The Roulette wheel has established itself as the most popular feature at many casinos across the globe due to the sheer sense of theatre it provides. The air is tinged with excitement, anticipation and hope as the red and black wheel spins, before sparking elation if the ball lands in the right pocket. Roulette is French for little wheel, and Gallic physicist Blaise Pascal is credited with inadvertently inventing the game back in 1655. It stormed to prominence at the flagship casino in Monte Carlo during the 19th century, but Roulette has evolved differently across the Atlantic. It is important for newcomers to grasp the key differences before diving in.
Historically, there were significant aesthetic differences between American and European Roulette, but nowadays the layout is pretty uniform across the world. There are now just a few key differences, but they are very important:
The European Roulette wheel contains 37 numbers, from 0 to 36, and that leaves a house edge of 2.3%.
The American Roulette wheel contains 38 numbers, as it also includes a double zero, meaning the house edge is 5.26%.
European Roulette also includes a rule called La Partage, which gives players half their stake back if the zero comes up when they place an even money bet.
Anyone weighing up European vs American Roulette needs to understand the importance of the double zero in the American version. In the European game, a croupier spins a wheel featuring 37 pockets and each one contains a number from 0 to 36. You simply bet on which pocket the small ivory ball will fall into once the wheel stops spinning. Each number carries odds of 35/1 and if your bet is successful you get your stake back. This means the house takes an edge of 2.7%, meaning the return to player rate is 97.3%.
An American Roulette wheel is virtually identical, but it features an extra pocket: the double zero. The same principles apply: you bet on which pocket the ball will fall into and each one carries odds of 35/1, while your stake is returned to you if successful. However, while the odds remain the same, your chances of success are diminished, as there is one extra pocket. This results in a house edge of 5.26%, and the return to player is 94.74%. You therefore stand a greater chance of winning while playing the European version of Roulette.
Fortunately, online casinos offer both American Roulette and European Roulette, so you can always find the one you want to play. To try them both out online before heading to a physical casino, check out one of the best roulette sites and give it a whirl