American Roulette or European Roulette

Savvy online casino roulette players consider whether they want to play American roulette or European roulette before they sign into their game. The differences may seem subtle but being prepared to play one or the other may make the difference in small, moderate or big payouts and no deposit casino bonus give-aways.

American / European Roulette

What’s the difference between playing a game of an American double 0 roulette or a European single 0 roulette wheel? Most casino advisors will tell you that the European wheel is a better option. It’s easier to win on a European wheel. So why do so many players vacillate between the two?

The odds are clear. The European wheel gives you better odds. If you bet $1 on a 37-pocket European wheel you will have lost, on average, about 1 unit after 37 spins. If you bet $1 on a 38-pocket American wheel, you will lose about 2 units, on average, after 37 spins. That means that you will lose almost double the amount of money on an American wheel as opposed to a European wheel.

Another way of looking at it is this: The bankroll that it took you one hour to lose in a game of European roulette will be gone in half the time if you play American roulette. That one pocket is highly significant. 

Things to Know

There are a few things to know about the two types of roulette wheels:


The layout of the two roulette tables is different. A European roulette wheel has 37 pockets – 1 zero pocket -- while the American roulette wheel has 38 – two zero pockets including a “0” pocket and a “00” pocket.   Both wheels have 36 numbered pockets – 18 black and 18 red.

Many people are unaware that the American roulette wheel has a different sequence than the European wheel. The American wheel goes counter clockwise to the order of the numbers. Other than that, on both wheels, blacks and reds and evens and odds are evenly distributed. 


The basic rules of European and American roulette are the same. However, players can take specific actions when playing European roulette that aren’t part of the American roulette game. Conversely, players can do things when playing American roulette that they can’t do when playing European roulette.

In European roulette  you can make ‘call bets’ – wagers that are announced to the dealer – as opposed to placing your chips on the betting table 

In European roulette there’s a “En Prison” rule, which allows you to spin again if you placed an even money bet when the ball lands on ‘0’. This allows you to reduce the house edge to only 1.35%!

When playing American roulette you can place a ‘five number bet’ in which you place your wager on 1, 2, 3, 0, and 00. Payouts are 6:1 but the house edge on this bet is 7.9% which makes it a very risky bet. Most casino advisors suggest that you avoid this bet but it’s an option if you are feeling like taking a chance here or there.

House Edge

Now look at the house edge. The house edge is pretty small, just a few percentage points of your total bet. But if you add up the house edges on multiple games, it adds up. For instance, if you transfer $1,000 to your friend via a bank, your friend will receive most of the transaction fee but the bank takes its cut so your friend doesn’t receive the entire amount. Now, if you transfer that sum back and forth, the bank’s transaction fee will add up and by the 100th transaction, there’s not going to be much of the original $1000 left. 

Same thing with the casino’s house edge. The house edge slowly erodes your bankroll. That’s why it’s important to check out the House Edge before you make your choice. 

Some Examples

To get a more rounded picture, we can look at some examples:

If you’re betting on Reds / Blacks (colors) with a 1:1 payout, your chance of winning on a European roulette wheel is 48.65% with a House Edge of 2.7%.  Your odds of winning on an American roulette wheel are 47.37% with a house edge of 5.26%. 

Evens / Odds bets and Lows / Highs bets are exactly the same. Where we see some major differences are with the 6 Numbers (6 line) bets where the European Roulette odds are 16.22% as opposed to 15.79% for American Roulette odds and Columns bets (with a 2:1 payout) in which the American roulette odds are 31.58% and the European wheel odds are 32.43%. 

Average Play

It’s a good idea to check out Roulette Average Play.  In Advantage Play (professional roulette) the system actually predicts the winning number. That increases the odds that the player will win. In these situations, wins occur more frequently.

The accuracy of predictions in roulette advantage play are high so that the player’s edge can be +120% or more instead of the traditional 2.70% house edge.

In an Average Play situation, it doesn’t matter if the wheel is American or European. You have a significant edge over the casino.

Roulette Computer

If you use a roulette computer and need to choose between a European or American wheel, which should you choose? Basically, you should choose the wheel that has the most predictable spins which then produces the highest player edge. Remember, the predictability of spins is the most important factor.

For players who aren’t using a physics system  to predict the winning number, you will probably want to go with the European wheel since the house edge is the same for every bet on each wheel.