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Playing Roulette in Las Vegas

The whirl of the ball, the spin of the wheel, and the mountains of chips keep gamblers coming back for more each day.

Roulette may have been your grandmother’s favorite game to play, but that shouldn’t keep you from giving the tables a try when you hit Las Vegas.

It might not be as popular as blackjack, but a whole new generation has found that roulette is both exciting and addicting.

We have to say that there’s a hypnotic allure to the game.

When you see that ivory ball spinning around the whirling wheel filled with numbers, you’ll want to take a gamble, too!

It’s really a fun game.

Don’t believe us?

Did you know that there are 380 roulette wheels in Las Vegas?
That’s right, and every one of them is humming hot and heavy by late evening as the sun sets
and the casinos fill up with players!

If you’ve never looked at the roulette games in Sin City, there are two types of wheels. The game you are likely to find is the one with a zero and double zero. All roulette games have a big, sturdy wheel that spins around on a rotor in a quiet, effortless way.

Inside the wheel are small pockets for the ball to fall into as it loses inertia. The pockets are numbered from 1 to 36, plus 0 and 00.

If you wager on a single number and the ball falls into your chosen pocket, you are paid 35 to 1. That gives the house an edge of about 5.26%. There are some wheels with just a single 0 in Las Vegas. The payoff is the same on those games, so with one less pocket to fall in, the house odds drop to just 2.70%.

That drop in the house edge makes the single-zero wheels popular, but the casinos are kind chintzy with them. There aren’t that many around town, and most are hiding in the high-limit rooms of the ritzier casinos like Bellagio, Wynn, and Mirage.

That means you’ll have to bet higher, often $25 per spin. That’s a little rich for most players.

The games Downtown are all double zero, and have lower limits. You can also find reasonable limits at clubs along The Strip like Bally’s, Flamingo, Paris, Luxor, and Excalibur. Don’t worry; even those clubs are cool.

You can expect those casinos to have $1 or $2 per chip games going at most times.

What does that mean? Let us elaborate.

How to Bet at Roulette

Roulette offers several types of wagers. The layout where you place your bets has every number listed. The double zero games have 0 and 00 at the top of 36 squares from 1 to 36. This area is for betting the “inside.”

You can use standard casino chips, but most players buy in for colored chips. That’s where the table limit comes in.

Suppose the limit is $5 outside or three chips. In this instance, the minimum value for a colored chip is likely to be $2. You give the dealer a hundred bucks, and they slide you 50 chips, all one color. Your color. No one else will get that color until you cash out. Aren’t you special?

Of course you are. Now that you have chips, you can start making bets. And they expect you to place at least three of those chips on the inside numbers every spin. Put your chips over a single number (straight up), and you can win 35 to 1.

Don’t worry if someone bets on top of your chips. You’ve got your own color!

Don’t want to bet just one number? Make more bets. Want to split your bets? Go ahead.

In roulette, you can place your chip between two numbers, and half that chip’s value is on each of the two numbers. You’ll get 17 to 1 for a “split” if one of them hits, and your wager will stay up.

Place a chip between a number on the edge of a “street” of three numbers, and you’ll have one-third of your wager on each. Or, you can bet between the 0, 00, and 2. Your payoff will be 11 to 1.

Place your bet at the intersection of four numbers, and, that’s right, you covered them each with a quarter of your bet. Payoffs on that wager are 8 to 1. Bet on six numbers, and your payoff is five to one.

There is one wager covering five numbers. It’s called the basket, including 0, 00, 1, 2, and 3, and pays 6 to 1.

Unfortunately, while all the other wagers at double zero have a 5.26% house edge, or 5.3 cents per wager, the basket is the odd man out. Wagers there will cost closer to 7.9 cents per dollar. Betting there may make you a basket case.

Outside Wagers at Roulette

The front of the roulette layout has many places to bet your chips. This area is called the “outside.” Sometimes people try betting on Red or Black after a streak of five or six of one color comes up. Sometimes they win, sometimes not.

Always, the house has an edge of 5.26%. Keep that in mind as you while away the hours playing roulette.

Wagers on Red/Black, Odd/Even, and High (1-18)/Low (19-36) pay even money, but don’t be fooled. Any wager on the outside loses when 0 or 00 spins. That’s a bummer.

Wagers placed on a dozen numbers (each of three sections 1-12, 13-24, 25-36) or the columns pay 2 to 1. You can bet any of these places with color chips. If you are going to bet the outside exclusively, you don’t need a color. Suit yourself.

La Partage

There are a few clubs in Vegas that offer European rules at roulette. That means the wheel has a single zero, and any wagers on the outside are subject to La Partage, or Prison.

Players get a great deal at these games,
because they only lose half their money on 0 when wagering on the outside.

Here’s the deal: if you have an outside wager and look up to see the ball landing in 0, you get a reprieve. The dealer will take half you wager and let you keep the other half, or your wager will be in prison until the next spin. If that’s the case, you get a second chance to win your bet. Yeah!

This means the house edge is a ridiculously low 1.35%. Enjoy it if you can; that’s a great deal for any casino game.

Where to Play Roulette in Las Vegas

You’ll want to play roulette where the limit fits your bankroll. Like most games in Vegas, the most expensive roulette minimum limits are at Bellagio, Wynn, Mirage, Mandalay Bay, Venetian, and Caesars Palace.

And, as we said earlier, that’s likely where you’ll find the single-zero wheels.

That doesn’t mean you can’t find a European wheel at MGM Grand, Aria, or the Rio; you’ll just have to keep your eyes peeled. You can expect those games to be $2 chip minimum or even $5 chip minimum, but don’t be discouraged. Roulette doesn’t have to be expensive.

Other clubs on The Strip, like New York-New York, Circus-Circus, Tropicana, and even Monte Carlo and Hard Rock often have roulette for $1 per chip minimum. Sometimes there are even lower limits in outlying casinos like Boulder Club, The Orleans, and Texas Station.

Downtown clubs like Fremont, Binion’s, Golden Gate, and California Club
have been known to have 50 cent chip limits.

No way?! The El Cortez sometimes still offers 25-cent roulette. That’s a lot of bang for little bucks.

If you are giving a roulette system like Labouchere or d’Alembert a try, you’ll want to get your feet wet in a lower-limit game. It’s the best place to learn.

As for roulette etiquette, be polite, and don’t make any wagers until the dealer gets their winning bets paid. After the dealer spins the ball, you’ll be on short time, so get your final wagers out.

Once the dealer waves their arm, you can’t make any more bets. Get ‘em in to win.