European Roulette Vs. American Roulette

If you were to stop a random person in the street and ask them what game they most associate with casinos, it is reasonable to assume roulette will be a clear winner. The game remains as popular as ever and for good reason. The excitement players feel when the roulette wheel spins and the magical moment of realisation, when the ball has landed in your favour can leave a lasting memory.

Invented by physicist Blaise Pascal in 1655, roulette is a French term meaning “little wheel.” The game gained its fame at the renowned Monte Carlo Casino in the 1800s but has developed distinct variations in different parts of the world. Considering the game is popular throughout the globe, players need to understand the precise game of roulette they are playing.

While roulette games come in three main categories, i.e., French, European, and American, the latter two versions are by far the most popular. Here, we will detail everything you need to know about these two roulette variants, hopefully answering every question you might have.

Key Differences

Although European and American roulette might look similar at first glance, players should be wary of many fundamental disparities between the two variants french roulette before placing their bets.

The European Version

In the European version, the croupier spins a roulette wheel with 37 slots, with numbers ranging from 0 to 36. The presence of only one zero is the major difference between the two variants. Due to the presence of only one double zero here, this means the house edge is relatively low.

The American Version

The American roulette version features a 0 and a 00. This means that American roulette has a total of 38 pockets. That said, this is considered unfavourable for the player overall. It can only be beneficial when a player bets on the ball landing on one of these two fields (0, 00) or if they make a Five Number bet (which is also a risky bet). Other than these cases, all other bets have a higher house edge and are consequently more likely to result in losses.



Total Pockets



Green Fields

1 (0)

2 (0, 00)

Red Fields



Black Fields



House Edge (%)



Unique Bet Types

Call Bets

Five Number Bet

Optional Rules

En Prison





How Does European Roulette Work?

As we now know, European roulette features a wheel comprising 37 slots, ranging from 0 to 36. The order of the numbers also differs compared to the American version, with only one green field carrying a 0.

In this version, players can place bets on the colour (black or red), any number or a range of numbers, or whether the outcome will be even or odd. Players can also place call bets by placing chips on the corresponding sections of the table.

Each betting option has varying chances of winning and corresponding payouts. For instance, placing a straight-up bet (on a single number) means there is a low probability of it happening (2.70%). Moreover, it pays out 35:1.

The betting options for European roulette are subdivided into two groups: inside and outside bets. While inside bets result in higher payouts, they have relatively lower chances of winning. On the flip side, outside bets offer lower payouts but better chances of winning.

Unique Features

One of this variant’s unique features is the “En Prison” rule, which lets players keep their even-money bets for the next spin if the ball lands on 0. If the bet wins on the next spin, the player receives their original bet back but does not receive any winnings. European roulette also uses the La Partage rule, which gives back players half of their even-money bets if the ball lands on 0.

How Does American Roulette Work?

American roulette comes with 38 pockets numbered 1 through 36, plus an additional green field of 0 and 00. Many who know how the 00 affects the odds love the challenging aspect of this variant. Players simply place their bets on the betting table, which features a corresponding layout to the wheel.

Similar to the European variant, there are numerous types of bets in American roulette, including inside and outside bets. Inside bet bets are placed on specific numbers or combinations of them, while outside bets involve broader categories such as odd or even, black or red, or low or high numbers. Since each outcome pays out at even money, i.e., 2.0, players double their money if successful or lose their bet if unsuccessful.

Unique Features

The main feature of American roulette is the 00 pocket, which increases the house edge and, as a result, slightly reduces the odds of winning for the player. Another unique feature is the “Surrender rule,” which lets players give up half of their bet if the ball lands on 0 or 00. The “Five Number” bet also appears in the American variant, covering five numbers, including 0, 00, 1, 2, and 3.

Comparing the Odds of Both Variants

Below are the odds of both variants compared side by side:

European Roulette

American Roulette

In the European variant, the odds of winning on any given bet are 1 in 37; in other words, the house edge is 2.70%.

When playing American roulette, the odds on any given bet are 1 in 38, which means a house edge of 5.26%.

How do these Roulette Odds Impact Strategy?

The above odds can significantly impact a player’s strategy. With slightly better odds in the European version, players can focus on outside bets like red or black, odd or even, which, as touched upon earlier, offer a higher probability of winning but a lower payout.

In contrast, American roulette players willing to take risks can try their hand with inside bets, which have a lower probability of winning but better payouts. However, learning the ins and outs of the American variant is recommended before taking such risks.

Strategies, Tips, and Common Misconceptions

When it comes to playing both versions of roulette, you can consider several strategies and tips to make the most of your experience. We have separately offered the tips for both variants to make it easier for you. So, without much further ado, the tips are as follows:

Tips for European Roulette

  • Opt for outside bets like odd or even, red or black, or high or low numbers. While the payouts for these are relatively low, these bets have a higher probability of winning and have the potential to prolong your gaming session

  • Set a practical roulette budget and never stray from it. Select an amount of money you feel comfortable losing and build a strategy designed to make your gaming session last

  • Be aware of the En Prison rule. This rule lets you keep your even-money bets for the next spin if the ball lands on zero. It is entirely worth checking if this rule applies to the game you are playing

Tips for American Roulette

  • Like in European roulette, outside bets are more likely to be successful despite offering lower payouts. It might be more thrilling to chase more significant wins, but your roulette session is more likely to end sooner

  • Steer clear of the Five Number bet, i.e., 0, 00, 1, 2, and 3, with a high house edge of 7.89%. It is usually recommended to avoid this bet altogether

  • Understand the higher house edge. Many roulette players believe that a bet on red or black, or even an odd number, is a 50/50 bet. This is not the case since the 0 and 00 are present, giving the casino a house edge of 5.26%

Common Misconceptions, Debunked

There are several myths about roulette, some of which are widely believed despite being completely false. Below are a few general misconceptions related to roulette:

All Roulette Wheels are the Same

This myth is entirely false because, as established, the wheels in European and American roulette differ by the amount of numbers they have. The European version has 37 slots, while the American version carries 38. This has an impact on the casino's house edge.

The Existence of Hot and Cold Numbers

There is no such thing as hot or cold numbers in american roulette wheel. Each spin is independent of the previous one, and the outcome is entirely random. It is common for players to think that a red number is due, for example, but when the wheel is spinning, the odds of roulette never change.

The Game of Roulette Can Be Beaten

Many believe a betting system such as the Martingale strategy can either help or guarantee a win. Some specific tips you can follow, like the ones we have provided above, are designed to make your roulette experience more enjoyable, but no system can guarantee success in casino games.


Below are a few commonly asked questions regarding roulette:

What is European roulette?

European roulette is a variant that features a wheel with 37 pockets, including a 0 pocket.

What is the standard roulette in Europe?

The standard European roulette wheel has 37 numbered pockets, famously known as the European variant.

What is the difference between American and European roulette?

The main difference that sets both versions apart is that the American variant has an extra 00 pocket on the wheel, which increases the house edge.

What are the odds of winning at European roulette?

The odds of winning European roulette depend on the bet placed. For instance, the odds of winning on a straight-up bet are 2.70%, while the odds of winning on an even bet, such as black or red, would be 48.60%.

Which roulette system is the best?

No single roulette system is universally considered the best. Different systems work better for different players based on their goals, playing style, experience, and risk tolerance. Any system that claims to have mastered or cracked the roulette game is false.