonian ideals of order and mechanical balance applied to the messy business of real-world results.
Of course, the guillotine is an awful thing, and roulette is (hopefully) a source of pleasure. Nevertheless, when playing roulette it pays to remember the basic lesson of the French Revolution. Don’t get carried away and lose your head.
An American roulette wheel has thirty-eight slots numbered one through thirty-six, zero and double-zero. The wheel rotates counterclockwise. A dealer spins a marble-like ball clockwise around the wheel’s perimeter. When the ball loses speed it falls into one of the numbered slots, and the various attributes of the number determine winners and losers.
The casino’s entire edge in roulette is based on two green slots (zero and double-zero). Without those slots the game is a no-edge contest. With the extra slots, the house has a 5.26 percent advantage.
There is no system, no method, no pattern for playing roulette that will prevent the game from extracting a 5.26 percent house edge on a double-zero wheel (7.89 percent on the five-number bet). There are only two exceptions to this mathematic tenet, bias and rule changes (such as playing on a single-zero wheel).
Playing roulette on a single-zero wheel lowers the house edge to 2.7 percent.
Other tactics for lowering the house edge include taking advantage of “surrender” on an American wheel (lowers the house edge to 2.63 percent) or “en prison” on a European wheel (lowers the house edge to 1.35 percent).
When playing roulette it pays to remember the basic lesson of the French revolution. Don’t get carried away and lose your head.
Check out the other Basil Nestor's ReadyBetGo guide on our site or read his The Unofficial Guide to Casino Gambling, available at bookstores and on the web.
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