American roulette wheels have an extra slot compared to the European wheel. This extra green slot contains a double zero. This is the most common wheel you will find at retail casinos. It appears at casinos in Ontario to BC. Even the smallest casinos offer this game. It also is available in electronic format — where you bet using a console and watch the spin of a big central wheel under a plastic dome.
Roulette is popular with both first-time casino visitors and regulars. The game is easy to play, with no complex strategy for new players. There are outside bets, where you have a roughly 50/50 shot, plus big prizes for hitting correct individual numbers. Some players like to use roulette betting systems, pressing wins and chasing losses, to make the game more entertaining.
This page has everything you need to know to get started with American roulette at Canadian casinos. We cover live and where to play online roulette, with the odds, strategy and bonuses all explained below.
American roulette: How the game works
Roulette did not change when it first appeared in North America. In fact, what we call the “American” roulette wheel is the original game that originated in France in the 1800s. The European roulette wheel changed to a single-zero format after the game had already become popular in the New World.
Each game starts with players placing bets on a grid. This is divided into three columns of 12 numbers. When you play in a live setting, you will exchange your money for a stack of coloured chips. These help the croupiers push wins to the right players. You can also use regular casino chips.
Minimums per spin at American roulette tables in Canada start at around $10. During weekends or other peak times, you might find minimums of $25 or more. You can bet smaller amounts at electronic table game consoles.
You can place bets until the croupier says “no more bets.” At this point, all eyes move to the wheel and the slot where the ball will land. A plastic marker (called a “dolly”) is placed on the winning number. Losing bets are then cleared from the table, with the winner(s) getting paid.
Inside and outside bets
You can bet on either individual numbers (or combinations of them), or on red/black, odd/even or groups of 12. The bets at smaller odds are known as outside bets, as they are physically placed outside of the number grid. Individual number bets are called inside bets.
- Red or black pays 1:1.
- Odd or even pays 1:1.
- 1-18 or 19-36 pays 1:1.
- Twelves (first, second or third 12 on the grid), pays 2:1.
- Columns (the three columns along the grid), pays 2:1.
- Single numbers pay 35:1.
- Split (half a chip on each of two numbers), pays 17:1.
- Corner (chip is spread among four numbers on the corners of each), pays 8:1.
- Street: A row of three numbers across the grid, pays 11:1.
- Six line: Two horizontal rows (streets), pays 5:1.
- Basket: Bet on 0-00, 1, 2 and 3, pays 6:1.
Racetrack betting for American roulette
The standard betting grid for American roulette offers plenty of options. For experienced players there is another way to bet. The racetrack betting grid is an oval, which shows the sequence of numbers as they appear on the wheel. You can use this to bet on individual numbers, though it also allows for some traditional bets that have kept their names from the original French game.
- Neighbours: Here you bet on a number and the two numbers on either side of it on the wheel.
- Tier: This bet covers the 12 numbers opposite to zero. They are 5, 8, 10, 11, 13, 16, 23, 24, 27, 30, 33 and 36.
- Voisins du Zero: This bet covers the numbers close to zero on the wheel, 17 in total.
- Orphelins: This covers 1, 6, 9, 14, 17, 20, 31 and 34. These numbers are on opposite sides of the wheel, in between the “Tier” and “Voisins du Zero” sections.
There is no mathematical advantage to choosing the racetrack bets — the house edge will still depend on the number of zeros on the wheel. But it does make a refreshing change from the usual grid betting, adding some new bets into the mix.
Strategy for American roulette games
American roulette has a house edge of 5.26%. There is no strategy that will overcome this in the long run. You can use strategy to try to have as much fun as possible, that your bankroll lasts as long as possible — and that you give yourself a shot at a big win every time you play.
Most players will bet on their favourite numbers, along with a selection of outside bets. In live casinos around Canada, you will see a vertical board above the table displaying the last numbers, split between red and black. This shows “hot” and “cold” numbers — which players use to adjust their bets.
The number of outcomes you cover in any one spin will determine how long your bankroll lasts. If you bet only on a single number, you could be waiting a long time to hit any wins. If you bet on all red numbers, then cover half of the black ones (for example), then you will hit frequently, though your returns will be lower. Most players have a strategy to mix smaller wins with the occasional big win — picking a few numbers for bigger bets, then saving them with smaller outside wagers.
People employing betting systems enjoy roulette games. Examples include Martingale-style systems, which double after a loss until you win (then reset to the initial stake), and progressive betting systems, where you double down on wins for two or three spins.
These systems won’t beat the house over time. They can reduce your variance (swings), or help you hit the occasional big win.
Playing American roulette online in Canada
You can enjoy American roulette online in Canada for real money or just for entertainment. This is available alongside European roulette and French roulette. If you have a choice, pick the French rules — as the casino house edge is much lower for this game. There are also roulette games with side bets and bigger odds bets, for example, 100/1 roulette.
As well as the software and casino app games, you can now bet on real roulette games streamed from a studio. This is known as live dealer roulette. Players bet by dragging and dropping chips onto a virtual betting grid. It is possible to chat with the other players and the dealer while you gamble. While slower than the software-based games, live dealer roulette is hugely popular.
Bonuses and casino comps for American roulette players
Live casinos all over Canada encourage players to join their reward programs. This is a win-win. Players get free play and rewards based on how much they gamble. The casinos get to send you their latest promotions and hope you will return to play again. Examples include the One Rewards card at the Woodbine Racetrack and Casino in Ontario, and the Encore Rewards card at Parq Casinos in British Columbia.
Electronic roulette games are tracked automatically via a card. For live games, hand your loyalty card to the croupier. Live casino comp plans also come with discounts at restaurants, prize draws and seasonal promotions.
You’ll also find online casino bonuses across Canadian casinos. They may match your first deposit with bonus chips. Free play (no deposit necessary), loyalty rewards, reload bonuses and free spins are other potential options. Keep in mind that covering too much of an American roulette table to clear your bonuses (for example betting on both odd and even) will see your bonuses canceled.
Final thoughts on playing American roulette in Canadian casinos
If there is no European roulette wheel available in your casino, then the American wheel is an entertaining pick. This is because the double-zero slot, in addition to the regular single green zero, increases the house edge. It is more likely to be on the main casino floor, while French roulette or European roulette are generally in high-limit areas.
By mixing inside and outside bets, you can make your casino bankroll go a long way. Hitting your lucky number has a return of 35:1. Make sure you take full advantage of bonuses, rewards and comp offers at your casino — whether you enjoy roulette in live casinos or online.