What is the Difference Between American and European Roulette?

Published on August 1st, 2006 6:56 pm EST

American vs. European Roulette

When most people think of the game of Roulette, they think of the wheel, chips and excitement over where the ball will land. Very rarely do they think of any kinds of Roulette variations. Few except Roulette aficionados realize that there are two types of Roulette (three if you count Progressive Roulette). But there really are two types, and though the difference may not seem big (a single number), it really does make a very big impact on the overall odds of the game, and therefore how often you may win.

American Roulette

This is the classic Roulette that is played in most North American casinos and online as well. It has a single zero and a double zero number in green on the layout and on the wheel. The overall house advantage in this game is 5.26%. While this may not seem like a whole lot, it really is a huge advantage, especially when you consider for games like Blackjack the house advantage is less than 1%. Though the house (casino) advantage is quite high, Roulette remains a mainstay at every casino and is extraordinarily popular.

European Roulette

This game is almost exactly the same as American Roulette, except that there is no 00 on the wheel or layout. There is only a single zero, which take the house advantage down from the 5.26% of American Roulette to only 2.63%. It really is quite amazing that such a small difference can cut the house advantage in half, but it really does. This is why it is advisable to play European Roulette over American whenever possible. Though it is not readily available everywhere, it is at some offline casinos, and an increasing number of online casinos are now offering it up as part of their repertoire.

Other Roulette Games

There are a couple of other Roulette games that should be discussed as well, as they are available at some online casinos similar to the ones you may be about to sign up for.

French Roulette is rather rare but some online casinos do offer it. The general concept is the same as European Roulette, but all bets are in French. Also, there is a series of 'called bets' where you simply announce to the dealer what bet you want placed and they will place it for you.

Roulette Royale is a standard game of American Roulette with a Progressive jackpot attached to it. If you hit a certain number or bet you can win the jackpot, which can range from a few hundred to several thousand or even hundred thousand dollars. As Progressive jackpots become a bigger draw online, look for even more casinos to start offering it soon (currently only a handful have this increasingly popular game).