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The 6 Differences Between European Roulette and American Roulette


The main distinction to European Roulette is that the table layout (and the corresponding wheel slots) only feature a single zero, while American Roulette features a double zero. Since there’s one less number or slot on the European wheel, the odds of hitting any one number are increased – a 1 in 37 chance, compared to 1 in 38 for the American version.

The difference of one number might not seem like a lot, but it significantly lowers the house edge: 2.7% compared to American Roulette’s 5.26%. Statistically, that’s a better deal for the player side of things over the long term, but the change to the house edge doesn’t impact the outcome of any individual bet.

European Roulette and American Roulette

European Roulette Game

Among all the variations of roulette in both land-based and online casinos, European roulette is the preference of the majority of players. The reason for its huge popularity is that it provides a player with a greater chance to earn, as the house advantage here is merely 2.63%.

As we already noted, the European roulette wheel has 37 divisions, where numbers from 1 to 36 and 0 can be found. Numbers from 1 to 36 are alternately colored red and black, while the single zero is marked in green.

The main objective, which any player pursues, is to predict, which numbered pocket the roulette ball is going to settle into. In order to do that, all players make bets on a particular number, after which the dealer turns the roulette wheel in one direction and spins the roulette ball in the opposite. Once the ball finds its way into the pocket with that particular number, the respective players get paid.

The rules of play and the betting process in European roulette are quite straightforward. Yet, if players wish to leave the roulette table on profit, it is essential for them to understand well the types of bets that can be placed, as well as their respective payouts. This knowledge will enable them to make informed decisions when placing their bets and to implement a suitable betting strategy. Below, you will find more detailed information on the table layout in European roulette, its house edge, the types of bets in the game, and their payouts.

American Roulette Game

American roulette is among the table games that enjoy the greatest popularity in casinos throughout the United States. The game tends to become more popular at casinos in Asia and the United Kingdom but is somehow avoided by players in Europe, as their focus is primarily on the European version of roulette.

The main objective, which any player pursues, is to predict which numbered pocket the roulette ball is going to settle into. In order to do that, all players make bets on a particular number, after which the dealer turns the roulette wheel in one direction and spins the roulette ball in the opposite. Once the ball finds its way into the pocket with that particular number, the respective players get paid.

All 38 numbers are identically arranged on the wheel, thus, the ball has an equal probability to settle in any of the divisions.

Roulette is a game in which players place bets on where a ball will land on a circular wheel that contains dozens of different numbered pockets. On an American roulette wheel layout, you will see 38 pockets in total: the numbers 1-36, as well as 0 (zero) and 00 (double zero). Each of these pockets is exactly the same size, meaning all numbers are equally likely to be hit on any given spin. The zero and double zero are painted green, while the remaining numbers are evenly split between red and black.

European Roulette vs. American Roulette

Basically, the similarity between the two variations of Roulette game is that both are casino games and are played by both professional and newbie in the gaming world. The two games have rules, strategies, and methods of play. The rules, strategies, and methods are similar with very subtle differences. Another similarity is that both are gambling games. Players can win in either of them and can also lose. This covers about all the simple similarities between the two variants.

European Roulette and American Roulette

The best way to immediately spot the difference between European and American Roulette is to look for the green pockets on the Roulette wheel. If there are two pockets, you are definitely standing in front of an American Roulette table. If however there is only one, it’s probably a European Roulette table you are looking at. Still, there are more differences between the two games.

The following table provides a comparison of the differences between European and American Roulette games:

  European Roulette American Roulette
Invented France, 17th century America, 19th century
Zero Pockets Single Double
Number of Pockets 37 38
House Edge 2.7% 5.26%
Average Payout for 100 97.3% 94.74%
Outside Bets Table Layout Split between two long sides On one long side
Dealers at Table Two (croupier+ table umpire) One
Game Pace Slower Faster

1. Game Layout

One of the major differences between the American Roulette Wheel and European Roulette Wheel is the layout of each of the games. The American roulette features 38 pokers on the wheel while the European roulette features 37. Pockets refers to the destination where the ball lands. The reason for the difference in the number is basically because the American version of the wheel has two zeros, that is, one ‘0’ pocket, and another ’00’ pocket.

The European variant on the other hand has only one ‘0’ pocket. Other than these differences, both roulette variants have 18 black pockets and 18 red pockets each. Apart from the ‘00’ difference, the American roulette wheels also has varying sequence when compared to the European roulette variants. The wheels for American roulette function in counter clockwise order of numbers. If you understand the game, it will be easy for you to differentiate the two because the different types of roulette are accurately laid out to ensure that the evens, and odds, blacks and reds are accurately distributed.

2. House Edge

This is another major difference between the American roulette wheel and the European roulette wheel. This is the manner in which the variation in the pocket numbers impact the house edge from the beginning to the end of the game. It is essential to point out that this is the crucial factor that determines the choice of players when it comes to choosing the type of roulette to play.

When it comes to American roulette wheel, the house edge is usually about 5.26% which is almost the double of the European variant. The technical reason for this is because of the fact that the American roulette wheel comes with the ‘0’ pocket and ‘00’ pocket. This means that when a player places a bet, the house has a greater advantage in the game, especially when even money bet is involved. Based on the fact that payouts strategy is the same across the different formats of the game, players have better chance at winning when playing at a European roulette wheel where the house edge is quite lower than the American roulette wheel.

For the European roulette wheel, the house edge is about 2.7%. The reason for this is because the existence of the ‘0’ on the wheel offers better odds for the player when he places a bet. This means you are better off playing at the European roulette wheel to increase your chances of winning. Of course, the difference is not much since it is just one pocket. However, if you want to win on the long run, the seemingly slight difference makes a lot of difference on whether you win or not. The odd of winning at American Roulette is 1 in 38 but with the European roulette, it is 1 in 37.

3. The Exception to the House Edge

No doubt, the house edge reduces the bankroll of every average player slowly. It is like a fee on bank transaction where you get charged for every transaction you conduct, whether you lose the transaction or you win. However, professional players in roulette systems games can predict the accurate winning number. With this, the odds in favor of the player increases significantly which means winnings happen more regularly than the norm.

As a matter of fact, the precision of prediction can be very high to the point that instead of 2.70% house edge, the player gets an edge of up to 120%. In this case, it doesn’t really matter the specific wheel that a player is playing at; whether European or American because the player still has a huge edge over the house. So if you are playing with a roulette computer, the variant of the roulette game is not such a major issue for you.

It all depends on the computer with the most predictable spins and the one that produces the biggest player edge. No doubt, the house edge is a factor, but the spin prediction is a more important factor when it comes to choosing between American roulette wheel and European roulette wheel.

4. Odds and RTP

Some players dismiss the difference between American and European Roulette, thinking “how much of a difference can one pocket on the Roulette wheel make?” but a quick look at the statistics show that the European Roulette odds and RTP (Return to Player) add up considerably to the benefit of the player. If you are interested in compering odds, RTP and other game rules and features, there are many other exciting Roulette game types which are definitely worth exploring!

5. Game Rules

Technically, the basic rules of roulette games are the same across all the variants of the game. However, there are specific steps that the players can take when they are playing at European roulette table as opposed to the American roulette table. When playing at the European roulette wheel, there are two different advantageous rules that the player can engage. The first rule is the ‘En Prison rule’. This allows the player to have an additional spin when they place even money bet and the ball lands in the ‘0’ pocket.

Taking advantage of the En Prison rule can drastically reduce the house edge to as low as 1.35%. Secondly, players can make ‘call bets’ when playing at European roulette table. The ‘call bets’ are the kinds of bet that a player announce to the dealer instead of putting the chips on the roulette betting tables, just like you would in a regular betting. It is important to mention that the call bet is usually reserved for a time when you want to take a complex betting action. A call bet includes Red Split and Neighbors.

6. Red Split & Neighbors

When playing at an American roulette wheel, a player can place a ‘5 number bet’. This bet will be placed on 0, 00, 1, 2, and 3. Looking at this ‘5 number bet’ you can understand why it is practically impossible to play this particular game on the European roulette table. Bets like these are generally risky because the player has given the house an edge of a huge 7.9% which is higher than another bet on the roulette wheel.

Even if you have a payout of 6:1, the ‘5 number bet’ is still one of the minimal profitable wagers you can make in the American roulette game. As much as possible, ensure you try to avoid this kind of betting. It is crucial to mention that some of the rules may not be applicable to the online variation of the game. Therefore, before you engage in either American roulette wheel or European roulette wheel, you should first check the rules that are applicable and the ones that are not.

One of the most interesting aspects of playing at the roulette wheel and table is the idea that sometimes a roulette wheel may not be perfectly balanced. Whether because of a flaw in the creation of the wheel or due to damage accumulated from usage, some wheels may gradually begin to favor some numbers over others. If this bias is in any way significant, it is then possible for players to take advantage of this and hold an edge over the casino.