How to Play American Roulette: Complete Guide | LeoVegas

Complete Guide To American Roulette

Summary: American Roulette, also known as Double Zero, is a popular variation of the classic casino game. It features an additional pocket on the wheel, the double zero, increasing the total number of pockets to 38.

This alteration raises the house edge from 2.7% to over 5%. Despite the higher odds for the house, American Roulette remains a favorite among players of all skill levels.

Key features include the absence of call bets, a different number sequence, and unique betting options like the Five Number Bet.

Table of Content:

What is American Roulette?

A roulette wheel is a beautiful spectacle in any casino, virtual or otherwise. A croupier spins the wheel, building anticipation of where a little ball will drop and who shall profit! Now, if you’re choosing a casino games or roulette table to partake in, let’s give you a few insights on one variation in particular - American roulette, aka, Double Zero.

Roulette holds its roots in the search for a perpetual motion machine, traced all the way back to the 1700s. By the 1800s, ol’ Roly Poly was crossing the ocean blue to America and along its way, it picked up an extra pocket. What do we mean by that?

The European roulette wheel is home to 37 pockets, hosting numbers 1 thru 36 plus a zero. The American roulette wheel is adorned with 38 pockets, featuring 1 thru 36, a zero, and as its alternative name suggests, a double zero.

Of course, the additional pocket also added to the house edge, spiking it from 2.7% to over 5%. So you see, both the wheel and the house odds became ‘Amerisized’ on this side of the pond.

Either way, it's a delightful game and one that’s enjoyed by players of all bankrolls and skills, in live casinos, online and brick & mortar ones alike. So, let’s get started and learn how to play American roulette online!


American Roulette Features

We’ve established that the American roulette wheel is one pocket larger than its European counterpart. With the addition of a double zero pocket, the house odds are adjusted, in favour of the house mind you, but the excitement and action is still the same! Let’s deep dive into a few of American roulette’s signature features, shall we?

Additional 00

It’s true, many things in America are bigger! This rule of thumb holds true not only for restaurant portions, but for the american roulette wheels as well! The American roulette wheel has an additional zero - the double zero. With 38 pockets in play rather than the European wheel’s 37, it slightly changes the house edge in the house’s favour.

No Call Bets

To understand a ‘no call bet’ let’s first learn about ‘call bets’. Makes sense, no? A call bet is when a player verbally commits to a bet, rather than placing a chip. So, with no money officially being dropped on the felt, the casino is essentially extending credit. That’s a no-go in American roulette - every player must have enough chips on the table to cover their bets.

Different Number Sequence

Let’s start with our key subject here - the American roulette wheel, home to 38 pockets with numbers 1 to 36 plus two zeros (0 + 00). Visually, the two green 0 pockets sit across from each other on the wheel, similar to how consecutive numbers are also split on each side. We like examples, so let’s make some - 27 and 28 sit directly across from each other, as do 32 and 31, and sequencing runs counter clockwise. Looking at the European roulette wheel, it features only one zero and the numbers run clockwise.

Unique Bets - The Five Number Bet

Want to make a Five Number Bet in European roulette? Well, too bad you can’t! Given that this bet covers 0, 00, 1, 2, and 3 on the felt, it’s impossible to make playing European roulette since only the American wheel has a double zero in play.

Higher House Edge

Let’s get right to the numbers. European roulette holds a house edge of 2.7%, but in American roulette, it spikes to 5.26%. The answer, as with all gambling questions, can be found in math. The European wheel holds 37 pockets and the additional double zero in American roulette adds one more, for a total of 38. Therefore, your chances decrease slightly for each bet.


Many of American roulette’s features may leave you thinking, why would I choose American over European? Well, here comes the Surrender rule to help you along. A surrender gives half your bet back if the ball drops on zero or double zero. So, if you’re pulling this rule into action, the house edge drops down to a European level, in fact it makes it slightly better.

How to play American Roulette?

When getting started in this entertaining casino game is, you’ll first need to place your bet within the ‘betting window’. Don’t worry, it will be announced when it’s open and when it's closed!

Now’s your time for those chips to hit the felt and bets to be made. Using your chips and placing them on the felt grid, you can make small bets, stack’em for larger bets, make straight up single number bets or bet on a collection of numbers with street line bets, columns or a dozen. These bets generally fall into two categories or positions on the betting grid.

Inside Bets - These roulette bets include specific numbers and are bets made within the number grid. Their lower odds bring high payouts, with a straight up (single number) bet awarding 35:1.

Outside Bets - Not a numbers fan? Go with more generic outside bets, which allow you to simply bet on red or black, odd or even, high or low, and even larger collections of numbers. With better odds the payouts are lower but so is your assumed risk! Paydays range from an even 1:1 payout odds to 2:1 paydays.

Once this betting window closes, it’s time to sit back and watch with anticipation for the ball to fall. When it drops into a pocket, anyone with a bet on that particular number wins!

Their payday is paid out according to what type of bet was played - was it a super profitable straight up bet that pays 35:1?

Or was the number part of a Corner Bet, paying 8:1? Oh, the fun only enhances as you get to know more about betting options and the odds for each!

American Roulette Wheel and Table Layout

When talking about American roulette, we always hone in on the double zero but there are a few other nuances to make note of.

Let’s start with the wheel. Americans fancy size, and the wheel is bigger in the sense that it has one extra pocket - the double zero. This brings the total number of pockets up from 37 to 38 (numbers 1-36 + 0 + 00). The main effect of this addition is that it changes the house edge, and not in your favour!

Visually, the numbers are sequentiquenally different, running clockwise and 0 and 00 are opposite each other on the wheel. If we’re talking about the wheel’s placement on the table, you’ll find the American roulette wheel at the far end of the gaming table while the European roulette features it as a centerpiece.

American Roulette Chips

Like many table games, in order to place a bet you’re going to need chips. These are your betting tokens. Now, European roulette tables often run with a set of standard chips with no colour. But, when roulette crossed into America, it also brought to the table, so to speak, American roulette colourful chips with differing values. While the value of each colour can vary, in most cases the line-up follows this standard coding likely familiar to Blackjack players:

  • White or Blue = $1
  • Red = $5, often called ‘nickels’
  • Green = $25, and you can feel free to use the lingo ‘quarters’ for them.
  • Black = $100
  • Purple chips are $500, also known as ‘Barneys’.

American Roulette Bets and Payouts

Straight Up

Simple and straightforward, this is the most basic bet in roulette. A straight up bet is placed directly on a single number and yields the biggest return, paying 35:1. To bet, simply drop a chip in a numbered square on the green felt. Of course, you can make multiple straight up bets per spin, so it’s a handy one to use if you’ve got a few lucky numbers up your sleeve.


Aptly named, a split bet is when a bet is split between two adjacent numbers. To bet, place your chip on the line separating the two, indicating you’ve got both covered. If one of the two hits, you’ll enjoy a 17:1 payday. Not bad at all!


If you consider the betting grid as a series of upward rows, it will help you visualize this option. A street is one of these rows, an upward set of three numbers. To make a street bet, place a chip on the outer line of the grid, on the lowest number of your trio. Examples help, so here we go - a chip on the outer bottom line of number 1 would cover you if 1, 2 or 3 hits. Street bets pay 11:1.


Bingo players may consider this a wee house or a postage stamp, but it’s OK if you're new to both! A corner bet in roulette simply covers four adjoining numbers. To bet, place a chip where the four intersect and you’ll be set to collect 8:1 should one of the four hit. Getting lingo entitled? Quad or Square bet works for this too.

Six Line

You guessed it, this bet is going to cover six numbers. But how? Place your chip at the intersection of two adjacent rows you’d like to cover, on the outer line of the grid. Given we’re playing American roulette, house odds on this one are 5.26% since you’ve got those two zero pockets in play and features a payday of 5:1.


Since a dozen is 12, we can deduce that a dozen bet covers 12 numbers. But as this is betting and not baking, note that each dozen is sequential with three to choose from: 1-12, 13-24, and 25-36. Placing a bet on the felt is pretty self-explanatory as it’s all laid out for you with betting squares indicating each set on the outside of the grid, hence it being an outside bet. To boot, it pays a delightful 2:1.


Instead of looking at the grid as a series of rows, let’s cut it crosswise into columns. There are three columns in total, each covering a set of 12 numbers. Placing a bet for a column is also self explanatory, as a box for your chip is already set up and the end of each series just outside the main grid. Similar to a dozen bets of 12 numbers, this outside line bet is also pays 2:1.

Red or Black

Each of the 36 numbers on the American roulette wheel is either red or black. So this bet simply pays attention to the colour of the pocket, with a complete disregard for any associated number! It’s an even payday, 1:1, but keep in mind you’ve got green 0s in play that gives the house an edge, so it’s not quite a 50/50 shot (it hovers at 47.4% to be exact!).

Odd or Even

Consider the wheel colourblind here, as you’re merely betting on a number coming up even or odd. Similar to a red/black bet, it’s a 1:1 payday. However, since you’re playing with an American wheel, you’ve got two zeros tampering with your odds!

Even Chances

Fancy yourself an even steven kind of bettor? Even bets deliver even money. Within the 1:1 payday category are odd/even, red/black, or high/low bets. This would seemingly be a 50/50 bet, but you have a pesky zero and double zero in play in American roulette, so it's not quite the coin flip it seems.

Five Number Bet

Surprise, surprise, this bet covers a group of five numbers on the grid, specifically 0, 00, 1, 2, and 3. Landing any of these pays 6:1. But we’ll let you in a little secret - it’s also known as the worst bet in roulette!

Wheel bets

‘Following the wheel’ or ‘betting against the wheel’ are betting trends, versus a single bet on a single spin. For example, players may feel a trend is in the works, maybe it’s a ‘red storm’ when a flurry of red numbers hit or the numbers are favouring one section of the grid. While this takes a little time to recognize, it also requires adjustment to your bets on each spin.

How to win at American Roulette

As lady luck is large and in charge at roulette tables, there’s no real winning strategy, but there are ‘systems’ you can follow that may sway the roulette odds a little in your favour by working with your trusted pal ‘math’. These systems are often a series of bets, rather than one-spin tips.

The Martingale tops the list both in popularity and simplicity. Here’s how it works. Every time you lose, double your bet on the next spin. The idea here is that when it comes time to make winning bets, you’ll recoup your losses. And once you do, you start back with your original bet and repeat when necessary!

Next up, is both a mouthful and math-full - the Fibonacci Sequence. Here’s how this highly numerical system works. When a betting round is lost, bets are increased by the last two numbers in the system. When a betting round is won, bets are decreased by two places. It’s a tad convoluted for beginners, but worth investigation if you’re a frequent spinner.

We can’t stress enough that luck and chance are also at play. So, be responsible and start small if you’re a newbie! Outside bets and free games are a great starting point to venture into this highly engaging game!

Tips for American Roulette

If you fancy yourself a leisurely gambler, or a newbie to the wheel, we recommend starting out slow - perhaps with the friendlier outside bets. These are the bets made on the outer edges of the felt and consist of easy choices like red or black, even or odd and even high or low. But as always there’s a trade off - while the odds of winning increase, the paydays are smaller. Either way, they provide a great opportunity to introduce yourself to the game, enjoy the entertainment and get a feel for the felt! As you progress in your game play, move inward for inside bets.

If you find yourself sticking to this engaging game with longer sessions, then one of the online roulette or systems like the Martingale may be your best bet to swing those odds in your favour! Just always remember, roulette is a game of chance and luck!

American Roulette FAQ

What is a house edge in American roulette?

First things first, let’s back up this bus and discuss what a ‘house edge’ in general is! House edge is a term that uses math to determine a game’s value to the provider. For example, on a game with a house edge of 5%, if you played the game long enough you could expect, on average, to lose $5 for every $100 gambled. In American roulette, the house edge is 5.3%.

Can I play American roulette for free?

Indeed! Dip into any of our LeoVegas American roulette options and try their demo mode. Before you’ll even need an account or a first deposit, demo modes provide an opportunity to test out a particular table, get a handle on the action flow, and decide if it’s a game for you. And while you can’t technically ‘test’ a live game, you can certainly jump into a LeoVegas live American roulette game and observe. In our online Casino Canada, you’ll find demo mode on Microgaming’s American Roulette and engaging roulette game.

Is American roulette better than European roulette?

Gambling is all about odds, so let’s answer that way. Since the American wheel features two zero pockets, one 0 and a 00, the odds favour the house edging in at 5.3% to be exact. With the European wheel only featuring one zero pocket, the house advantage slides to 2.7%.

What is the difference between French and American roulette?

Zero. Not zero in the sense that there’s no difference, but the difference is the ZEROS! While the French roulette wheel houses 37 pockets (numbers 1 thru 36 + a zero), the American wheel ups the zero factor by one, for a total of 38 pockets (numbers 1 thru 36 + zero + double zero).

What is the best strategy for American roulette?

With roulette, frequent players like to talk about winning systems or roulette strategies. Three ones that pop to the top are the Martingale System, the D’Alembert and the Fibonacci.

Of these, hands down the most popular and simplest is the Martingale system.

Quite simply, you would increase your bet after losing bets to recover those losses when you eventually win.

And once you do win, restart the system! For American roulette players in particular, many simply stick to outside bets which may not bring fat paydays, but they’ll offer more frequent wins!

No matter how you plan your attack on a table, the game is wildly entertaining and engaging as you await each ball drop with bated breath. Enjoy the anticipation!

What are the rules of American roulette?

Rules of American roulette are quite simple and similar to the European version. A player can wager on a single number, a row, or adjacent numbers. Among other things, a player can also play colours or odd or even numbers. The 0 and 00 are included in a single number wager's 35 to 1 payout. Wagers that pay 1 for one or even money on red or black, odd or even, or both.

What number hits the most in American roulette?

There is no specific number that hits more than others. Each roulette number has the exact same chance of winning.

What is the order of American roulette numbers?

The sequence on the American roulette wheel is usually as follows: 0, 28, 9, 26, 30, 11, 7, 20, 32, 17, 5, 22, 34, 15, 3, 24, 36, 13, 1, 00, 27, 10, 25, 29, 12, 8, 19, 31, 18, 6, 21, 33, 16, 4, 23, 35, 14, 2

Who invented American roulette?

Roulette arrived in the United States in the 1800s after travelling over the sea. During that time, New Orleans was the nation's centre for gambling. Because of its low house edge and lack of financial attractiveness, the casino owners there did not like French roulette.

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