European Roulette is far better than American Roulette and with good reasons…
European Roulette has Better Odds than American Roulette Wheel
The differences between American and European roulette might not be subtle. But higher odds make European roulette more superior of the two. That means you are more likely to win on a European roulette table than the American version when you place the same bets.
For instance, the odds of winning a column bet on a European roulette wheel are 32.4%. Meanwhile, the probability of the column bet winning on an American roulette wheel is slightly lower at 31.6%. These subtle differences can add up over time.
A straight-up bet on both American and European roulette pays 35:1. However, you have a higher winning probability of 2.70% on the European roulette table.
The slim odds difference of 0.07% can make a significant impact, say after 500 spins.
Likewise, you have an 8.1% chance of winning a street bet in European roulette, while the probability of landing the same in American roulette is 7.9%. That’s a 0.2% difference in odds! Interestingly, a winning street bet pays at the same rate of 11 to 1 in both variants.
When it comes to even-money bets such as red or black, high or low, and odd or even, European roulette delivers higher odds of 48.64% than 46.37% promised by the American counterpart. In this case, the odds disparity is close to 2.3%, a substantial margin.
European Roulette Better Return to Player (RTP) Percentage
RTP is an important measure when it comes to gauging whether a casino game is easy or hard to win. It is a theoretical percentage of return that a player can expect over an extended period of play or hundreds of roulette spins. You want to play a casino game whose RTP is closest to 100%.
European roulette has an average RTP of 97.30% across all bet types. In theory, you can expect to recoup $97.30 for every $100 you wager over hundreds of spins. The casino will likely take only $2.70 after an extended playing session, say after 500 spins.
On the other hand, American roulette has a lower payback percentage of 94.74% on most bet types, ranging from straight-up bets to even-money wagers. If you opt for a five-line bet, which pays 6 to 1, you can expect the RTP on the American roulette to be even lower at 92.11%.
Because RTP tells you about your chances of winning, it is a no-brainer to think that European roulette is better than the American variant.
European Roulette has Lower House Edge
The house edge is a mathematical advantage wired into the roulette game to skew the odds in favor of the casino or gambling site. Casino games with higher house edges are less favorable to players because they give a greater advantage to the house. The house edge conversely corresponds to the game’s RTP.
If the game’s payback percentage is low, the house is high. The other way around is also true – higher RTP translates to the lower house edge and, by the same token, better winning odds.
As you may have already guessed, European roulette has a lower house edge at 2.70%. Over a long period of playing roulette, you can expect to lose to the casino around $2.70 in European roulette for every $100 you wager over that time.
In comparison, American roulette has double the house edge of the European version due to the presence of a double-zero green pocket on the wheel.
It can be Easier to Place Bets on the European Roulette Table
The sequence of numbers on the European and American roulette wheels is different. For instance, you will find nine high red numbers (19, 21, 23, 25, 27, 30, 32, 34 & 36) and nine low black ones (2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 11, 13, 15 & 17) on the right side of the zero pocket. On the left side of the 0, there are nine red numbers (1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 12, 14, 16 & 18) and nine high black ones (20, 22, 24, 26, 28, 29, 31, 33 & 38).
This is an excellent visual change compared to American roulette, making it easy for some players to place and track their bets. Note that some players may prefer the sequence of numbers on the American roulette wheel, although the presence of double-zero (00) can complicate things.
American vs European Roulette – What are the differences?
The most notable difference is that American roulette has a double-zero (00) pocket in addition to a single zero (0), while the European counterpart has only a single zero (0). In fact, if you eliminated the 00 from an American roulette table, you’d be left, more or less, with the European version.
Of course, American and European roulette have various other differences that ultimately influence gameplay, odds, and playability. They differ in the following aspects:
(1) The sequence of numbers on the roulette wheel
If you look closely at the wheels of both roulette variants, you’ll notice that double-zero is not the only difference that stands out. The order of numbers on the roulette wheels is also completely different.
The sequence of numbers on an American roulette wheel goes as follows:
- 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
Meanwhile, the order of numbers of a typical European roulette wheel is shown below:
- 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 number sequence in the layout of both roulette wheels does not have much in the way of impact on odds and gameplay. In fact, the configuration of the numbers on both roulette tables is the same.
The sequence of numbers on the European roulette wheel can be more visually appealing than the American layout. That is why some players prefer European over American roulette.
(2) Pocket number on the roulette wheel
Whether you play roulette at a land-based casino or online, you will first notice that American roulette has an extra pocket, the double-zero (00).
Specifically, the European roulette wheel layout features 37 pockets the ball can potentially land on. Those are 36 numbers, half colored red and the rest colored black.
There is only one green pocket for a single zero (0).
On the other hand, if you look at the American roulette wheel, you will see a total of 38 pockets. As with the European layout, the American wheel has 36 numbered pockets that are either black or red. The two additional green pockets for a single zero (0) and a double-zero (00).
(3) The Roulette House Edge
Another notable distinction between American and European roulette is in the house edge. We have already covered this. However, it is worth reiterating that most players prefer European roulette because it has a lower casino advantage than the American version of roulette.
The house edge from most bets on the American roulette wheel is 5.26%, which is more than double that of the European version, at 2.70%. If you opt for a five-line bet on the American roulette, you can expect to go against an even higher house edge of 7.89%.
The casino advantage on the European roulette wheel is uniform across all bet types. If you bet on the street, column, or the five-line, you can expect the house edge to remain at 2.70%.
The difference in house edge between American and European roulette is due to the addition of the double-zero pocket. The size of payouts and bets in both roulette games are exactly similar (that odd/even bets pay 1 to 1 in either game), so the extra green pocket decreases the player’s winning odds on just the American roulette.
(4) Additional betting rules
American roulette does not have extra betting rules beyond the standard ones. On the other hand, European roulette gameplay allows players to take advantage of the en-prison betting rule. Although it is optional, it can dramatically boost your winning chances.
Please keep in mind that some casinos, especially online gambling sites, do not offer the en-prison options on their virtual roulette tables. The betting rule is usually part of the French roulette gameplay, but it can also apply when playing European roulette.
What is the en prison rule? It is a betting rule that provides insurance for even-money bets in case of the ball lands on a single zero pocket. If that happens, your even-money bet pushes, meaning they will be left on the table, and you get another go in the next spin.
(5) Ability to place call bets
Another significant difference is that you can place call bets in European roulette. On the flip side, you cannot call bets on the American roulette table. Also known as announcement bets, call bets are preset bets that cover particular sections of the wheel. They are also available in French roulette.
Examples of call bets include:
Neighbor bets – This bet covers the called number and the two others on either side. For instance, a zero (0) neighbor bet covers 0, as well as 3 and 26 on the left side and 32 and 15 on the right side.
Voisins du zero – This bet covers 17 numbers surrounding 0, from 22 to 25. That’s 22, 18, 29, 7, 28, 12, 35, 3, 26, 0, 32, 15, 19, 4, 21, 2 and 25.
(6) Ability to place a five-line bet
This is an aspect where European roulette is inferior to American roulette, which offers a five-line bet. The bet covers 0, 00, and numbers 1, 2, and 3. It pays 6 to 1 and has one of the highest house edges of 7.89%. The availability of this unique bet makes American roulette a little more exciting to play.