All it takes is one lucky spin for recreational gamblers to fall in love with roulette.
When you use your spouse’s birthday, your child’s age, or any other talisman to choose a number between 1 and 36 – or even the “0” and “00” spaces if you’re feeling froggy – and the little silver ball skips its way to the perfect resting place, there’s nothing quite like that unmistakable thrill.
And of course, the croupier sliding you a castle of chips equal to 35 to 1 on your wager doesn’t hurt either.
Offering one of the juiciest one-time payouts found in the table game pit, casino roulette games have been a gambling fan favorite for four centuries and counting.
I covered the differences between French, European, and American wheels in another post listing the best places to play roulette on the Vegas Strip.
But in a nutshell, French wheels only have one green “0” space for even money (Red or Black, Odd or Even, Low or High) bettors to dodge. And even if the ball does land on green, those bets get a 50 percent rebate paid back straight to the player. This setup, known as “La Partage” (French for “The Divide”) creates a sweet house edge of only 1.35 percent.
Next up are the European wheels, which are nothing more than single-zero games without the La Partage rule in effect. Full losses on a “0” for even money bettors equates to a 2.70 percent house edge.
And finally, the modern American roulette wheel has two green spaces (“0” and “00”) working on behalf of the house. As such, the house edge nearly doubles to 5.26 percent on these tables.
Unfortunately, the topline French wheels that sharp roulette players covet can only be found on The Strip these days. That flips the script, so to speak, from other games like video poker and craps, where the best games are found in “Off-Strip” casinos that cater to Las Vegas locals and gamblers who know the odds.
If you’re looking to play for higher minimum bets ($25 to $100) with the benefit of La Partage rules, head for Las Vegas Boulevard.
On the other hand, if you simply want to splash around a few low denomination chips – and don’t mind tangling with the double-zero American wheels – heading to the Off-Strip gambling halls scattered throughout Sin City is your best bet.
With that in mind, use the list below to find your way to the five best Off-Strip places to play roulette in all of Las Vegas during your next gambling adventure.
1 – Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino on Fremont Street in the Downtown District
A fixture on Fremont Street in Downtown Las Vegas since 1946, the Golden Nugget has seen it all.
Frank Sinatra and the “Rat Pack” played to adoring crowds here during Downtown’s heyday, and gamblers today still consider the old gal to be a true Las Vegas landmark.
As for the roulette tables, the Golden Nugget is home to more of them than any other Off-Strip casino, with eight wheels spinning at all hours of the day and night. Minimum bets for these double-zero wheels stand at $10 per spin, but you can up the ante to $200 per if you’re feeling lucky.
2 – South Point Hotel Casino & Spa on Las Vegas Boulevard (7 Miles from The Strip)
If you head to the Mandalay Bay, the southernmost point on The Strip, then keep going south for seven more miles, you’ll find the South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa.
A classic local’s casino, the South Point combines all of the luxuries of The Strip – like swimming pools, spas, concert halls, and even an arena where rodeos and other special events are held – into a massive mega-resort property.
You’ll find five of these $1 double-zero wheels at the South Point too, so there won’t be any waiting to score a table.
3 – Golden Gate Casino Hotel on Fremont Street in the Downtown District
Back in October of 2010, the Golden Gate Casino in Downtown set the stage for a momentous moment in Sin City history.
When the cast of MTV’s reality show “The Buried Life” wanted to scratch winning $1 million off their collective bucket list, they headed to Las Vegas looking for a casino willing to take six-figure action on roulette.
As their reasoning went, after starting with a $125,000 opening wager, it would only take three successful even money spins to collect a $1 million payday.
At first, none of the major casino corporations were willing to book the enormous bet, but Golden Gate owner – and avid gambler himself -Derek Stevens was happy to oblige.
Here’s what Stevens had to say about the gambit in a post published by the Golden Gate’s blog:
“I was surprised because I thought that one of the MGM properties or the Palms or Hard Rock would have done it. Because we’re a small place, no one thought we’d be interested but I jumped at the opportunity!
I figured we have the oldest [venue] in all of Las Vegas and this would be a great opportunity to publicize our total renovation.
We put the MTV crew up for a few days and eventually we got to the ‘Big Spin.’ The boys were obligated to bet $125,000 on an even money roulette bet and parlay it three times. The Golden Gate was obligated to take the bets as they kept winning.”
Thus, the twenty-somethings on “The Buried Life” huddled around a Golden Gate roulette table and slid a tower of chips worth $125,000 on Red.
You won’t be betting six-figures, but Golden Gate’s two roulette tables offer a perfectly reasonable $5 – $200 limit on double-zero action.
4 – Boulder Station Casino on the Boulder Highway
If you’re looking to play roulette for the lowest possible stakes, look no further than Boulder Station.
Roulette players here need only plunk down a shiny quarter to get in the game, making Boulder Station by far the most affordable roulette option in all of Las Vegas – and perhaps even the world.
5 – Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino on Flamingo Rd. West of the Strip
The roulette offerings found at the Rio aren’t really anything special, what with double-zero action at $10 through $1,000 per spin limits.
But as the home of the annual World Series of Poker (WSOP), visitors who hit the Rio between late May and mid-July can rub elbows with poker superstars like Phil Ivey, Daniel Negreanu, and Phil Hellmuth.
Those two will likely confine their action to the tournament area, but don’t be surprised to see six-time WSOP gold bracelet winner – and notorious table game pit player – T.J. Cloutier trying his luck at the low-limit roulette tables.
Success in roulette is largely determined by random variance, and that holds especially true when you’re playing American style double-zero wheels. It’s a shame to see the French and Roulette wheels become exclusive domain of The Strip, but roulette enthusiasts can still have a blast taking on the wheel in any of the five Off-Strip venues listed above.