Despite its popularity in Europe, roulette does not have much of a fan club in the United States. That is partly due to the calm and slow nature of the game. Americans want action and speed when they gamble, and roulette gives them neither of the two. Another reason is a subtle but crucial change in the US version. In Europe, roulette wheels typically have 36 numbered slots and one zero slot. On most American versions made one zero and double zero wheels are played. That change alone nearly doubles the house edge to 5.26 percent which obviously decreased the player's chance of winning against the game, as compared to 2.7 percent on single-zero wheels.
Roulette is a very simple game to play. The wheel is mounted horizontally and a matching table layout serves as the betting area for players. The numbers are colored red or black, except the zero and double zero, which are colored green. Players place their chips on the layout, the wheel is spun and a little ball is launched. Betting is halted when the ball comes to rest in a slot, then winners are paid off according to the winning number indicated by the ball. To minimize confusion about who made which bet, each player receives specially colored 'wheel' chips when they buy in. These chips can only be used at the roulette table.
The easiest wager is a straight-up bet, where the player drops a chip on a single number (17 is the most popular, supposedly due to its central location and the fact that James Bond bets it in the movies). If the number is the winner, it is paid off at 35 to 1. You can also make bets on groups of numbers. For example, on lines separating numbers, on rows of numbers or in special areas denoting odd or even, red or black and so on. In this way, a single bet covers anywhere from two to 18 numbers. Needless to say, the more numbers the wager covers, the lower the payoff. For instance, betting odd or even pays even money.
The variety of wagers makes roulette a very exciting and interesting game to play, especially if you like the languid or slow pace. But bear in mind, that the odds are tough to beat. Your best bet is to find a casino with roulettes having a single-zero wheel but these wheels may come and go on occasion.