Roulette was invented in the 18th century and it remains one of the most popular casino games in the world. Roulette is still played at thousands of land-based casinos in different countries, but many players also enjoy playing online roulette. You can also play roulette online at live casinos or play roulette games that use a random number generator to determine the outcome of each spin of the roulette wheel.
Wherever you choose to play roulette, one of your biggest choices will be whether to play European Roulette or American Roulette. These two games are similar in many respects but also have a few differences you may wish to consider before making your choice.
European Roulette Wheel
A European Roulette wheel has 37 different sections that are often referred to as pockets. These are numbered from 0 to 36, with the zero coloured green, whilst 18 pockets are red and 18 are black. The numbers on a European Roulette wheel are set out in the following order: 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.
The numbers on a European Roulette table are the same as the numbers on the European Roulette wheel but are laid out in numerical order. The table is set out with the “zero” at the top with numbers 1-36 set out in 3 columns and 12 rows, with 1-2-3 at the top and 34-35-36 at the bottom.
European Roulette Rules
The person in charge of the roulette wheel is the croupier, sometimes referred to as a dealer. Once all bets have been placed, the croupier will spin a ball around the roulette wheel until it drops into one of the pockets, determining the outcome of all bets.
There are a variety of ways to bet on European Roulette, and these bets can offer a range of odds that will appeal to many tastes.
There are two main types of roulette bets which are inside bets and outside bets. Inside bets such as a bet on a single number are placed on the numbers on the table, whilst outside bets such as red or black are placed on different sections outside of the numbers. You can see all inside bets and outside bets highlighted in the two tables below.
Inside Bets in European Roulette
Straight Bet – A bet on a single number – 35/1
Split Bet – A bet on any two adjacent numbers – 17/1
Street Bet – A bet that covers all three numbers in a row – 12/1
Corner Bet – A bet that covers four adjacent numbers – 8/1
Line Bet – A bet that covers six numbers on two adjacent rows – 5/1
Outside Bets in European Roulette (h3)
Column Bet – A bet covering all 12 numbers in one of the three columns – 2/1
Dozen Bet – A bet covering either number 1-12, 13-24 or 25-36 – 2/1
Colour Bet – A bet on the ball landing in either a red or black pocket – Evens
Odds or Evens Bet – A bet on the ball landing in either an odd or an even pocket – Evens
Low or High Bet – A bet on the winning number being either 1-18 or 19-36 – Evens
American Roulette Wheel
An American Roulette wheel has 38 different sections or pockets. These are numbered 0, 00, and 1 to 36. Both the 0 and 00 are coloured green and the other pockets red and black. The numbers on an American Roulette wheel are set out in the following order: 0-28-9-26-30-11-7-20-32-17-5-22-34-15-3-24-36-13-1-00-27-10-25-29-12-8-19-31-18-6-21-33-16-4-23-35-14-2.
The numbers on a roulette table are the same as the numbers on the roulette wheel but are laid out in numerical order. The table is set out with the “0” and “00” at the top with the numbers 1-36 set out in 3 columns and 12 rows, with 1-2-3 at the top and 34-35-36 at the bottom.
American Roulette Rules
When you bet on American Roulette, the payout for any of the possible bets are the same as in European Roulette – so simply check the inside and outside bets listed above. The probability chance of them occurring, however, is slightly lower. You can view a full comparison table of the probability chances in both games here.
Similarities Between Both Roulette Games
There are lots of similarities between European Roulette and American Roulette, as both use a wheel, a table, have red and black pockets, and offer the same choice of inside and outside bets. The payout odds for these bets are also the same for both games – but there are some major differences between European and American Roulette that might influence which roulette game you choose to play
Differences Between Both Roulette Games
The payout odds for European Roulette and American Roulette may be the same, but the odds for predicting the correct result in each game are much different due to the European Roulette wheel having 37 pockets and the American Roulette wheel having 38 pockets.
The payout odds for picking a single number correctly are 35/1 but, as there are 37 pockets on a European Roulette wheel, the correct odds are 36/1. This difference is known as the house edge, which is 2.7% in European Roulette. If you don’t know what house edge is, it’s simply the percentage of profit the house or casino would make if every number carried the same amount of money on any spin of the roulette wheel due to them offering slightly lower odds than the true statistical outcome.
The payout odds for picking a single number correctly in American Roulette are also 35/1 but, as there are 38 pockets on an American Roulette wheel, the real odds are 37/1. This means the house edge in American Roulette is much higher at 5.26%.
This is the most important difference between European and American Roulette – and the odds suggest you have a much better chance of winning when playing European Roulette than you do when playing American Roulette.
But wherever you choose to play roulette, it’s also important to check the house rules, as some land-based and online casinos add their own rules or variations to offer a different experience than their competitors. Just make sure you acquaint yourself with any house rules before you play.
The thrilling world of online casinos has also seen many software providers create many new variants of European and American Roulette to increase the excitement of playing roulette even more. But no matter what fancy name the roulette game has, just remember the layout of the table and the number of zeroes should indicate whether you’re playing a version of European or American Roulette. Now you just need to crack on and start winning on the roulette.
BONUS READ: Celebrating 300 Years of Roulette
Ari Waknine was born in Brooklyn, New York and was the founder of iGamble Group, an online gaming critique firm that helps players pick online gambling websites that fit their profile, as well as, helping them to increase their winnings. He is also the founder of NewCasinos.org, and is strictly focusing on this project making stronger and better than ever.