European vs American Roulette

What is the difference between European vs American Roulette?” – this is one of the most asked questions coming from players discovering the various types of roulette. And while the American vs European roulette is, basically, the same game, knowing the slight differences can really influence your winning chances and overall experience. Join us as we cruise through the main differences between the roulette games and closely examine how the things that set them apart play a role when it comes to winning chances. 

The main difference between European and American Roulette

Initially, when looking at American roulette vs European roulette, one could have identified multiple important differences. Most of them concerning extra bets and higher limits for the wagers that could be placed. Nowadays though, the two variants are almost identical when talking about how they’re played. The only differences comes from the number of slots each roulette game offers. European roulette is played with 37 numbers, while the American one has 38. The extra number on the American roulette wheel, the double 0 slot or 00, is the defying element when describing the differences between roulette variations, American vs European in particular. 

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How does the double zero influence odds?

The extra 00 slot on the American roulette has a heavy influence on the overall odds when a player places a bet. Because of this extra number, the house edge for American roulette is 5.2. That’s a very steep climb from 2.7%, the house edge for European roulette. While the 2.5% difference in house edge may not seem like a lot for beginners, we’ll illustrate it with an example. 

Assume you’re placing the same bets on both types of roulette over total gameplay of two hours and a bet amount of €1000 per hour. No matter if you win or lose in the two hours of playing, the casino will make €52 for European Roulette. That’s not a bad amount to “sacrifice” to get the possibility of winning thousands, right? What about €104 out of your total bet amount of €2000? Does this still seem reasonable? That’s the house edge for American roulette not to mention that the odds for every single bet drop as well. 

Bet types and payouts

Since we’ve mentioned the odds in American roulette wheel vs European, why not take examine them in detail? You’ve already observed how the house edge increases considerably due to the extra slot in American roulette. Well, the odds do the exact opposite and are lower compared the European version. To give you a better idea of what you’re dealing with in terms of odds for each roulette type, we’ve put together the tables below.

European Roulette

Bet type Payout Odds House edge
Straight 35:1 2.70% 2.70%
Split 17:1 5.41% 2.70%
Street 11:1 8.11% 2.70%
Square/Corner 8:1 10.81% 2.70%
Six Line 5:1 16.22% 2.70%
Column 2:1 32.43% 2.70%
Dozen 2:1 32.43% 2.70%
Red/Black 1:1 48.65% 2.70%
Odd/Even 1:1 48.65% 2.70%
High/Low 1:1 48.65% 2.70%

 American Roulette

Bet type Payout Odds House edge
Straight 35:1 2.63% 5.26%
Split 17:1 5.26% 5.26%
Street 11:1 7.89% 5.26%
Square/Corner 8:1 10.53% 5.26%
Five Numbers/Top Line 6:1 13.16% 5.26%
Six Line 5:1 15.79% 5.26%
Column 2:1 31.58% 5.26%
Dozen 2:1 31.58% 5.26%
Red/Black 1:1 47.37% 5.26%
Odd/Even 1:1 47.37% 5.26%
High/Low 1:1 47.37% 5.26%

 

Why is the house edge difference so important?

Now that you know the odds for various bet types on both roulette variations, it’s easier to go back and understand why the house edge matters so much. Especially over long sessions, you get worse odds and lower winning chances while playing the same game. Take a progressive system on odds/evens or red/black for example. Roulette American vs European odds stand at 48.65% vs 47.3% for each step of the progressive strategy you apply. Even if you experience a winning streak, you are still winning less money playing American roulette compared to its European counterpart.

The Basket Bet

Another difference between the two roulette types is the basket bet. This type of wager is only possible in American roulette, thanks to the extra slot. It refers to placing a bet on 5 numbers and it’s also called a top line. Many roulette experts define it as the worst bet in the game and we’re going to tell you why. On this five-number bet, you place your stake on 0, 00, 1,2, and 3 and when doing so, the house edge spikes at 7.9%. This type of wager has a 6 to 1 payout and the odds of it happening are just 13.2% so you should avoid it at all costs as there are other options with much better winning chances. 

La Partage and En Prison in European Roulette

These two rules of roulette are especially active in French roulette. However, there’s a good chance you will find the En prison rule applied to some European roulettes as well. This bet type applies to red/black or odd/even wagers and it offers players a chance to avoid losing their stake. If the ball stops on 0, the same bet is played again and if you win the second time around, you get the stake back. The simple fact that you don’t lose the initial bet when the ball lands on 0 offers a house edge reduction to 1.35%.

European vs American Roulette Verdict

After carefully analyzing the main differences between European and American roulette, it’s time to draw a conclusion. The lower overall house edge and better odds offered by the European version make it the obvious winner. When you also add the benefits of rules like En Prison and put them head to head with a Basket bet’s downsides, it further makes it clear you should stick to European roulette at all times.

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