Differences Between American and European Roulette

Differences Between American and European Roulette

Posted on February 26, 2024 by in Gambling
Differences Between American and European Roulette

Roulette, originating from France, is a famous casino game popularly known for its unique wheel and table layout. However, as it gained popularity across the world, variations of the game emerged, most notably the American and European versions. Both versions offer different player experiences and odds due to variations in rules, strategies, and the wheel layout. This comprehensive guide will detail the differences between American and European roulette, highlighting the gameplay, the house edge, and various strategies involved.

The Wheel

European Roulette Wheel

In European roulette, the wheel consists of 37 pockets: numbers 1 to 36 and a single zero (0). These numbers are not arranged in sequential order; instead, they are distributed across the wheel to balance the odd and even, high and low numbers.

American Roulette Wheel

Conversely, the American roulette wheel features 38 pockets: numbers 1 to 36, a single zero (0), and a double zero (00). The presence of an extra pocket significantly influences the game’s odds and house edge. Like the European version, the numbers are also not arranged in sequence.


Gameplay in European Roulette

The croupier spins the roulette wheel in one direction and releases a small ball in the opposite direction. Players then place bets on where they anticipate the ball will land. These bets can be placed on individual numbers, number combinations, or specific characteristics like color, odd/even, or high/low.

Gameplay in American Roulette

The gameplay in American roulette is fundamentally the same as in the European version, but the addition of the double zero pocket creates additional betting options. This introduces the “five-number bet” or “top line bet” exclusive to American roulette, where players can bet on the numbers 0, 00, 1, 2, and 3.

House Edge and Odds

House Edge in European Roulette

The single zero wheel gives European roulette a lower house edge at 2.70%. This means that theoretically, for every $100 wagered, players might expect to lose an average of $2.70.

House Edge in American Roulette

In American roulette, the house edge almost doubles to 5.26% because of the additional double zero pocket. Consequently, for every $100 wagered in American roulette, players can anticipate an average loss of $5.26.

Roulette Strategies

Strategies in European Roulette

The most popular strategy in European Roulette is the Martingale Strategy. Here, a player doubles their bet after every loss, meaning that a win would recover all previous losses. However, this strategy requires a substantial bankroll and has the risk of reaching the table limit quickly.

Another strategy unique to European Roulette is playing with the “en prison” rule. When a player places an even-money bet and the ball lands on zero, the player’s bet is “imprisoned” and carried over to the next spin. If the bet wins on the next spin, the player gets the original wager back, which effectively halves the house edge to 1.35%.

Strategies in American Roulette

While players can use the Martingale strategy in American Roulette, the higher house edge makes it less profitable in the long run. Instead, strategies like the Labouch√®re or D’Alembert, which involve increasing or decreasing bets based on previous outcomes, are popular.


While American and European Roulette are similar in many ways, the differences in wheel layout, house edge, and betting options significantly impact the player’s experience and potential winnings. European Roulette, with its lower house edge, offers players better odds than American Roulette. However, the choice between the two often comes down to personal preference and risk tolerance.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Which roulette version has better odds, European or American? European roulette generally offers better odds due to the absence of the double zero pocket, which reduces the house edge to 2.7% compared to American roulette’s 5.26%.

2. Can the same strategies be used for both American and European Roulette? Yes, but the effectiveness may vary. For example, the Martingale Strategy can be used in both versions, but it’s more effective in European roulette due to the lower house edge.

3. Is there any skill involved in playing roulette, or is it purely luck-based? Roulette is primarily a game of chance. However, strategic betting can influence potential returns over time. Nonetheless, every spin of the roulette wheel is an independent event, and past results do not predict future outcomes.

4. Why does American roulette have a higher house edge? American roulette has an extra pocket (the double zero), which increases the number of possible outcomes without increasing payouts. This gives the house a greater advantage.

5. Which version of roulette is more popular worldwide? European Roulette is more popular worldwide due to its lower house edge. However, American Roulette is prevalent in U.S.-based casinos.

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