There are a few things to take into consideration when discussing the differences between European roulette and American roulette.
The main thing that you’ll probably already have noticed (if you know a little about both versions of the game) is that the American table has an extra zero on it – a double zero slot as well as the single zero. This does nothing for your chances of winning. In fact, it actually decreases it. What it does do, though, is significantly increase the odds of a house victory, which no-one wants, right?
American roulette tables significantly increase the odds of the house winning, giving them an edge of 5.26% compared to just 2.7% with European roulette, so it stands to reason that for the savvy gambler, Euro is the way to go.
Another contrast between the two forms is that the European version sometimes also plays the ‘en prison’ rule. This is handy to know if you ever come across a provider that has this particular offer in place, because it allows you to recoup some money you would otherwise have lost. Check before you play at any online casino.
How it works is that you bet an even-money bet – black/red, odd/even or another bet with odds of 1/1 – and, if the roulette ball lands on zero, then you have a chance to win back your stake. The catch? You have to place the same bet again and you won’t win anything back other than what you initially bet. But, hey, it’s better than nothing, right?
Note: Some casinos also offer the la partage rule, where a player only loses half of their stake if zero comes up.
Surprisingly, even the layout of the numbers on both wheels is different. On a European wheel, the order (clockwise) is as follows: 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; whereas on an American wheel the numbers line up as: 0, 28, 9, 26, 30, 11, 7, 20, 32, 17, 5, 22, 34, 15, 3, 24, 36, 13, 1, 00 (double zero), 27, 10, 25, 29, 12, 8, 19, 31, 18, 6, 21, 33, 16, 4, 23, 35, 14, 2.
Although this doesn’t necessarily make a difference to the position the ball will eventually land, some people can have favourite groupings or spots on the wheel they look to hit and the order could significantly alter their betting patterns.
The last difference that we’ll cover here is the five-number bet in American roulette. It’s not available with the European game, and that is because it is a bet that includes the digits 1,2,3,0 and 00. You might not be able to play it on a European table but that isn’t a bad thing when you look at the odds of winning. With this particular bet, the house edge becomes a massive 7.89%. It’s also the only bet that permanently gives the house a different edge to the other possible options on the table.
So, not that we can force you to play a certain way, but it would certainly be advisable that, if you can (especially using online casinos), you should always choose European roulette over American.