Understanding the Difference between European and American Roulette

Many online casino games have different variations from casino to casino. Roulette, however, has only two major versions of the game: the European and the American version. Both European and American roulette are played with a single ball spun on a single wheel, and players place their bets as to where the ball might land. The only difference is the number of spaces in which the ball might possibly land.

The Difference

In European roulette, players play on a roulette wheel with 36 numbered slots and a single zero slot, giving players 37 potential slots. American roulette has 38 with the addition of a double zero and the single zero. In both versions of the game, the zero is neither red nor black and is not considered an even number, so it cannot be counted in any of the even odds bets. This gives casinos a slight advantage over the player.

The Changed Odds

The addition of the zero and double zero help determine exactly what the house's edge is. If the ball ever lands on the zero or double zero, everyone loses, so casinos have a great incentive to use the American wheel. The American roulette wheel gives the house a 5.26% edge, while European roulette has a 2.7% edge. This makes it always better for players to play on European wheels, if they have the opportunity.

Both versions of roulette have considerable payouts for when players win a straight up bet, but the odds are always against players. For those who decide to play anyway, the European roulette wheel is usually the smarter choice.