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Casino news | Aug 17, 2021

European Vs American Roulette

By RTR Dennis

Modern Roulette Wheel 655x200

Before I sat down at my desk today I was planning on writing an article all about Roulette. The history of Roulette, all the different types, how to play the game and the various betting strategies that players use to win at Roulette and win big! however, as my research took me deeper and deeper into all aspects of Roulette I realised very quickly that this simple blog post would turn into war and peace very quickly so with that in mind I have decided that this will be the first of several posts about Roulette.

This first article will be about the basics of Roulette, the terms used and two of the most common types of Roulette, their similarities and their differences.

European vs American Roulette:


The most obvious difference between European and American Roulette is the layout of the numbers on the wheel. Let’s first look at American Roulette, American Roulette has 38 pockets (where the ball lands) on the wheel which is one more than European Roulette with 37.

This is because American Roulette has two green pockets one labelled “0”, which it shares with European Roulette, and another extra green pocket, labelled “00”. In addition to the extra ‘00’, American Roulette wheels have a different sequence to their European counterparts. However, the different Roulette types are precisely laid out to make sure that odds and evens, reds and blacks are properly distributed.

American Roulette features 38 pockets, including the numbers from 1-36, and two green pockets, one marked 0 and another marked 00.

Clockwise, the sequence of numbers goes like this;

0, 28, 9, 26, 30, 11, 7, 20, 32, 17, 5, 22, 34, 15, 3, 24, 36, 13, 1, 00, 27, 10, 25, 29, 12, 8, 19, 31, 18, 6, 21, 33, 16, 4, 23, 35, 14, 2

European Roulette features 37 pockets, including the numbers from 1-36, and only a single green zero pocket.

Clockwise, the sequence of numbers goes like this;

0, 32, 15, 19, 4, 21, 2, 25, 17, 34, 6, 27, 13, 36, 11, 30, 8, 23, 10,5, 24, 16, 33, 1, 20, 14, 31, 9, 22, 18, 29, 7, 28, 12, 35, 3, 26

As illustrated above there are some specific bets that only refer to the European wheel layout. In a casino these bets are placed by the dealer after a players orders him and gives him the chips. Then the dealer says the bet again, as to avoid any misunderstandings. The bets are:

Jeu 0 (Zero play)
Numbers covered: 12, 35, 3, 26, 0, 32, 15.
Bet: (4 chips) 1 chip on 0/3 split, 1 on 12-15 split, 1 on 26 straight up and 1 on 32-35 split.

Voisins du Zéro (neighbors of zero)
Numbers covered: 22, 18, 29, 7, 28, 12, 35, 3, 26, 0, 32, 15, 19, 4, 21, 2, 25
Bet: (9 chips) 2 chips on the 0-2-3 trio, 1 on each of the splits: 4-7, 12-15, 18-21, 19-22, 32-352 and 1 on 25-26-28-29 corner.

Orphelins (orphans)
Numbers covered: 17, 34, 6, 1, 20, 14, 31, 9
Bet: (5 chips) 1 chip on 1 and 1 chip on each of the splits: 6-9, 14-17, 17-20, 31-34.

Tiers du Cylindre (third of the wheel)
Numbers covered: 33, 16, 24, 5, 10, 23, 8, 30, 11, 36, 13, 27
Bet: (6 chips) 1 chip on each of the splits: 5-8, 10-11, 13-16, 23-24, 27-30, 33-36.

Numbers covered: five consecutive numbers on the wheel, the bettor indicates the middle number “and its neighbors”
Bet: 5 chips, 1 chip straight on each number


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.

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!

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.