Hands down, roulette is one of New Zealand’s most popular casino plays. And we’re pretty certain the rest of the world agrees as there’s just no denying the entertaining charm of this classic casino game. But, let’s cut right to the chase. When it comes to roulette, the conversation often spins to European versus American. Spoiler alert, we’re siding with Euro. Allow us to explain.
If you’ve ever watched roulette, the anticipation is palpable. The decision of each bet, the slow rolling of the ball, a croupier closing bets and in a few moments, declaring a winner while all eyes turn to the table to see where chips lie! And if you’re one of those watchers, it’s high time you got in on the action. Roulette at its core, is a very simple game to learn.
On the European roulette wheel, there are 37 pockets the ball can land in. And the goal of this game? To predict which one of those pockets the ball will roll into.
First, let’s give you the lay of the land. There’s a wheel where the ball rolling action happens, and a felt betting table where wagers are placed. Since there are 37 pockets on the European roulette wheel, there are 37 straight up number bets you can make. Numbers 1 to 36 are either red or black, while the zero calls a green pocket home. Place a chip down to wager and wait for that spin to slow down and the ball to drop. You win if the ball falls into a number you’ve bet on. Easy right?
A few specifics. There are inside and outside bets ranging from single numbers to a collection of numbers, to simpler colour pocket bets. Don’t worry, the grid itself is quite intuitive betting wise, you’ll merely need to get the hang of where to place your chip if you’re betting in bulk.
And before we let you go, meet the croupier. He’s in charge of the table bets, the ball dropping and the declaration of winners, not to mention the payouts if you’re playing LeoVegas Live Casino! Now, let’s deep dive into some specifics to help you get into the groove.
We’ve already established what makes European roulette stand out from American roulette. The European wheel has 37 pockets (0 + 1-36), while the American wheel has 38 (0 + 00 + 1-36). On the betting grid, numbers 0-36 each get their own square, black or red. Zero always gets a green space, but you’ll find it up top away from the overall red/black scheme. This collection of bets are referred to as inside bets – given they’re all made on the inside of the betting grid.
Taking a closer look at the betting table, you’ll see further divisions – these are your outside bets. They’re usually clearly labelled especially for bets like red or black, odd or even and high or low, that pay even money.
We can’t talk about the European wheel without a comparison to the American roulette wheel.
The American roulette wheel houses two zero pockets, 0 and 00, while the European roulette wheel, shared by the French, houses only one. While this may not seem like a monster difference, the truth is, it significantly lowers the house edge from 5.26% to a respectable 2.7%. While it doesn’t affect each bet made at the table, statistically speaking, it can be helpful for your long term play.
And that, my friends, is a big deal. Get a little more settled and you’ll find the wheel itself has its numbers sequenced differently, and in live casino games, the wheel is often a centrepiece rather than situated at the table’s end.
The goal of this game is to predict which pocket the little ball will drop into. Each spin of the wheel signifies one betting round. When each betting round opens, wagers are placed on the betting grid. Red? Black? A single number or a collection? It’s all up to you, and as you’ll find out reading on, there’s a lot of options at bay. Make your bet by placing a wager on your desired number(s).
Once the croupier starts that wheel spinning and the ball rolling so to speak, the betting window closes and it becomes an anticipation packed waiting game for the ball to find its pocket and a winner to be declared! If you win, your bet is paid out immediately. If you lose, well, chips are cleared away and another spin begins.
Right off the bat, European Roulette offers better plays. Let’s take the wheel and its 37 pockets versus the American roulette’s 38. Already, that’s a 1 in 37 chance versus a 1 in 38. And with those basics under our belt, let’s get into the types of European roulette bets available.
Many roulette game labels stem from the betting grid itself. Inside Bets refer to the options of bets made on the inside of the grid – where the numbers lie. On the contrary, outside bets fall outside of the grid and are mostly limited to enjoyable double up broader bets.
Straight Up, 35:1
The best payday on the wheel, it’s a single number bet made by placing a chip in the number’s square.
Split Bet, 17:1
Two numbers bet on simultaneously by placing a chip on the line that connects them. So yes, they need to be adjacent on the betting board.
Street Bet, 11:1
Three numbers bet on simultaneously that are connected on the betting grid. If you’re looking at the grid, think of these sets as upward rows. Example, placing a chip on the outer bottom line of 1 would cover you for 1, 2 or 3.
Corner Bet, 8:1
This is a four number bet, aka squad or square. Place a chip where the four numbers intersect on the betting grid.
Double Street or Six Number Bet, 5:1
A Six Number bet basically covers two Streets. So, similar to placing a Street bet, drop your chip on the outer border of the lowest number, on the line that connects the two rows.
Top Line, 8:1
Unique to European roulette, this bet covers 0, 1, 2 and 3. To bet, place a chip at the corner of 0 and 1, or 0 and 3.
A three number bet, specifically on 0, 1 & 2, or 0, 2 & 3. To place this trio bet, a chip needs to go down where the three intersect.
Basic but beautiful, you’re simply betting on the colour pocket the ball ends up in, red or black. Remember that there’s one green pocket for the zero in play, so it’s not quite a 50/50 shot! Placing a bet is quite self explanatory as there will be outside boxes labelled or coloured red and black. Simply place a chip in the box you’re wagering on.
You’re simply betting on the number being odd or even, however, the zero could pop up and it’s neither! To place a bet, simply drop a chip in the outside box labelled Even or Odd.
You’re wagering on the winning number being high or low. Low constitutes numbers 1-18 while high covers 19-36. And zero does it's usual thing here and qualifies you for a win on neither! A High or Low betting box is where your chip will go to wager on this one.
If a Street Bet is a row, then looking at the grid crosswise gives us three columns, each a series of 12 non sequential numbers. To place a bet and cover ⅓ of the wheel, drop a chip at the end of the column of your choice in the ‘2 to 1’ box.
Covering 12 sequential numbers, there are three dozen to choose from. They’re divided into three on the grid and are bet on by placing a chip on their respective boxes, labelled 1st 12 (1-12), 2nd 12 (16-27 and 3rd 12 (25-36).
Unique to French and European roulette, call bets or announced bets allow you to bet on sections of the wheel.
Voisins du Zéro (neighbours of zero), 17:1
This wheel section covers numbers 27, 13, 36, 1, 30, 8, 23, 10, 5, 24,16 and 33. That’s 17 numbers total, covered with 9 chips in a combination of split, three number and corner bets.
Le Tiers du Cylindre (thirds of the wheel), 17:1
Six chips are needed for this collection. They’ll be placed as split bets covering 12 numbers total, that lie opposite to the Voisins bet on the wheel; 27, 13, 36, 11, 30, 8, 23, 10, 5, 24, 16 and 33.
Jue Zero (zero game)
A miniature Voisins du Zero, it includes numbers surrounding zero - two to the right and four to the left; one chip bets on 0-3 split, one on 12-15, one on 32-35 and a straight up bet is dropped on 26.
Those poor leftover numbers not included in Voisons or Tiers come together in this bet. It covers 8 numbers with 5 chips in a mix of straight up and split bets. Split bets for 6/9, 14/17, 31/34 and a straight up bet on 1..
A bet that uses the ‘final’ digit as a commonality in a collection of numbers. For example, if you’re lucky number is 3, you’d bet on 3, 13, 23 and 33. All wagered as straight up bets paying 35:1.
We know that inside bets will enjoy much larger payouts when hit, but as you can see, the odds stack up the less numbers you’re banking on. With greater risk comes greater reward, indeed! For this reason, we like to urge beginners to start with outside bets. Yes, they offer lower payouts but there’s nothing wrong with a slow bankroll build.
Getting a grasp on the odds is a great strategy to playing roulette!
Straight Up covers one single number on the grid, paying 35:1 with 2.7% odds.
Split Bet covers two numbers, pays 17:1 with 5.4% odds.
Street Bet & Trio covers three numbers, pays 11:1 with 8.1% odds.
Corner Bet & Top Line, covers four numbers, pays 8:1 with 10.8% odds
Double Street covers six numbers, pays, 5:1 with 16.2%.
This next series is known as the Outside bets, and are even bets. But keep in mind that while they may seem like a 50/59 shot, the zero factor takes it down slightly below that mark.
Red/Black, 1:1 at 48.60% odds
Even/Odd, 1:1at 48.60% odds
High/Low, 1:1at 48.60% odds
Column, 2:1 at 32.40%
Dozens, 2:1at 32.40%
As we’ve hammered home hopefully, the main difference and player advantage of choosing European roulette is the house edge, thanks to its single zero pocket and 37 number wheel. All in all, this single pocket difference drops the house edge from American roulette’s 5.3% to a lower, and acceptable, 2.7%.
The main difference, which is always the talk of European vs American roulette, is the lack of a second green pocket. The European roulette wheel houses a single zero for a total of 37 pockets, while the American wheel houses two green pockets, a single and double zero, for a total of 38 pockets. As one would expect, this changes your chances of a single number hit from 1 in 38 to 1 in 37, and in doing so, significantly downgrades the house edge from 5.3% to 2.7%.
French and European roulette share the same wheel, both with a single zero green pocket. So, they also share that smaller house edge we’ve been raving about. But, if we’re talking optimal gambling, then it's worth noting that French roulette has two extra rules, La Partage and En Prison, that allow some winnings to be returned should the ball drop into zero. This gives it a greater overall advantage than European roulette!
First, let’s clarify one thing – odds versus house edge. European house edge is better than American, simply due to the green pocket difference. House edge is the ratio of the average loss to the initial bet and stands at 2.7%. Now the odds are your chances of winning on each single bet you make. In European roulette, both odds and house edge are to the player’s advantage. Take a single straight up bet for example. In European roulette, you've got a 1:37 shot while on the American wheel, a 1 in 38, yet both pay 1:35.
Yes, the Martingale system can be applied successfully in European Roulette. Here are some tips for applying the Martingale system in European Roulette:
Overall, the Martingale system can be effective in European Roulette if used correctly and cautiously.
There is no proven strategy for consistently winning at European Roulette. Roulette is a game of chance, and the outcome of each spin is entirely random.
European Roulette is one of the easiest variations since it has no additional rules and only has one zero pockets.
European Roulette is generally preferable to American due to its lower house edge.
While there is no clear winning strategy, there are some tips that might help win more long-term:
Learn more about roulette in other guides: