As the Wheel Turns

Dear Mark,
Occasionally you will describe a specific bet on the roulette table and its house advantage. How about a guide for us beginners on the names of wagers offered, payoffs, and their casino advantage? Janice B.

The easiest part of your question, Janice, is what the house edge is in roulette. With the exception of the Five-number bet, all wagers on an American Wheel (this is the wheel that offers both 0, 00), give the casino an advantage of 5.26%. The European roulette wheel, with its single 0, has a house edge of only 2.70%. So, which wheel do you think this columnist would recommend you to play on? Undoubtedly, you guessed right. The European roulette with its 2.7% house advantage.

Before doing the nitty-gritty on American wheel bets betting for the newbies, here's a language bit on some casino jargon.

"Inside" bets are those involving any number from 1-36, 0 or 00, or a combination of any of these numbers. "Outside" bets are outside the 1-36, 0, 00 real estate and include "Dozen" bets, "Column" bets and "Even-money" wagers.

Gambling thought of the week: "North Vegas is where you go if you're a hooker turning forty and the syndicate men on the strip decide you're no longer much good for business out there with the high rollers." - Hunter S. Thompson