When roulette was invented in Paris back in 1796, it's doubtful anyone could have envisioned the game appearing in machine form.
"Roulette players tend to be just roulette players," said Kent Fredella, casino manager at Wild Wild West, where the Bally roulette machine made its first appearance on the floor last week. "If I were looking to bet very small amounts in trying to understand the game, I would play the machine."
The machine does catch your eye with the wheel spinning upon a players push, but one should know the paybacks before deciding to avoid the table game. They are not alike.
"A straight-up bet on the machine pays 32-1 (32-for-1) compared to 35-1 on the table," Fredella said. "A split pays only 16-1, compared to 17-1 at the table. However, a three-number bet pays 12-1 on the machine compared to 11-1 on the table. And, a four-number bet has a 9-1 to 8-1 edge."
The advantages to playing the machine are that you are the boss. You control when to start the wheel, how much to bet and whether to play in groups or alone. There's no pressure and the machine has instructions on how to bet and what the payoffs are.
"You can play for hours without disturbing anyone," Fredella said. "There is definitely the convenience factor once the game becomes available. It eliminates the pressure that could come from others at the table who may be more experienced players."
That said, most roulette players prefer the table and the casinos aren't complaining.
"Machines can't replace the interaction between the dealer and player," Fredella said. "When we hire dealers, I am most concerned with the way they relate to people. I can teach them to deal. I can't teach them personality."
Like penny and nickel slots, many players choose roulette because they don't have to spend much to win and can hang around for long periods of time.
"Ever since the Klondike closed, we pretty much have the lowest chip minimum out there near the Strip for roulette," Fredella said. "We have 25-cent minimum chips and a $2 minimum bet. It attracts a lot of players to the table. You can buy a full stack of chips for $5."
The normal house edge in roulette is 5.26 percent except for the five-number bet (0, 00, 1, 2, 3) which is 7.89. Playing the dozen bets offers a 24-14 chance of winning. However, a loss costs twice as much as a win payoff.
"Roulette is simple, yet intriguing," Fredella said. "That's why it is placed right in the middle of our casino where there is a lot of traffic."
There are 38 numbers in roulette (1-36, 0 and 00) on which to bet. Here are some of the betting choices.
� Straight Up: A single number.
� Split: Two adjoining numbers.
� Street: Three horizontal numbers.
� Corner: Four numbers in a square.
� Six line: a bet on two adjoining streets.
� Trio: a bet on the intersecting point between 0, 1, 2 or 0, 2, 3.
� 1 to 18:
� 19 to 36
� Red or black
� Dozen bets (1-12, 13-24, 25-36). Pays 3-2
� Column bets: All 12 numbers in any of three columns. Pays 2-1.