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How is American Roulette different from European Roulette?


As in every face-to-face casino, also in online casinos, players usually choose these two types of Roulette, the American Roulette and the European Roulette, to test their luck at Roulette. The two versions of the game have small differences that however change the whole experience of the game as well as the bets, the odds and the winnings. 

The main characteristics of Roulette are not that the American is played more in America and the European in Europe, but that they have some modifications in the rules that I am going to talk about on this page. Here, you can find out the main differences between the two and make your best choice.

Presentation of The Two Roulette Variants

The origin of European Roulette dates back to the 17th century, and today it is even more popular than before. In which country it was invented, in France or in Italy, it is not entirely clear. However, European Roulette is played all over the world today. 

The most basic of Roulette is the wheel of course, which has 37 numbers, from zero to 36. Zero is the number that gives the house the advantage since it is excluded from most of the bets that can be configured. European Roulette is traditionally played at double tables but is currently played at individual tables that are attended by up to four dealers.

American Roulette

American Roulette is a modification of the European (French) and is so named because it has been created in the United States by casino owners who have decided to add double zero to increase the house edge. The numbers are 38, from 1 to 36, a 0 and a double 00. 

The American Roulette table is slightly smaller, and the multiple bet options are only on one side of the table. The bets are a little more due to the presence of the double zero, which is combined with the first four numbers; 1, 2, 3 and 0. 

Differences Between American and European Roulette

The differences between the two Roulettes are mainly in the mode and style of the game. American Roulette is played much faster, and the waiting time between rounds is considerably shorter. The American game table is smaller so that players can get to the numbers and place their bets. In the American, there is only one dealer who is usually on the opposite side of the table and does not use a rake to collect the chips but picks them up with his hands. 

In the European Roulette, there are at least two dealers, and one of them uses the rake for the chips. In the jacket, to mark the numbers bet a metal figure called Dolly is used. 


Number of Digits / Zeros

The main difference between the two Roulette wheels is, of course, the double zero. On the American wheel, there are 38 boxes for the numbers between 1 to 36, plus zero and double zero. The double zero function is the same as a single zero but adds more advantage to the casino by decreasing the odds of single and multiple bets. That way the double zero doubles the house edge.

Casino Advantage

It is the casino’s advantage that determines Roulette as a game of chance. Unlike other games of chance like online blackjack, the house edge in the Roulette with a zero is very small. The house edge is determined by the zero because this number does not belong to any of the single bets with a probability of 50 per cent. For that reason, American casinos have included double zero to increase their advantage. This advantage with the double zero is thus 2/38 = 5.26% which is significantly higher than 1/37 = 2.70%.

Arrangement of Numbers on The Wheel

As in the Americana, there is a double zero added, and this means a completely different arrangement of the numbers. Colours are also placed differently. In European Roulette, the neighbours of the single zero are 26 black and 32 red, while in American Roulette, the neighbours of the only zero are 2 black and 28 black.

In Prison – The Rule of European Roulette

The house edge in American Roulette is increased not only by the presence of the double zero but also by the absence of the In Prison rule. This rule is exclusive only for European Roulette (and of course French Roulette, which is almost similar to European Roulette) and describes the following situation:

  • When the ball lands on zero, all the multiple bets made by the player are naturally lost, but the Single bets are blocked (they stay in Prison) and if in the next round the ball lands on a number of these simple bets, then the bet money is released, but no winnings are credited. 
  • If the ball in the second round does not land on a single bet, then the blocked money from the bet is lost. In European casinos, the rule often applies to American Roulette as well and if the ball lands on zero then in single bets half of the money bet is recovered. In American casinos, the bet is lost automatically.

Which of The Two Roulettes is Better?

Now that I have discussed the major differences between the two Roulette wheels and highlighted their main characteristics, this question surely arises, which of the two variants is better for the player? My recommendation is that you should choose European Roulette whenever you have this opportunity. 

The land-based or mobile casino advantage, which is considerably low in the European with the single zero and the In Prison rule, gives you much more chances to win with single bets. The course of the game is also slower and not as hectic and promises a quieter and more enjoyable experience.

However, American Roulette can be much more fun. The game is a little faster and with more adrenaline due to the greater risk and the greater number of bets. Which of the two Roulettes should you choose to play? This depends on your own preferences and taste, and above all on the desire to have fun playing and gambling at the casino, while we expect more from future online casinos.