Turning the Tables – Section I: Wheel of the People

As the oldest version of roulette and the form most English speakers are familiar with, we’ll want to cover Double-Zero (or “American Roulette”) first. This version includes 36 “inside numbers” (i.e., the black and red numbers from one to 36) and two green pockets on opposite sides of the wheelhead that represent the house numbers, zero and double zero.

Its “number sequence” (or the order in which the numbers appear on the wheelhead) rarely varies from casino to casino and is standard for all Double-Zero wheels outside the U.S.: 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 and 2.

The original intention of the Double-Zero wheel’s inventors was that no “inside bets” (or bets placed on the inside portion of a layout) would result in an uninterrupted series of wagered numbers on the wheelhead. Because of this, the numbers on an American Roulette wheel do not follow each other in numerical order. Yet the designers were by no means mathematical geniuses, and as a result, you can cover two whole quadrants on the wheel by making only three “double-street” bets (See: American Roulette bets chart below).

The following pictures depict scaled representations of an American Roulette table and the wheelhead itself. Take a moment to look them over and see if you can pick out the three double-street bets mentioned above:

As you can see, there are three inside bets on an American Roulette layout that, if placed at the same time, cover two uninterrupted segments of eight numbers on the wheelhead. These three bets are the special double-street on the 0, 00, 1, 2 and 3; the double-street covering 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12; and the double-street covering 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30. This type of betting is called contiguous betting, and we will explain it in fuller detail in “Section VI: Breaking the Wheel.” Suffice it to say, however, American wheels do have their week points, and for some systems players, that 5.26 house advantage can work in their favor.


As for the bets on an American Roulette layout, there are essentially 10 types with several propositions for each. In general, all American Roulette bets have a 5.26 percent house vig, except the special double-street or “Basket,” which gives the house a whopping 7.9-percent edge. For this reason, it is generally called the “Sucker Bet.” (But as we’ll see, it can have its uses).