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HOME > > Reduce the House Edge at Roulette

Reduce the House Edge at Roulette

19 March 2023

By John Grochowski

QUESTION: You've written that six-deck blackjack games can be better than one-deck games if there are better rules on the six-deck game.

I was wondering if the same might be true in roulette. I know the house edge is higher with two zeroes, but are there circumstances when it's better to play double-zero than single-zero roulette?

ANSWER: A rule such as Atlantic City's half back rule would need to be in effect on a double-zero wheel but not on a single-zero wheel for the two-zero version to have a lower house edge.

Even then, the house edge would be lower only on bets with even-money payoffs: odd or even, red or black; or 1-18 or 19-36.

With the half back rule, the house takes only half your money if the ball lands on one of the zeroes. Imagine you've wagered $10 on black. You lose $10 if the ball lands on a red numbers, but only $5 if the ball lands on 0 or 00.

That cuts the house edge on from 5.26 percent to 2.63 percent on double-zero wheels. If in effect on a single-zero wheel, it trims the edge from 2.7 to 1.35 percent.

So if a casino has the half-back rule with two zeroes but not with one, the house edge on even-money payoff wagers is 2.63 percent on the double-zero wheel and a slightly higher 2.7 percent on single-zero wheels.

The half-back rule does not affect the edge on other bets. Columns, dozens, single numbers, two-number splits and other wagers retain a 5.26 percent edge with 0 and 00, or 2.7 percent with just one 0. One bet, the five-number basket on 0, 00, 1, 2 and 3, carries a hefty 7.89 percent edge. There is no such wager on a single-zero wheel.

QUESTION: My wife and I were on a casino vacation and found some Rock, Paper, Scissors slot machines. They were busy when we passed by so we never did play, but we watched for a little while before moving on.

It looked like the Rock, Paper, Scissors part wasn't even a bonus event. It was going all the time. We didn't see any reels spinning. Did they really make that the whole game?

ANSWER: Yes, they did. Rock, Paper, Scissors Instant Win debuted at the Circa casino in Las Vegas late in 2022. It's part of an Activ-Play series of games from Aruze Gaming that emphasizes player interaction. You are participate in play rather than watching reels spin for most of the game.
Others in the series so far are Go Go Claw Cash Grab and Go Go Claw Gold Bar. Both are based on arcade claw games. You position a virtual claw on screen to grab either gold bars or spheres holding credit awards.

In Rock, Paper, Scissors, you choose a bet size and push play to start an animated hand rapidly fluttering among rock, paper and scissors symbols. Then you choose one of three buttons featuring white-gloved hands, one in a fist to denote rock, one flat-palmed to show paper and one with two fingers in a "V" sign to indicate scissors.

Once you've made your choice, a random number generator tells the animated hand to stop on one of the signs. Bets are decided by rules of the age-old game: rock breaks scissors, paper covers rock, scissors cut paper. If you tie, the game keeps your bet but increases the potential prizes for the next play.

If you've chosen the winning sign, a light flashes around a segmented wheel. When the light stops, it indicates how much you win.

This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at fscobe@optonline.net.

John Grochowski
John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field. Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago.

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