European roulette vs American roulette

Of the maybe two dozen games that are successful in land-based and digital casinos, the usual suspects rise to the top, including roulette, poker and blackjack. Roulette has experienced success in both European casinos and among bettors in Western countries. There has long been a European vs. American roulette debate, which we will be discussing today. However, both versions of the game are popular on both continents.

The popularity of roulette goes back a long way, preceding many popular professional sports and classic board games. Historians believe it was in the early 1700s when primitive versions emerged. As sailors transported knowledge of the game around the world with them, it quickly became a popular gambling pastime.

Roulette has continued to be popular with many generations, surpassing cultural barriers and time zones. The reasons behind its immense popularity remain a phenomenon today. Ultimately, if you reduce it and chisel it to its basic form, it is a game of randomly picking numbers and hoping your bet comes in. The quickfire rounds help to keep people engaged in short bursts, which might be another reason behind its success.

Akin to a lottery, keno and other games, you essentially pick the number or numbers you think will come in and bet accordingly. Although American and European roulette share many similarities, there are also unique differences to consider, and we’ll review them all for you today. Let’s take a look.


Key differences

The double zero

American roulette has 38 individual numbered sections you can bet on, whereas the European version has 37. The only numerical difference on the wheel is the inclusion of a double zero on the American version, whereas the European one has a single zero only.

While the European version has one section for a single zero - the American one has the double zero directly next to it. This means that the overall chance is slightly higher for any number between 1 and 36, and if you bet on any of the outside bets, such as 1-18, evens or red, you’ll have a slightly smaller chance of payout than you would in European roulette.

Different wheel layout

The numbers on the European roulette and American roulette wheels are in a different order, which impacts certain types of bets. Starting from zero and moving clockwise, an American roulette wheel include the numbers in the following order: 0, 28, 9, 26, 30, 11, 7, 20, 32, 17, 5, 22, 34, 15, 3, 24, 36, 13, 1, 00, 27, 10, 25, 29, 12, 8, 19, 31, 18, 6, 21, 33, 16, 4, 23, 35, 14, 2.

Whereas on a European roulette wheel, the order of the numbers differs significantly: 0, 32, 15, 19, 4, 21 2, 25, 17, 34, 6, 27, 13, 36, 11, 30, 8, 23, 10, 5, 24, 16, 33, 1, 20, 14, 31, 9, 22, 18, 29, 7, 28, 12, 35, 3, 26!

European roulette: Rules and features

90% of the rules and features of European and American roulette are the same; only small nuances make them unique to their respective audience. Many land-based American casinos will have American roulette tables only, while some might have a pocket of European tables. Likewise, if you travel to Europe, you might have trouble finding American roulette tables, as the single zero version is more prevalent, but in terms of betting, the theories are predominantly the same.

Specialist bets like En Prison are specific to European roulette because they bring the single zero into play. If the table offers En Prison, you can keep your bet on the table if a zero comes in.

As long as it is an outside bet, such as red/black or odds/even, you can keep the bet on the table. If your bet does come in on the second attempt, then you get your stake back. La Partage follows a similar concept, but you lose half your bet if zero comes in. As the single zero is the only tangible difference, any betting strategies that revolve around it are the main thing to look out for. Essentially, everything else is the same other than the numerical layout of the wheel.

American roulette: Rules and features

Due to the significantly different order of numbers on an American roulette wheel, this means that there are different betting patterns. If you have a five number bet on American roulette, it includes the two numbers on the left and the two on the right-hand side. While European roulette is the same, because of the sequence, it results in a totally different outcome.

A neighbours bet on 12 includes 25, 29, 8 and 19 in American roulette; however, in European roulette, a neighbours bet on 12 would include 3, 35, 7 and 28. The completely different number order and the double zero are the only two tangible differences between European and American roulette.

As an additional green zero-based number exists, you can cover both zero and double zero on the wheel. This is a specific type of bet, and it is often used as insurance for a main inside or outside bet, which is exclusive to the American version. While some punters believe you receive a higher payout in American roulette because of the additional number, this isn’t the case. It just adds to the house edge.

Odds comparison

At 37/1, by far the highest odds go to those who bet on a single number outright. Of course, this is the trickiest choice, given the astronomical odds. If you’re a more conservative player, you can split your bet across two numbers by placing your chip between the dividing line on the table, with odds of 18/1. Alternatively, you can put it on the vertex of four numbers, which splits the bet four ways at 7/1.

Moving further outwards on the table, you can cover odds or evens, red or black or the first or second group of 18 numbers. All these bets will provide you with a roughly even split, but again, the inclusion of the zero gives the house the edge, and in American roulette, the single and double zero give the house a further edge. While the odds may be different statistically, you’ll receive the same payout, which is why many players prefer the European version.

Strategies and tips

As the American version has an additional pocket, many bettors believe there’s a chance of receiving a bigger payout — and this is perhaps the biggest misconception. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. This is something to remember if you ever find yourself having a few spins at an American roulette table — whether online or land-based.

You may hear of strategies like the Fibonacci or the Martingale, rooted in statistics and named after legendary mathematicians. While it might seem like an interesting philosophy, mainly due to the pioneering knowledge of those individuals they are named after, they won’t help you win, and they won’t give you an edge. Anybody who sells you an idea that there’s a way to give yourself an edge over the house or that there’s a roulette strategy that guarantees winnings isn’t telling the truth. It is a complete game of chance.

Our tip is to read up on responsible gambling. Given that you can’t tilt the odds in your favour, ensure that you are only playing roulette with money that you can afford to lose. Once you have done this, set up responsible time limits and make sure you stick to them.

One of the great things about modern-day digital casinos is that they give you all the tools to set these limits and play as safely as possible. If you believe you are developing an issue or viewing casino gaming as a source of income, you should speak to somebody who can help you address this problem.


What is European roulette?

European roulette is the original version of the game. The numbers around the wheel go from 0-36, and you can bet on individual numbers or groups of numbers on the table. Outside bets include red/black, odd/even, and the first 18 and last 18. You can also bet on any of the three dozen groups.

What is the standard roulette in Europe?

The standard roulette in Europe is European roulette. However, the nature of mobile app casino gaming and the emergence of the internet as a significant player in the industry has meant that you can find American or European roulette tables without leaving the comfort of your home. Although this option is more accessible, European roulette still retains dominance.

What is the difference between American and European roulette?

The two notable differences are each wheel's numerical layout and the double zero's existence in American roulette. By having both the single zero and the double zero, the American version has a more significant house edge and a lesser statistical chance of paying out on the same bets because of the added number.

Due to the wheel's layout, there are many wheel-based bets that are very different and involve a totally different sequence of numbers. We’d recommend acquainting yourself with the layout of each wheel before you start placing real money wagers.

What are the odds of winning a game of European roulette?

It depends on the bet you place. If you go for individual numbers, you can get odds of 37/1 on American and European roulette. Although the statistical chance is lower in American roulette because of the double zero, you still receive the same 37/1 payout. You can split across numbers and get odds of 8/1 or bet on the four corners of adjoining numbers for odds of 7/1.

If you bet on any of the first, second or third dozen, you will get odds of roughly around 2/1. You can also bet on columns (1, 4, 7 or 2, 5, 8, etc.) and they will return the same odds. Betting on groups of red or black, odds or evens or the first 18 or last 18 numbers will give you essentially a 1:1 payout, with a slight house edge because of the zero.

Which roulette system is the best?

In short — none of them. Roulette is a game of chance; there’s no skill involved, like in poker, for instance. Understanding that roulette is a game where you bet on numbers, and it is completely based on luck, this fact should be the first thing you embed into any roulette system. Use money you can afford to lose and understand the house always has the edge, and you can enjoy the game in its true spirit.

If you need additional information and would like to learn more about Roulette you can check out one of our blogs below:

  1. Roulette strategy guide

  2. Roulette bets and odds explained

  3. How to Play Roulette Online: A Beginner’s Guide

  4. Comprehensive guide to roulette numbers