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American vs. European Roulette Difference

Roulette continues to fascinate and with the game available to more people like never before, the subtle differences between individual variants are now being noticed by a growing cohort of roulette players. Why is the American Roulette wheel adding an extra zero? Is it true that European roulette is generally a better game? 

All of these questions are asked a new, as players try to compare American Roulette vs European Roulette and determine if they are getting the shorter end of the stick. To help settle this debate and assuage concerns that you may be playing the “wrong” type of roulette, we have put a detailed overview of what roulette variants there are, with the original European Roulette and the later-day successor, the American Roulette.

American vs. European Roulette Difference

The Roulette Wheel: American vs. European

Right off the start you will notice that comparing American Roulette vs European Roulette wheel layout will immediately stand out by the virtue of the second zero that you will notice in the American version. This is really the major difference between the two, although the layout will also account for the second zero on the table as well.

Adding another zero means that the roulette house edge and American roulette odds are actually just slightly lower than those of European. The comparison stands at 2.70% against 5.26% in favor of the original – European wheel. Does this mean that American roulette is a bad game? Not in the slightest! 

House Edge Comparison

As we have mentioned, the house edge will be different for both games. The double zero means that people who play on the American roulette wheel layout have an extra zero to keep an eye out for, which will undeniably lead to some lower returns. 

This should not really dispirit you though, as on balance, American Roulette also offers a new type of five-number bets, and it similarly has a surrender rule, meaning that if you hit zero, you still get half your money back. Not all American roulette tables have this switched on, however. 

For the regular inside and outside bets, the American roulette odds are also going to be slightly lower. Not by too much, but this may add up over time. Regardless, the consensus is mostly clear that unless you are going to pay 1,000 rounds of the game in one sitting, the house edge difference may not have that much of an impact in the short term.

In terms of pure house edge, European Roulette offers 2.70% and American Roulette stands at 5.26%. 

Betting Options and Rules

Next up on American vs European Roulette, we have the clear similarities in the bets. Inside and Outside bets tend to be an exact match across both versions of the game. This means they are very easy to follow, and you would not have to know individual rules.

The same applies to the outside bets. Evidently, you will have a slightly smaller probability of turning a successful outcome because of the added zero. The other difference is that European Roulette doesn’t have any special rules. American Roulette does, i.e. the surrender rule that will split and give you back half of your money if you end up on a zero when you have bet on any of the green odds or outside bets. 

It’s a neat way to mitigate the house edge and perhaps give you a sense that there is more going on than in a roulette European game. The American version also has the five-number bet that features the two zeros and has a 6:1 payout as well as 13.15% chance to happen, which is actually not too bad!

Strategies for American and European Roulette

The good news that many of you would be excited about is that both American and European Roulette can be played based on the same strategies. Although you may adjust some of the finer stratagems, and especially those that focus on inside bets, the outside bets are fairly well covered by the same options.

The only thing to note here is that because of American Roulette payouts, or more specifically – the odds, you may hit the table limit playing with Martingale Strategy sooner. In other words, because the house edge is slightly bigger, you are at a higher risk to run out of betting limits and forfeiting your entire stake. 

In comparative terms, however, the risk of this happening is almost the same as European Roulette, but the law of large numbers suggests that you will be at a slightly higher disadvantage using Martingale in American Roulette compared to European Roulette. 

Odds and Probabilities

As you can imagine, there is a small variance between odds and probabilities in both American and European Roulette. The European roulette wheel is built to allow for a somewhat more generous gameplay. The payouts are the same when comparing European Roulette vs American, but the chances of producing the desired results are different, and again, in favor of the European version.

For the most part, the roulette wheel layout American Roulette uses means that you are a few percentile points less likely to get a straight-up bet, or even an outside bet. You can see more and understand how payouts in the game work by referencing the charts here. 

Tips for Playing American and European Roulette

Alright. So far we know a lot more about European vs American Roulette, and we can leverage this knowledge to help us make better-informed decisions. For one, the choice of strategy is vital. The good news is that the difference between American and European Roulette is just a few odds percentage points in the odds. This means that you can use the same core strategies across both games. In other words, Fibonacci, D’Alembert, and Martingale are all vital and applicable stratagems you can utilize on any European Roulette table, or its American counterpart. If you start betting on inside bets, though, you need to factor the double zero that appears on the US roulette wheel, so be careful.

Next, you have the way you manage your bankroll. Bankroll management is equally important to helping you shape your game for the better. Whether you really on European roulette odds or want to take advantage of the American roulette layout, smart money management is the way to go. You need to keep track of how much you spend, and how much you bet, especially if you are using a strategy such as Martingale. 

Roulette Variants Around the World

There are many different variants of roulette. The roulette wheel American Roulette uses has served the basis of other games, i.e. games with two zeros. The European Roulette payout has also spawned a variety of versions around the world. Besides these two versions, you have French Roulette, Mini Roulette, Double Ball Roulette, Slingshot Roulette, and many others

The game and the many developers in the industry have not been satisfied with just one or two variants. Regardless, American and European Roulette continue to be the dominant force in the world. They are praised for their slick and streamlined gameplay, generous payouts, and the added fun factor that is brought on by American Roulette. 

If pressed, though, most people prefer to play French Roulette where the game comes with La Partage and En Prison rules, which further reduce the house edge noticeably. 

Which Variant to Choose?

Right now, you may be wondering: are all roulette wheels the same? We have mostly answered this, but the doubt remains – which version is better? We have run a quick breakdown of the pros and cons for both American and European Roulette to help you figure it out better.

European Roulette

American Roulette

+Great house edge

+Can be played in any casino

+Every strategy applies here

+Easy to play in practice mode

-Can get a little boring 

+Adds another type of bet

+Fairly popular option 

+Comes with a special rule for the zero

+It’s loved by the community

-Offers a worse house edge than European


Overall, the American roulette board has plenty going for it. The addition of a new type of wager is often cited as one of the reasons why players love to play this version of the game as well. It is quick, fast, and reliable. Yet, there are some undeniable facts that are hard to ignore. For one, the house edge in American Roulette is 5.26%, or almost double the 2.70% that European Roulette comes with.

Does this impact your gameplay by that much? It certainly shaves a few percentage decimals off your chance to win. It’s not game breaking though, and the game does have a brand new type of wager, a five-number bet, and the Surrender rule for its zero. You still need to check if all American Roulette games have it. Some inside bet strategies work on American Roulette although they are riskier. In the end, both are tremendous games. 

If you are new to roulette, maybe you would like to start with European Roulette while you learn the ropes of different strategies, how payouts work, and so on. There is no reason why you shouldn’t give American Roulette a shot either, however. It might be the game you like better from the two.