The famous fashionista Tim Gunn has a theory about why today’s civilized folks  aren’t quite so civilized after all. His theory can be filed under the heading of “the  slobbification” of our world. Or some such title. 

Today’s citizens of the United States and, perhaps, England, just don’t have a  fashion sense the way they used to. Even the poor had “Sunday, go to meeting  clothes.” Heck, Easter Sunday saw thousands of well-dressed folks frolicking down  Fifth Avenue in New York City – and many of these people, those taking part in  the parade, were not rich. They were, shall I say? All of us! 

Do you remember the movie scenes where they showed folks who were highly  dressed to participate in or to be involved in adult activities?  

In the casinos the players wore suits and ties and the rich folks wore gowns or  fashionable dresses; the men wore tuxedoes. Yes, now sing the following verse,  “those were the days my friends we thought they’d never end.” 

Check out film clips of baseball games or boxing matches or most other sports and  theatre and movies and you’ll see that most of the fans or attendees wore suits  and ties (no less) and, if they were women, they wore dresses.  

In short, you had to dress up to go out. That was considered proper for going out  on the town. “You didn’t,” as my mother said, “want to dress like a bum.” 

Sometime after World War II – maybe late 1950s – we started to see a slight  change in dressing decorum. Here and there would be men not wearing suits and  ties here and there and some women who wore (heaven help us!) pants. It was  beginning back then.  

In short, a new world was budding right before our eyes. Most of us (when young) didn’t notice it or pay it any mind. Our mothers saw to that. 

By the end of the 1960s, all hell broke loose. Boys in their teens and 20s were  wearing long, unkempt hair, earrings, nose rings, and the girls? Heaven forbid what you saw them in or out of – and you saw them not wearing “Sunday, go to  meeting clothes!” for sure. 

Adults still held the line … for a while. But in the 1980s, no one wore suits and ties  to ball games or the casinos and, heaven forfend, teachers often didn’t wear suits  and ties in their classrooms! 

Women wore pants everywhere; children started to become (how can I say this?)  somewhat deranged – they threw fits seemingly for no reason. The world of  parenting was becoming a world of “I’m friends with my children” and “isn’t he  cute throwing that fit?” What? What? My mother, and father, would belt me if I  behaved like that. 

The 1990s? This was obvious that the world I loved most – the world of the  casinos – had undergone a radical change. 

Dressing up? Nonsense. Rare to see someone in a tux – unless he was getting  married. Maybe not even then. She? It was hard to not try to catch a peek under  the wedding dress; it was that short. (Being a well-trained, good man, I  refrained ... well, mostly.) 

Tim Gunn has put the correct label on our age – it is the age of slobbification.  Everything that was nice, that was elegant, has been “slobbified” by, well, slobs. Each and every one of us who dresses down is a slob – period.  

Take the guy in the stained short-sleeved shirt coming over to the roulette table.  “What is your name sir?” “Bond, James Bond …”  

What the hell? That guy isn’t James Bond! Are you kidding? He’s just a slob! 

Ah, but he is James Bond; he’s all of today’s James Bonds. He is now entering the  casinos. What is special about this James Bond? Sadly, truly, nothing. He is not to  be held up as a role model for men – that’s for sure. His license to kill has expired. No secret service would want this guy working for them – would they? Seriously,  would they?

[Men: This is especially for you. Did you practice being Bond, “James” Bond? Yeah,  I did. Somewhere in my preteens, I’d stride into my bedroom and look in the mirror  and say, Scoblete, “Frank” Scoblete. 

I figured when I got old enough and I was wearing a tuxedo, and buying into a  roulette game, the girls would just melt in front of me if I could only get that  accent right – this was the real James Bond, mind you, meaning the one and only  Sean Connery. 

I was 11 or 12 way back then. And the girls? Uh, it never happened. They didn’t  flock to me when I was a teenager. Ah, the illusions of youth. James Bond; dressed  to the nines - which was a gambling term in the god old days; but I wasn’t that  man. His time was passing rather rapidly. Sad, sad. 

I didn’t realize it at the time because, well, I was a kid. Ah, the dreams of youth,  must to be destroyed by aging.]

Roulette table

The Pace of Today’s Roulette? 

James Bond’s roulette is not today’s roulette. Far from it. The game is far crasser. It’s also faster. And more and more players fit the slobbification definition; in fact,  in many of today’s casinos, you’d be lucky to see someone who merits  consideration for being well dressed by the past’s standards.  

Many of the players have little in the way of manners. They rush to get their chips  on the layout and time and time again as those chips scatter as they are knocked  over by other rushing players. Arguments occur not because the chips are  different but because … well, just because. 

You know something. Everyone seems a little or, worse, a lot edgy. Is that the  stress of modern life? Or just the fact that everyone seems really wired? What has  got them so wired? 

That guy over there smashing through the other players’ chips to get his bets out  faster than the superhero Flash could manage? Is he nuts? He has plenty of time.  What’s with him? And he should – after all – change his grimy short-sleeved shirt.

Some Tables 

Now, not all roulette tables are filled with rushing, pushing, aggressive and often  sweaty (smelly) players. Some tables are somewhat sedate – more like the tables  of the old movies. But those are in the distinct minority.  

There was a movie titled Speed about a bus that had been wired to keep going faster and faster until who knows? It seems to me that more and more roulette  players have been “sped up” until, well, who knows what? 

Playing fast isn’t necessarily going to make you win. In fact, the more decisions a  roulette player faces, the worse it will be for him or her as time at the tables  passes on. 

The casinos do not pay out the proper odds of the bet. And that’s the answer to  the question “how does the casino get its house edge?” 

The Truth Hurts 

There are now three roulette games in the world. The single-zero games (0); the  double-zero games (0, 00); and the abomination called the triple-zero games (0,  00, 000).  

The house edges on these games will go from 2.7% on the single-zero  game; to 5.26% on the double-zero game; and (yuck!) 7.69% on the  triple-zero game. 

A winning bet at the single-zero game pays 35 to 1. There are 37 pockets for the  ball to settle in. The odds or roulette are 36 to 1 for a given number to appear. A true payout  would therefore be 36 to 1. But the casino can’t make money by paying out the  true odds of the bet. So, it skimps and reduces the payout to 35 to 1. That creates  the 2.7% house edge on the single-zero game. 

Now, hold your stomachs friends because the payout for the double-zero wheel is  also 35 to 1! What? Yep!

The house edge now zooms up to 5.26%. You have 38 pockets for the ball to  settle into and the odds should be 37 to 1 for that to happen. But the casinos can’t  make any money if they paid out the true odds of the bet. So, they pay out the  same 35 to 1. 

It gets much worse with the triple-zero game. There are 39 pockets. That makes  38 times the ball will not fall in our selected pocket and one time it will fall into our selected pocket. If it does, what happens? Nothing much, except the casino  still pays you 35 to 1. Yikes! 

The house edge now zooms to 7.69%. Ouch! 

Let’s put these figures in terms of possible losing expectations, shall we? Your  expectation on the single-zero game is to lose $2.70 per $100 wagered; your  expectation on the double-zero game is to lose $5.26 per $100 wagered, and your expectation on the (yuck) triple-zero game is to lose $7.69 per $100 wagered. 

The new triple-zero game has become much (much, much, much) more difficult to  beat. And the more bets you make? The more you will lose when your number(s)  don’t come in. That’s the cold hard fact of the matter my friends. I wish it weren’t.  I really do. 

Now, the roulette games that James Bond played were all single-zero games. He  had a pretty decent chance of beating the house or, at the very least, losing a  reasonable amount of money for his fun. 

Maybe this is why today’s roulette players seem rushed? Edgy? Angry? They think, as I’ve said, that the faster they play, and the more they bet, the more money they  will make.  


On occasion this might be true but seriously that is rarely the case. The faster they  play, no matter what game or roulette strategy they are playing, they will be expected to lose more  and more than that and even more than that and on the triple-zero wheel they  will lose still more than even that. And that is the sad fact.

And the more bets they put out there, the worse it will be.

Roulette numbers

How Should You Play Roulette? 

I am going to share with you how I play roulette and what games I absolutely look  for at which to spend my playing time. I look for two things. 

I want both if I can get them. Get ready now. Here goes: 

  • I look to play the single-zero game first.  
  • I will manipulate my betting by taking the percentage off my bets that the single zero game might cost me. 
  • If the single-zero game is a $50 minimum, I’ll go down to $25 per wager and that  means I will wager half as much by only betting every other spin of the wheel. This example works out to hold me susceptible to the same expected losses. 
  • If I play the double-zero game I will manipulate my bets as I did above if the  minimums are less than I can afford. 
  • Remember this: You do not have to bet on every spin of the wheel. You can figure  what you can afford to lose and bet a percentage that brings you in at that  amount. 
  • I will play only the even-money bets of red/black, odd/even, or high/low. I prefer  betting the red or black. 

And now for my reward for you (maybe): On the single-zero game some casinos  have a situation where you only have to pay half a losing bet if the green zero comes  up. This is called en prison! This is only on the even-money bets. The casino will not take a losing bet. It will just keep your bet on the layout for the next spin of  the wheel. 

The house edge now falls to 1.35%! Now that is some reward!

On the double-zero game half the even-money bets will be taken if one of the zero  options hits. Yes, the house edge now falls to 2.63% if you make these bets.  Not bad, all things considered. 

All the best in and out of the casinos! 

Frank Scoblete grew up in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. He spent the ‘60s getting an education; the ‘70s in editing, writing and publishing; the ‘80s in theatre, and the ‘90s and the 2000s in casino gambling.

Along the way he taught English for 33 years. He has authored 35 books; his most recent publisher is Triumph Books, a division of Random House. He lives in Long Island. Frank wrote the Ultimate Roulette Strategy Guide and he's a well known casino specialist.