Double Zero Roulette
Double zero roulette is also known as American roulette or Las Vegas roulette. This version of the game is played with both a "0" and "00" on the wheel, which makes the odds just a bit longer that you'll win. For this reason, double-zero tables are to be avoided, if you can find its single-zero counterpart. House rules might change that suggestion, so you'll want to know what to spot when you go to an online or a live casino.
I'll discuss what you should notice to know which type of roulette you should be playing. If you happen to find rules called "en prison" or imprisonment, this entirely changes the equation. I'll tell you where you'll find these rules throughout the world, which cities in the USA have them, and how likely you are to find imprisonment rules in Las Vegas. First, I want to discuss briefly the history of double-zero roulette.
History of Double Zero Roulette
People who hear it called American roulette are likely to assume the double-0 variation was a later invention of US casino owners. If they don't know the house odds, they're likely to think this invention was meant to lure in more players. If they do know the house odds, they're likely to assume the innovation was meant to bilk more casino patrons. In fact, none of these are true.
Double-zero roulette was the way the game was played for the first 150 years of its existence. Blaise Pascal, a French engineer and mathematician, invented a rudimentary roulette wheel in the 1650s, hoping to discover perpetual motion. That didn't work out, but friends began gambling with his spinning wheel apparatus. From those early times until the 1840s, all roulette had a 0 and a 00. The amount of whole numbers on each wheel varied greatly, from 25 to 28 to 32. It would be much later when the numbers 1 through 36 became popular.
As European casinos began to experiment with single-zero wheels in Germany in the 1840s and Monte Carlo in the 1860s, the game spread to the United States and Canada--but in its original form. Europeans learned roulette in Monte Carlo and then spread it throughout the world, but the American gambling establishment kept the game they way it was originally meant to play. When Las Vegas and (later) Atlantic City got their starts, double-zero roulette was the spinning wheel variant every casino offered.
Horrible Odds of Double-Zero
The problem was, double-zero roulette offers bad odds compared to the single-zero version. The original version of double-zero roulette has a house edge of 5.26%, while single zero roulette has a house edge of 2.70%. That's such a significant difference that the two games could hardly appear on the same casino floor without some compensations. American casinos sometimes offered both games, but the single-zero game was usually only reserved for the high roller tables--at $25 or more per spin. Other casinos added imprisonment rules to make the two games much closer in terms of probability.
Imprisonment Double Zero Roulette
Imprisonment rules mean that people only lose 1/2 their bet when they wager any whole number and the ball lands on the 0 or 00. When this happens, the house edge is reduced to exactly one-half what it was--down from 5.26% to 2.63%. This makes imprisonment double-zero roulette a better game than European roulette, though just barely. American cities have been known to offer this version of 00-roulette instead of single-zero games, possibly because it saves on buying exotic new roulette wheels.
Searching for Single-Zero Roulette
As the 20th century progressed and gamblers traveled the world more often, word spread that the American game wasn't nearly as good as the European variant. It became common for North American roulette enthusiasts to seek single-zero roulette in North America. Atlantic City was the first place in the United States to offer the game, while certain casinos in Las Vegas and at least one casino in Tunica, Mississippi also offering these games.
Today, you'll find 7 casinos in Atlantic City which offer single-zero roulette: at the Tropicana Atlantic City, Borgata, Atlantic Club, Trump Taj Mahal, Bally's Atlantic City, Harrah's Atlantic City, and the Golden Nugget. You'll also a couple of dozen single-zero roulette tables in Las Vegas: the MGM Grand, Bellagio, Wynn Las Vegas, Golden Nugget, Paris, Rio, Las Vegas Hilton, and Luxor. Most of these casinos offer this game at 1 or 2 tables, almost always in the high roller section only (unfortunate for small limit players). Sometimes you have to request these tables, while other times they are only running at certain points of the week (the weekend, that is).
Imprisonment Roulette in Las Vegas
It's better to find the 21 double-zero, imprisonment rule roulette tables in Las Vegas. Once again, these are likely to appear in the high roller room, on the weekends, and by request. You can find a mere handful of tables which offer $15 imprisonment rules roulette in Las Vegas. The casinos verified to have en prison single-0 roulette are Caesar's Palace, The Mirage, The Stratosphere, Mandalay Bay, Monte Carlo, Rio, Wynn Las Vegas, the Venetian, and Bellagio. Since I've seen people ask before, no such thing as a single-zero imprisonment game exists in Las Vegas, Atlantic City, or elsewhere. While I suppose that game could theoretically exist, en prison rules were designed for the bigger American roulette wheels to be used in Monte Carlo and other European casinos, but without the disadvantage of bad odds. So it wouldn't make any sense to have imprisonment single-zero roulette, which would lower the house edge to 1.31%.
Those are the places you should be searching for the best odds. In Europe, you'll always get single-zero roulette or double-zero with imprisonment rules. Casino patrons have been getting the better odds for about 150 years now and that's what roulette players expect to find there these days. That's a good thing, since the invention of these game made famous in Monte Carlo has driven online casinos operators and live casino ownership groups to offer better odds at their tables. If you go to an online casino for roulette, play the European roulette games, unless you learn they have American roulette with imprisonment rules.