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The “L” Bet Cuts the House Edge by 50%

Author: Mark Pilarski

Dear Mark: When I play roulette, I use your recommendation and search for a European Roulette wheel with the single 0. Single 0 games are rare. While chatting over some diverse wagers with me on my last casino visit, the dealer referred to a bet in roulette that begins with the letter “L.” Do you know what wager he was talking about?
Signed, B. S.

The distinction between "American" and "European" roulette seems subtle. The American Roulette wheel has two green zeros (0 and 00) while the European wheel has just one (0). Signed, B. S.

I have always been amazed, Bruce, at how few players realize that on a single zero Roulette game, the casino advantage of 2.63% is directly associated with the presence of that singular zero (0) on the geography. Otherwise, a roulette layout with two zeros (0, 00) gives the house a 5.26% advantage on all the bets offered but one.

My guess here, Bruce, is that those single zero tables that you are finding are not authentic "European" games. A true European single-zero Roulette wheel offers a rule called “en prison.” On a European single-zero wheel, when placing an even money bet and the ball lands on zero, the dealer (croupier across the pond) does not rake in your bet. Instead, your wager is “imprisoned” or held captive, and you have to let it ride until the next spin. If your bet wins, you can remove it from the table. What is appealing about this wager is that it chops the house edge on even money bets in half, down to a very satisfactory 1.35%. This makes it one of the superior wagers in European casinos.

That wager the dealer spoke of that begins with the letter “L” is called "la Partage." This rule is akin to en prison, but instead of preserving your even money bets in place when a zero is called, you immediately lose only half your wager instead of all of it. This trims the house edge on these wagers, like en prison, to 1.35% for single zero wheels and 2.63% for double zero wheels.

Atlantic City casinos offer a surrender rule that when you place an even-money bet (red/black, odd/even, 1-18/9-36) you lose only half your wager if the ,b>roulette ball lands on 0 or 00. By your being able to recover half of your wager, the casino’s edge is reduced to 2.63% versus 5.26% on the even-money outside bets.

Unfortunately, Bruce, except for some of the higher-end casinos on the Las Vegas Strip, most in the US do not offer the “la partage” or “en prison” rules on their roulette tables.

Dear Mark: Is the middle of a 10-spot Hold’em poker table between the 5 and 6 spot, or as a dealer told me, over his right shoulder.
Signed, J.

The number of players that can sit at a poker table differs depending on the game being played, and of course, the size of the table. A 10-person Hold'em Poker Table is commonly used in tournament play, whereas a nine spot table is for cash play.

The 10-person Poker table is usually oval, with the player spots positioned around the curve, the dealer facing them in a concave area set specifically for him or her. The center of these 10-spot Poker tables is as you surmised, Jim, located exactly across from the dealer, between the five and six spot.

Gambling Wisdom of the Week:
“One time he was sick and wouldn't take penicillin, because he bet his fever would go to one hundred and four.”
– Frank Sinatra on Marlon Brando, Guys and Dolls (1955)