Why I Love American Roulette

I bet you won’t agree with me when I say this – I love American roulette.

When I go on a casino trip, I head immediately for double-zero roulette games.

I’ve long been a defender of this casino classic.

After all, I’m an American.

So what is it about double-zero roulette that gets me excited?

First – an explanation of the main difference between American and European game rules.

American vs. European Roulette
The most important difference between American and European rules roulette is the number of spaces in the wheel where the ball might land. American wheels have 38 slots (1-36 plus one green zero and one green double-zero space) and European wheels have 37 slots (1-36 plus one green zero space).

The impact this extra space has on the American game’s odds is pretty significant. All wagers on American roulette games have a 5.26% house edge – while all wagers on single-zero games have a 2.7% house edge. The house edge on the American game is almost double that for single-zero or European tables.

But wait – I haven’t told you the whole story yet. True European roulette games include a special rule that reduces the house’s edge even more in certain game situations. At Euro tables, if the ball lands in the green zero space, bettors get half their wager back. With that rule in place, all even-money bets have a house edge of just 1.3%. Those are excellent odds by anyone’s definition, right?

So why do I love American roulette so much?

It’s Accessible
Only seven Las Vegas casinos host a single-zero roulette game. The Palazzo and the Venetian are the only two that host true American rules roulette – the other five have one European rules table each.

If you don’t do your gambling in Las Vegas, rest assured that your Euro game options are limited, too. The few Atlantic City casinos still in business aren’t eager to hand out money with low-odds games taking up floor space – I don’t know a single AC casino offering single-zero tables outside of a VIP room. You won’t find any single-zero tables in any property in Mississippi or Louisiana that’s run by one of the major operators like Harrah’s. Basically, if you’re in America, American rules games are by far the most common and the most budget-friendly. You may not even have the option of playing single-zero games, especially if you aren’t a high roller.

It’s Familiar
Because I’ve lived my entire life in the United States, I’ve only ever really known or played the single-zero game. I remember getting a casino play-set when I was a kid (with playing cards, a plastic roulette wheel, a ball bearing, some poker chips, and a set of dice), and sure enough, that game’s wheel was set up in imitation of good old USA rules.

I admit – the rules of European roulette are a lot better for the player. The “en prison” rule (the one that will pay you back half your even-money wager on a zero result) is so popular that a few casinos in America adapted it for use on double-zero wheels. Unfortunately, that game never caught on, probably because it cut the house’s edge from 5.26% to 2.63%. I also appreciate that the stupid “five numbers” bet isn’t available on single zero tables – I think that’s a terrible move by the casino to cheat ignorant people out of their money, and I wish it wasn’t available in American games.

But it all comes down to familiarity, for me. When I play the game, I expect a wheel with two green zero spaces. I don’t expect to get half my wager back thanks to “imprisonment rules.” I grew up risking way more of money than you can risk on European tables, and it’s just not familiar to me.

It’s Affordable
If single-zero roulette offers way better odds, why shouldn’t I just stick to those seven casinos when I visit Vegas? Because the vast majority of those single-zero games are in the VIP rooms, with $100 bet minimums. The most affordable single-zero games in town are at the Mirage, and the MGM Grand, where you can play on a single-zero table for a $25 minimum bet.

Most of the American-style roulette games in Las Vegas allow me to bet $5 or $10 per spin. Basically, I can’t afford to play singe-zero roulette. I’m used to seeing about one outcome per minute at a full Las Vegas table – if I wanted to step up to the VIP games, I’d be betting my mortgage four times over each hour. That’s not the kind of action that I (or my wife) can live with. Heck, it’s expensive enough at $600 an hour.

Atlantic City casinos hosted single-zero games years before Las Vegas did – at a time when Atlantic City gambling houses were playgrounds for the well-to-do. In America, European-anything is code for elite and uppity, and that seems to be the case with this European import. Though I consider myself an intellectual, someone able to overcome the trappings of his cultural heritage, I still can’t help but see the double-zero game as comfortable and familiar.

Conclusion
How little do casinos want Americans to play on single-zero wheels? It’s common for online casinos to restrict bets on Euro roulette from counting towards bonus requirements or loyalty points. The tables are practically gone from US casino floors. When you can find them, they’re restricted by high betting minimums or by requiring special permission to enter the VIP room where the games are kept. For all those reasons, I much prefer to play American-rules roulette games. I’m hoping that, after reading this, a few of you will feel the same way, and give the game a second chance.

Gambling Games that Are Really Worth Trying

New gambling games are introduced on an almost daily basis in casinos around the world.

Most of these new games are slot machines, but video poker variations and other types of games are being developed also.

Here’s a quick overview of some of the newest games you should try the next time you have a chance.

Game Star Video Poker from IGT
The Game Star is a video poker machine from IGT that has 7 new games in one cabinet. You choose which game you want to play when you sit down and single hand and multi hand options are available.

Here’s a list of the seven video poker games you can play:

Stud Choice Poker
Dual Action Poker
Flush Fever Poker
Extreme X Poker
Lucky Quads Wheel poker
Look Ahead Poker
Super Look Ahead Poker
In Stud Choice Poker you get to pick from two hands and then play five, six, or seven card stud. The 5 card stud pay table is better than the 6 card, etc. When the game starts you pick between two different two card hands, and then pick the pay table you want to use. Then the rest of the cards are dealt and the hand is completed.

When you play Dual Action Poker you play a single hand of poker and can win on two different pay tables. Your best hands will be paid from both pay tables.

Flush Fever Poker has a feature where any hand resulting in four to a flush automatically redraws for an extra chance to hit. If you land four to a flush in the bonus game the hand redraws until you hit a flush for a guaranteed win.

Any time you hit a full house or better while playing Extreme X Poker you unlock the fever games and a multiplier.

Lucky Quads Poker awards a special spin of the wheel for any four of a kind or five of a kind hand.

Look Ahead Poker is a neat concept that I’m surprised took this long to find its way into a video poker game. When you bet the maximum coins you can see the next card to be dealt. This adds an interesting strategy decision to the game.

Super Look Ahead plays the same as Look Ahead Poker except you can burn the next card in the deck if you don’t like it.

Peek & Play Poker from IGT
The Peek & Play video poker game from IGT is designed to give players a greater feeling of being in control and being able to alter the outcome of the game through strategy.

While playing Peek & Play you can pay a fee, called a buy a pay feature, to peek at the next card in the deck.

The game is loosely based on the popular Jacks or Better game with the minimum paying hands being jacks or better and two pair, each paying 5 coins for a 5 coin wager. The top payout is 4,000 coins for a royal flush.

New Bally Slot Machines
Bally is one of the biggest slot machine manufacturers in the world and they keep putting out great new games. Here’s a list of some of their new slots games with a little bit of information about each.

I’m not a big slots player but I like to see the new games and designs that slots companies come up with. They need to keep designing bigger and better games to keep players interested and coming back for more.

Betty Boop’s 5th Avenue – A 5 reel 30 pay line slot machine using the popular Cash Wheel Bonus system. The game has a shopping theme and has three different jackpot possibilities.

Cash Wheel Black and White – Cash Wheel Black and White has 5 reels and 25 pay lines. This slot machine has a bonus game where you can win up to three free spins on the bonus wheel and a free games feature that gives you 12 free spins.

Dragon Spin – This machine has five reels and 30 pay lines along with five progressive jackpots and three different free game special features.

NASCAR – Cashing in on the popularity of the racing league, NASCAR features the U-Spin wheel, three bonus features, a choice of the best drivers on the circuit, five reels, and 30 pay lines.

Blazing 777 Triple X – Blazing 7’s is a throwback to the simple times in the slot machine industry. With only three pay lines and three reels this is my kind of machine. But instead of just being a plain Jane machine, it has a progressive jackpot and random multipliers of up to 5 times.

Diamonds of Dublin – The Diamonds of Dublin slot machine has three reels and a fancy green theme with shamrocks and diamonds everywhere. It has a set jackpot and the shamrock acts as a wild symbol.

Garden of Amazon – With 25 pay lines and five reels, the Garden of Amazon slot machine may sound like lots of other games but it features a free spins bonus game that can be retriggered, three different jackpots, and a 20 times multiplier bonus.

Quick Hit Wild Blue Free Games Fever – The Quick Hit Wild Blue slots game has a ton of special features. Players can unlock 10 free spins that can include two or three times multipliers and locking wild symbols. The game also has five different jackpot levels and scatter symbols.

Dollar Streak – Dollar Streak slots has five reels and 20 pay lines. This slot machine has two different progressive jackpots, great graphics, and a free games feature.

Mustang Money 2 – Including a major and minor progressive jackpot along with a 10 free spins feature and Mustang Money wild reels, the five reel 10 pay line slots game offers amazing graphics and smooth game play.

Conclusion
Even though casinos have lots of traditional games like blackjack and roulette, take a few minutes to check out the new games every once in a while. After all, the first time you played blackjack it was new to you. How will you ever find a new favorite game if you don’t see what’s available?

2018 NFL Draft: Who Will Be Number 1?

The National Football League’s 83rd annual rookie draft will take place on April 26-28, 2018 (8 PM ET) at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. It will be the first draft to be held in the state of Texas and the first draft to be held in an NFL stadium.

Browns Picking First
The Cleveland Browns own five of the top 64 picks in this year’s NFL Draft, including the #1 overall pick and the 4th pick, which they acquired in a previous trade with the Texans.

Since rejoining the NFL in 1999, the Browns have started 28 different quarterbacks. That’s more than one per year if you bother to count. The recently-acquired Tyrod Taylor will be the 29th, and he’s likely not the future franchise quarterback but merely a bridge to that guy.

The #1 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft will most probably give the Browns that franchise quarterback and they have four (or five) top QB options to choose from. With the 4th pick, the Browns are expected to draft a non-play caller.

The Oddsmakers’ Choice
According to the bookmakers, these are the top 7 possible #1 picks for the Cleveland Browns.

Sam Darnold -250
Sam Darnold’s dazzling display at the USC ProDay last month probably clinched for him the #1 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. Darnold refused to move his throwing session because of rain, and he shined in front of a Browns contingent that included owner Jimmy Haslam.

The USC Trojan doesn’t have the rifle arm of Dan Marino, but he has the uncanny ability to put the ball in a position where his receivers have a realistic chance of making a catch. Among the QBs in the draft, he may be the most physically gifted and tough to put down in the pocket.

Josh Allen +175
If it’s not Sam Darnold, it’s got to be Josh Allen. The Browns have to use the #1 pick for a quarterback. The Browns like Allen’s size, speed, escapability, and arm strength. But coaches around the league are concerned about his 56.2% pass completion because the success record for QBs with a college completion percentage of below 58% isn’t great in the NFL.

There are several factors in that 56.2%, like Allen’s evolving footwork or his lack of supporting cast in Wyoming. Regardless, we’ve seen him shorten his stride since working with Jordan Palmer, and with enough time, his completion percentage can be the exception to the rule.

Saquon Barkley +500
Saquon Barkley is firmly in the mix for top pick conversation after killing it in the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. At 6 feet tall and 233 pounds, Barkley proved to be the most explosive “big” running back in the last 18 years of the Combine.

With the speed of an elite receiver and the strength of an elite lineman, Barkley is simply a jaw-dropping NFL prospect. In three seasons at Penn State, he rushed for close to 4,000 yards and scored 51 touchdowns from scrimmage, 1 from passing, and 2 on kickoff returns.

Josh Rosen +1000
Just because his name isn’t often linked to the Browns in the national media coverage doesn’t mean the Browns aren’t considering making Josh Rosen the top overall pick for this year’s draft.

Rosen’s size is better than Darnold, yet it’s funny how they say he is undersized and Darnold is the prototype. When he threw in the Combine, his deep balls were better than Josh Allen’s. The UCLA QB’s pocket presence is better than that of the other top QB prospects, so having said all these, there’s a chance – although just slight – that the Browns may pick him at #1.

Baker Mayfield +2000
Media and experts say that it’s a toss between Sam Darnold and Josh Allen, but Browns’ GM John Dorsey said last month that it’s still a toss-up between the top 4 QBs, meaning Darnold, Allen, Rosen, and Baker Mayfield.

Dorsey also added that Mayfield had a “really good” workout with the Browns. Since the Senior Ball in January, Dorsey has praised Mayfield’s character and passion for football. Sure, he may be a longshot, but given that he has that “face of the franchise” personality, who knows?

Bradley Chubb +3300
Adding Bradley Chubb to a defensive line that already has Myles Garrett and Emmanuel Ogbah would be nasty, and Garrett is already hoping that the three of them can wreak havoc around the NFL.

Browns’ GM John Dorsey has been high on him since the Combine, but because they need a QB more than a defensive end, Cleveland would probably take him with their 4th pick, if he’s still on the board.

Minkah Fitzpatrick +6600
Alabama defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick has been included in this conversation because of his versatility. Browns’ head coach Hue Jackson acknowledged that Fitzpatrick can indeed play both cornerback and free safety.

He hasn’t worked out with the Browns yet, but Jackson assured that if the Browns end up picking him, the Browns have the right spot for him in the organization.

Looking Ahead to the 2018 NFL Season
While the Browns are expected to add at least two key players for their future, the immediate future says that the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles are going to be the top 2 teams in the upcoming season. Or at least that’s what the odds are saying.

New England is currently the favorite at +500. Sure, they lost to the Eagles the last time around, but with Tom Brady not yet retiring, the Patriots are still going to be a very dangerous team. But then, of course, if coach Bill Belichick decides to hang up his sweater, it may be a different story.

Super Bowl LII winners Philadelphia Eagles are next at +900, and rightfully so. They won the Super Bowl without their starting QB, and that speaks about the talent on this team. If Carson Wentz can return back to his old form, the sky is likely the limit for the defending champions.

The Green Bay Packers, L.A. Rams, and the Pittsburgh Steelers are tied with the next best odds at +1000. With Aaron Rodgers set to return, the Packers should contend. The Rams have the top scoring offense in the NFL, while the Steelers have a winning percentage of .696 over the past three seasons.