American vs European Roulette

Roulette is one of the most popular games in the casino, and as such, several different roulette types have developed over the years. By far the most prominent versions of the game are European roulette and American roulette, each of which has their own supporters and detractors. Both games follow the typical roulette format. However, there are rules, odds, bets, and layouts that are specific to each variation.

In this guide, you’ll explore the ins and outs of both American and European roulette, get to know the difference between the two, and decide which one would suit your play style. Whether you’re a rookie player or an experienced casino-goer, this is vital knowledge to have for your next go on the wheel!

European vs American Roulette: Layout

The most obvious difference between European and American roulette is the respective layout of each game. More specifically, European roulette has 37 pockets (where the ball lands) on the wheel, while American Roulette has 38. This is because the American wheel has two zeros, a ‘0’ pocket and a ‘00’ pocket, whereas the European counterpart only has the ‘0’ pocket. Aside from these, both roulette types have 18 red pockets and 18 black pockets.

In addition to the extra ‘00’, American roulette wheels have a different sequence to their European counterparts. This is the counter clockwise order of numbers of an American roulette wheel. However, the different roulette types are precisely laid out to make sure that odds and evens, reds and blacks are properly distributed. Have a look at the chart below that compares both sequences of European and American Roulette.

House Edge

Another major difference between European and American roulette is how the variation in pocket numbers affects the house edge throughout the game. This is usually the main factor players look at when determining which form of roulette they want to play.

The house edge in European roulette is 2.70%. This is because the presence of the zero on the wheel tips the odds against you whenever you make a bet. For example, if you place a bet on red – with 18 red and 18 black pockets – you’d think you have a 50% probability of winning your bet. However, because the ‘0’ is green, the house’s odds of winning are slightly greater than 50%.

In American roulette, the house edge is 5.26%, nearly double that of the European version. This is because the American roulette wheel has the ‘0’ pocket and the ‘00’ pocket, meaning that the house has an even greater advantage when you bet, especially on even money bets. Given that the payouts remain the same across the different formats, you stand a better chance of winning when you play on a European roulette table, as the house advantage is that much lower!

European vs American Roulette: Rules

While the basic rules remain intact across the different roulette types, there are specific actions that players can take when playing European roulette as opposed to American roulette, and vice versa.

In European roulette, there are two beneficial rules that the player can make use of. The first is the “En Prison” rule, which allows you to have another spin if you place an even money bet but the ball lands in ‘0’.
By taking advantage of “En Prison,” you can reduce the house edge to as little as 1.35%!

Secondly, when playing on a European roulette wheel you can make ‘call bets’. These are a type of bet that is announced to the dealer, rather than placing your chips on the betting table as you would with normal bet. 

This is generally reserved for more complicated betting actions. Examples of a call bet include: 

On an American roulette table, you can place a ‘five number bet’. This bet is placed on 1, 2, 3, 0, and 00, which explains why you can’t play this on a European table! These bets are pretty risky as the house edge is a massive 7.9% – higher than any other bet on the table. Even with a payout of 6:1, this is one of the least profitable bets that you can make in American roulette and should be avoided.

It’s important to note that some of these rules may not be available in online versions of the game, so it’s always best to check before you play.

Which Roulette Type is Better?

So, which form of roulette should you play? That depends entirely on what you value in the game. European roulette offers the best experience for those who want to make money. With a lower house edge and the option of the “En Prison” rule actively helping the player, using a European roulette wheel is more likely produce a win than the American counterpart.

Now that you know the differences between American and European roulette, why not find out which one is right for you with our online roulette games!