European Roulette versus American Roulette – the small, big differences

Online Roulette – a matter of choice

Whenever you set out to play roulette, whether live on the gaming floor or from home, via an online casino, you’re faced with a number of different options. You can play for high stakes or low stakes, and you can place just one bet or you can stay and play for hours as part of a lengthy gambling session. The possibilities are endless.
Specifically when playing online roulette, there’s another big decision that you have to make – do you want to play American Roulette game or European Roulette? In most land-based casinos, this decision is made for you, since most brick and mortar establishments focus on one type of roulette only. The beauty of gambling online is that the choice is yours to make. When you saddle up to play roulette and spin the virtual roulette wheel on Casino Tropez, there’s definitely both sides of the coin to consider carefully. We have collated all relevant differences, all pros and cons for you, so you can make an informed decision.

A Short History of Roulette Types

Correctly playing the odds is a must, so let’s begin by talking a little math. Everyone’s told from the very beginning that casino games are weighted slightly in the house’s favor. But how, exactly, is that the case? Many gamblers, even avid players in today’s online casinos, aren’t entirely clear on the odds. And thought the “real” math behind even a relatively simple game of chance like roulette is insanely complicated, there is a way for you to work with the odds in a simple and effective way.
Let’s start with the simple basics: A roulette wheel typically has 36 numbers you can bet on at any time. The game’s payouts reflect that – if you bet on one number, your chances of being right are 1 in 36, and you’re paid at those odds. If you bet on two numbers, it’s 2 in 36, or 1 in 18; three numbers is 1 in 12; four is 1 in 9, and so on. You will read more about the payouts later.

Except there aren’t actually 36 spaces on a roulette wheel. On a European wheel, there are 37, including one zero. Everyone loses when the ball lands on zero (unless you’ve bet on it). The presence of that one extra space throws off the odds and gives the casino their slight advantage. With each spin, you’re only getting equity from 36 out of 37 spaces – just a touch under 97.3%. That means each time you wager a dollar, you’re only getting back a theoretical 97.3 cents.
The American Roulette wheel tips the scales ever so slightly more in the online casino’s favor. There’s not just one zero to contend with – there’s two (but again, you can bet on either the 0 or 00 and win if you guess correctly). When recalculating, that means the casino’s got a higher edge and you’ll get a 94.7% payout.

Exploring the Differences 

The different odds, as detailed above, are the main distinction between American Roulette and European Roulette. There are other minor factors, though.
For example, the numbers from 1 to 36 are in ordered differently on both wheels. This doesn’t adversely affect your roulette betting odds, but it adds a little bit of a twist to the game-play. Especially if you are one of the players who try to “scan the sectors” (meaning to watch out for a part of the wheel that wins more often than others) you will need to be aware of the different setup.
Another difference is that in live casinos, European Roulette players can give their bets to a “croupier,” or wagering assistant, who will place bets on their behalf. Also, the European Roulette allows an optional “en Prison” rule: you get to spin the wheel again, if you placed an even-money bet, for example red or black and the ball landed on the zero. There are also “call bets”. These bets cover certain sections of the roulette wheel, for example the 17 numbers surrounding the zero. There are a number of those bets, all marked on the tableau.

Players of American Roulette on the other hand may make an additional street bet by placing chips on five numbers in a row: 00, 0, one, two and three. Of course this is impossible in European Roulette, which (as mentioned above) has only the 0 slot and not the 00 slot. This bet carries a different house edge than any other – 7,89% to be precise, the highest edge of any existing roulette bets. 

Get what you paid for – Payouts and winning chances

The most important factors, all history and math aside, are this: how likely is it that I win and what do I get for it? The answer lies, of course, in the payouts and winning chances, which are as follows:

As you can see, the European wheel offers slightly better winning chances. If you take a look at the graphic representation, you will see that these numbers hardly make a difference though – the highest difference is 1.28% percent the lowest only 0.07%. 

American Roulette or European Roulette - The Choice Is Yours

All in all, none of the above factors make for an earth-shatteringly different game. The differences between the two games are relatively minor. Even the slightly higher house edge in American Roulette is relatively negligible when playing for small amounts of money or over a short period of time. If you want to milk the statistics, you’ll have to head for a European wheel, but for most players it is simply a question of personal taste.
Ultimately, the choice is yours which variant of roulette to play. Either way, you’re one mouse click away from having a blast.


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