Surprisingly enough, not every casino has roulette. In the 1980’s and ‘90’s, several casinos had as many as 24 roulette tables. The game boomed, then faded slightly, then began a steady decline that moved casino managers to actually drop the game completely. State regulations require strict licensing procedures for dealers and Pit bosses, which makes it expensive to administer the games, and while the double-zero roulette games got play, they weren’t as profitable as other games.
Atlantic City does have single-zero wheels at some clubs, but the standard American roulette wheel with a zero and a double zero is greatly enhanced (for players) as the European La Partage rule applies. When the ball lands in 0 or 00, the player receives half their wager back on even-money, outside bets, which lowers the house edge to 2.63% on these wagers. The single-zero games do not offer La Partage.
Personally, I grew up on American roulette, and several of the systems that I’ve enjoyed over the years such as the Six Pack Plus (or Six Pence) are designed for double zero wheels, so finding them in Atlantic City with half the usual house odds is a great thing. Obviously system like Labouchere can be played on either an Atlantic City single or double zero wheel, with the same results, as the house edge is then the same.
Finding a Roulette Game in Atlantic City
If you are used to finding a roulette game you can play for a buck a spin (a Pound or a Euro, perhaps), you won’t find that in Atlantic City. The games require a minimum wager of at least $5 per spin, with a color often $2 per chip and a 3-chip minimum. In addition, of the 11 remaining casinos, only six currently offer roulette tables.
The Borgata Hotel Casino is the nicest property in Atlantic City. They have a great poker room, plenty of hotel rooms, and are large enough to offer 17 roulette tables, more than any other casino in the city, and more than most casinos in Las Vegas.
You can find $5 and $10 tables most any night, and the dealers are very skilled. As more casinos have dropped roulette, the demand for dealers has dropped, so I think those with a job work harder. That’s a good thing! The Atlantic Club, which did have games, is now closed, so you can expect to find the game at only half the clubs, and the Revel – the newest and most expensive club in town – is already on the financial ropes. Who knows if they will have roulette when you arrive?
The following clubs do offer the game, some with single-zero, and bets range from $5 to $5,000 at most spots, $100 maximum straight-up:
Bally’s Atlantic City – Borgata – Golden Nugget – Harrah’s Resort – Tropicana – Trump Taj Mahal
My own experience has been very good at Atlantic City casinos when I’ve played roulette. It’s unlikely you’ll find any biased wheels as they are rigorously maintained, and while that’s a bad thing for some players, that’s a good thing for most system players – we want the ball to do the same thing every spin, not bounce wildly sometimes and settle gracefully on others.
The dealers will do their best to take care of you, but are more inclined if you are actively tipping. At roulette, hand-ins after a nice hit are appreciated, almost expected, and dealers get a bit testy if you refuse to come-across with something until you cashout at the end of your play. That’s the East Coast! By the same token, you can expect to hear some colorful language, some pointed conversations between players, and free drinks, which tend to loosen players up pretty quickly.
Even if your casino has live roulette, there are many types of video roulette in Atlantic City. Harrah’s/Caesars have Rapid Roulette, with individual video kiosks for each player and “the familiar view of a real roulette wheel, and a live dealer to spin the ball,” as they put it. They also stress you have more room, accurate payouts, and don’t have to worry about reaching across other players to make your wagers. Big deal, I like that stuff. I’d much rather have regular games, especially if I’m still going to feel like I have to tip the video/live dealer when I cash out.
As for the games offered, there were once some single-zero video games with an enclosed wheel, but they are now exclusively double-zero (no La Partage), made by Organic, and are located at the Borgata Hotel and Golden Nugget. You can also find six-player video screen roulette with a live dealer and standard wheel at some clubs, a strange combination of live/video play that I have yet to adapt to. You may find it just as good as the regular game.
As for comps, the casino’s point system on video roulette games seem to be quite stingy, and your rate of accumulating points to use for food and rooms is not likely to be as high as that offered at the regular games. In addition, some players look a bit lost and hurried when playing the combination games because there is a countdown to the spinning of the ball that can be a bit unnerving. The game does go quickly though, and payoffs are always accurate, but make sure you have all your bets down, because occasionally bets are not immediately accepted, and that ticker keeps winding down! I suppose we all have to adapt to survive.