The Difference Between European and American Roulette

Last updated:

November 30, 2022
image featuring a roulette wheel | american vs european roulette

You should know the difference between European and American roulette you bet on the game. Both versions have similarities (for example, what you bet on, such as the type of number, the color of the number, etc.). Still, there are some essential differences between the layout of the wheel (such as the double zero—which we explain in greater detail below), the use of the “en prison” rule in the European version, and more. Therefore, this article explains the similarities and differences between these two versions and offers other essential information to help you make bets.


What Is Roulette?

Before explaining the differences between the two versions of roulette, we want you to have a preliminary understanding of the game. The gambling game includes a roulette wheel that spins in one direction. This wheel contains compartments or pockets that are numbered and colored. A ball is spun in the opposite direction and eventually rests in one pocket. Thus, the bets are made based on where the ball lands. The rules of the game are explained later in this article. The roulette wheel contains the wheel and the betting layout, the section where players place their bets.


The Differences Between European and American Roulette Outlined

Here’s an overview of the differences between these two versions of roulette.


European Roulette Wheel Vs. American

The European roulette wheel vs. American wheel: the number of pockets. The pockets are the areas where the ball can land. Thus, the total number of compartments on the wheel in European roulette (also known as French roulette) is 37. There is one green pocket with the number 0. The rest of the pockets are black or red, and the pockets are numbered from 1 to 36 in a unique order.

The American wheel has a total of 38 pockets. Two of them are green and have the numbers 0 and 00. These pockets are also placed at opposite ends. Like its European version, American roulette also has black or red pockets with numbers on each compartment ranging from 1 to 36. The order of the numbers in American roulette is also different from the European version.


European Roulette Vs. American – Difference in Rules

There are some differences in the rules between these two versions of this game. The European one includes a unique rule, and the American version has a bet unique to it.


The En Prison Rule – A European Roulette Wheel Strategy

The “en prison (in prison)” rule is one of the significant differences in the rules of these two versions of the game and is also considered a European roulette wheel strategy. This rule prevents players from losing all their winnings when the ball lands on 0. This rule applies to even-money bets. An even-money bet is one in which the bettor can yield the same amount they put in their bet—a 50-50 bet.


So, the dealer (who manages the game) can choose to put a bettor’s stake ‘en prison’ if they make an even-money bet and it lands on 0. In that case, they can leave their wager (in prison) for the following roulette wheel spin, preventing the house from taking their stake. On this next spin, their gamble will be all or nothing, i.e., they either lose their stake or get their stake amount back in full. Thus, the better loses the total bet if the following spin results in the ball landing on 0 again or does not match the “in prison” wager. However, the bettor will receive their money back if the outcome of the next spin matches the bet.


The La Partage Rule

The La Partage (the divide) rule is present in both versions of roulette. The La Partage rule is one way to reduce the house edge (explained in detail later in this article), which is the amount of money the house wins.

Thus, dealers that use this rule apply it to even-money bets, including bets on odd or even numbers, color (i.e., black or red), or high (between 19 and 36) or low (between 1 and 18) numbers. So, when the ball lands on 0 or 00, the house edge becomes halved, allowing the bettor to get half their stake back.


American Roulette Rules Include a Unique Bet Type

One of the differences between the two versions is that American roulette rules include a specific type of bet called the five-number bet. This bet covers 00, 0, 1, 2, and 3. Bettors may choose this bet because it can offer a payout of 6:1. However, it can be disadvantageous to bettors because the house edge is higher than otherwise. It increases from 5.36% to 7.89%. There is an explanation on the house edge below.


American Roulette Vs. European Roulette Odds

American roulette vs. European roulette odds: the chances of winning and the amount you get in return can be much higher with European roulette. Therefore, American vs. European roulette payouts depend on a term known as house edge.

The house edge on American roulette is more significant. House edge is the term used to describe the advantage (in percentage) the casino or gambling venue has over you as you continue to play the game. Simply put, it’s the probability (in percentage) for you to lose your bet to the house (i.e., the casino).

The house edge stays at 2.70% for European roulette. Therefore, the return to the player is 100% – house edge. Thus, that is 100 % – 2.7% = 97.30%.

The house edge is 5.26% for American roulette for all bets other than the five-number bet. Therefore, the return to the player is 100% – house edge. Thus, that is 100 % – 5.26% = 94.74%. In the case of the five-number bet, the return to the player is 100 % – 7.89% = 92.11%.


Answers to Some Important Questions to Help You Make Your Bets Wisely

Below are answers to some essential questions to help you make your bets wisely.


What are the rules of roulette?

There are inside bets and outside bets in roulette. Inside bets pertain to the specific numbers on the roulette table, i.e., 1 to 36. While outside bets are based on the colors of the pocket (red or black) and whether the ball will land on an odd or even number. There are many different  types of bets in the game, and explaining them is beyond the scope of this article.

Thus, you can place your bet where the ball will land when the croupier spins the ball in the opposite direction of the wheel. The croupier collects losing bets based on where the ball lands and hands the payouts to winners. The significant difference in rules between American and European roulette are explained above.


What are some similarities between European and American roulette?

The nature of the game and most of its rules are the same between the two versions. The betting types are also primarily similar. However, the American version can include the five-number bet. The five number bet is also known as the basket bet.


Which version of roulette has a better chance of winning?

Bettors have a better chance of winning money in European roulette than in American roulette. European roulette has a house edge of 2.7%. Since the house edge is the probability percentage, the European roulette calculation is 1/37 x 100.

American roulette has a house edge of 5.26%. Since the house edge is the probability percentage, the American roulette calculation is 2/38 x 100. Moreover, the house edge can increase to 7.89% when choosing the five-number bet. Therefore, European roulette is the more profitable option in the long term.


Where can I play European or American roulette?

If you want to play roulette online with real money, you should consider BetOnline. It is licensed under the Republic of Panama, reliable among users, and has good customer service.


Which is more fun to play? European or American roulette?

This will depend on you. The chances for you to win bets in European roulette are higher than that of American roulette. On the other hand, American roulette can offer more challenges to players than its European counterpart. So, if you define fun as your chance to win, then European roulette is the answer. However, if you consider a challenge fun, then the American version is the one to choose.


Final Words

The most significant difference between European and American roulette is the cut the casino gets to keep. So, you have a much better chance of winning greater profits if you play the European version. That is why many users choose the European variation over the American one. The additional green pocket in the American version was created to increase the house edge, which is the probability that the house will win. So, be smart about which game you play because there is a useful rule in the European version as well.


clarify inside and outside bets a bit better and explain a bit more.




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