Roulette has long been a game that has a certain amount of mystique to it. Players see it as a game for the upper echelons of society. This is because whenever it is shown in TV or movies, it tends to be in a high-class casino where high-rolling players are playing for high stakes. While it is the case that high rollers love to play roulette, it is not just a game for high-rolling players. Anyone can play roulette – it is simple, easy to understand and great fun.
Zero itself is actually an abstract idea that has not been around for as long as other numbers. Originally, it was even excluded from being a number due to it representing nothing. However, things change and zero is an important aspect of modern life – especially in the development of computers!
There are a range of different features included in a roulette wheel, but the one that is spoken about the least is the zero. There are different variations of the zero in different versions of roulette, but in general it does the same thing. The zero, however, is what makes roulette such an interesting game of chance, because without the zero in roulette, there would be no risk.
To put it simply, the green zero provides roulette with an element of risk. Because in general, there is no fun in betting on a sure thing, roulette adds a slight house edge by including the zero. This is what makes roulette such a fun game to play. There is an excellent chance of winning when you place your bets, but the slight chance of losing is what creates the tension and excitement when playing.
The green zero is actually just the same as any other number of the wheel, in terms of placing a wager on a single number, but it is the different colour that stands it apart from the other numbers. Of course, there is also the difference between the numbers when it comes to placing wagers on lines, colours and rows. The zero is excluded from the vast majority of roulette wagers.
The green zero in American roulette is what stands it apart from European roulette. Because there is both a green zero and a green double zero, both standing opposite each other on the roulette wheel, there are more ways to place a wager on the green zero in American roulette. There is the ability to place a wager on just the single green zero, a wager on the double green zero, and the ability to place a wager on both green zeros. This offers players slightly more range in terms of betting on zero when playing American roulette compared to European roulette.
The odds for betting on one of the green zero choices on their own pays out at 35/1, with the stake returned as well. This means that if you place a $50 wager, you will receive $1,750 as profit and your $50 stake will be given back. An American roulette table has a house edge of 5.26%.
The green zero in European roulette is slightly different from American roulette. In this game, there is just the one green zero. This means that the number of ways to place a wager on the green zero is reduced. However, there is a benefit to placing a wager on a European roulette table. In this case, there are fewer numbers on a European roulette wheel. This means that it increases your chances of placing a winning bet. Because there are fewer overall numbers, players tend to gravitate towards the European roulette table over the American one.
The main reason behind this can be simply explained with mathematics. The odds paid out on a single number at both roulette tables is 35/1. A single number includes the green zero, remember. However, the odds of landing a single number are 36/1 at a European roulette wheel and 37/1 at an American roulette wheel. This means that there is a slightly bigger chance of landing the single number you have chosen when playing European roulette. If you enjoy playing games that offer a better chance of winning, then European roulette is the game for you. However, if you prefer a greater risk factor to increase the excitement, then American roulette could be your game of choice.
Where the green zero really comes into play is if the La Partage or En Prison rules are in effect. Despite the French-sounding names, these are not card games in the spirit of baccarat. They are rules that some roulette wheels have in place. Usually used on European roulette wheels, this rule specifically applies to the green zero. Both of these rules reduce the house edge by up to half, so choosing a roulette wheel with these rules in effect is always advantageous. What are they exactly though?
The La Partage rule is very simple. If you place an even-money wager – for example, betting on red – and the ball lands on the green zero, instead of losing your stake completely, you will get half of your stake back. This allows for better bankroll management because obviously on some losing bets, instead of losing your whole stake, you will get half back.
The En Prison rule is very similar. It comes into play when an even-money wager is placed. If the ball lands on the green zero, then your stake is imprisoned. The wheel will then be spun again, and if your wager wins, then you will receive your stake back.
The La Partage rule is slightly more favourable to the player, but statistically there is very little between the two rules. What is important to remember is that they both offer more benefit to the player than they do to the casino. So, if they are in play, it is always an advantage to you.
If you are playing for big wins, then betting on the green zero will actually offer the biggest pay-out on the wheel, along with any other single-number wager. However, it also offers the smallest chance of winning. If you are playing at a European roulette wheel, then a single number has a 2.7% chance of coming in. If you are playing at an American roulette wheel, then a single number has a 2.6% chance of coming in. This means that the green zero has the worst chance of coming in out of any other wager.
If you want to undertake a sensible wagering strategy, then betting on the green zero would not be part of that strategy. However, if you just want to play to have fun and enjoy the chance of winning big at the roulette wheel, then betting on the green zero will give you the best opportunity for that.
During the 1960s, the UK government took a hard line on roulette. The House of Lords passed a bill in 1967 that made it illegal for a roulette wheel to have a green zero. This is because of the disparity between the win on offer for a single number and the actual chances of winning created by the house edge. The House of Lords felt that the casinos should not have that house edge in place. This meant that the roulette wheel would have a house edge of 0%, so statistically the casino could only hope to break even.
Of course, this did not take into account the costs to run the casino. Croupiers did not work for free. Electricity was not free. While the customers were still given free drinks, they were not free to the casino. It made roulette a game that no one really wanted anything to do with.
Of course, this all changed in 1968 when the aptly named 1968 Gaming Act was introduced. It came in and was instantly devoted to removing the less scrupulous people from running casinos. It also stipulated that as long as the casino was running fairly, the house edge was fine in order to cover costs and make a small profit. This led to the return of the green zero on roulette wheels in the UK.
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Words: Sean McNulty
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