Roulette is primarily a European game with a huge following on the Continent and in Great Britain. For centuries it has been the gambling game at places like Monte Carlo and at other elegant casinos. In the United States, though played in practically every legitimate gambling house of major size, its popularity has been nil.
This lack of interest in American roulette can easily be explained. The major reason is the American roulette wheel, which has, in addition to the thirty-six standard numbers (1-36) not one zero, as on the European wheel, but two.
Two zeros raise the house advantage to 5.26 percent on practically all bets but one, and that other bet, a five-number wager, gives the house better than a 7 percent edge over the player.
There may be other reasons for the unpopularity of the game in America. Americans are fascinated by two things-speed and numbers-and they get these in two very American games, craps and blackjack.
Certainly the game of craps as played in a casino is the fastest of all gambling games and the one in which the most money can be won in the shortest period of time.
And while there may be numbers all over the roulette layout, they are, in essence, dead numbers, whereas in blackjack every card number is crucial, ratios and point counts abound, and, above all, it is a game in which at times the player has an advantage over the casino.
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