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The differences between American and European Roulette

Profile Picture: Simon Young

May 8th, 2020

American Roulette and European Roulette may look the same upon first glance, but a closer examination reveals key differences between the two games.

The American Roulette wheel has an extra 00

You’ll be aware that the zero and double zero in American Roulette is generally bad news for the player. The exception is when you have placed a bet on the white ball landing there or took out a Five Number Bet (more of that later). All other bets on the table are forfeited.

In European Roulette, the numbers on the wheel are in a different order, and there is no 00 segment, only a single green zero. It’s a small distinction, but one, when you understand the nuances, that can make a significant difference to your win rate in the long term.

How so? We’re glad you asked. Read on.

European Roulette rules

With 37 pockets for the ball to land in, as opposed to 38 in American Roulette, the odds of the ball landing on a number you backed, let’s say 12, is one in 37 times, rather than one in 38. Instantly, your odds are better with European Roulette.

But there is another way the house edge comes down in the European version. The Europeans have something called 'En Prison', or 'In Prison' for want of a translation. This is good news for a player, and far from the misery of being imprisoned sounds.

If you had backed a 1:1 bet before the spin, perhaps you backed red or black, or odd or even, then you get a stay of execution if the ball lands on the green zero. All the other hapless players lose their bets, but you get to leave your bet where it is for another spin of the wheel.

It’s a quirk of the game that is one of the main European Roulette tricks to win – betting on even money in European Roulette is more profitable than the American roulette wheel.

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American Roulette, the five number bet

Here’s another difference between the American Roulette table and European Roulette. In the American version, you can make what’s called a 'Five Number Bet' – a wager which covers the numbers 1, 2, and 3, plus the green zero and double zeros.

On the face of it, this bet comes with a payout of 6:1, but sadly, look a little deeper, and you’ll realize this is the least profitable play in the American Roulette rule book. It comes with a whopping house edge of 7.9%, and that’s no fun after a while.

American Roulette vs. European Roulette

So, which version of this ever-popular casino game is best? It’s down to what you want from your roulette session. How to play roulette doesn’t change, but if you’re out solely to make money, or at least increase your chances of making some cash, then European Roulette is the way to go. The En Prison option, plus one fewer segments on the wheel, makes it a no brainer.

However, while it might be harder to win American Roulette – remember, we are talking small edges here – the game can be more fun. Entertainment mounts when you have more betting options. Many players routinely take advantage of their being two green segments by betting on both. The Five Number Bet also adds some variety.

As stated, there are differences in the house edge. In American Roulette, it is 5.26%, and in European Roulette, it’s 2.7%.

Why not try it for yourself?

You can play both versions of roulette at BetAmerica Casino. Check each game you play as some tables’ rules may vary. Specifically, be aware if you’re playing European Roulette or American Roulette.

Make sure to take advantage of the welcome bonus for new players and read about roulette strategy before diving in. And above all, have fun.


Win free spins every week in our BetAmerica Casino!

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