Breaking Down the Odds: Comparing European and American Roulette Variations

Breaking Down the Odds: Comparing European and American Roulette Variations

Breaking Down the Odds: Comparing European and American Roulette Variations

By Walter Hemphill, Editor at

When it comes to casino gambling, few games are as iconic and thrilling as roulette. The spinning wheel, the anticipation, and the possibility of hitting that big win all contribute to the excitement that players experience.

In this article, we’ll delve into the key differences between European and American roulette variations and break down the odds associated with each. Whether you’re a seasoned player or a beginner, understanding these variations can significantly affect your gameplay strategies and potentially boost your chances of winning.

European Roulette

European roulette is the original version of the game and is widely played across European casinos. The wheel consists of 37 pockets numbered from 0 to 36. The single zero (0) gives the house a slight edge, as it represents the only pocket that doesn’t contribute to any outside bets.

One of the significant advantages of European roulette is its lower house edge compared to the American variant. With only one zero, the house edge in European roulette is approximately 2.7%. This means that, statistically, players will lose around $2.70 on every $100 wagered over the long term.

An additional feature unique to European roulette is the en prison rule, sometimes available in high-end casinos. This rule allows players to recover their losses if the ball lands on zero, instead of losing the entire bet. Instead, the bet remains “in prison” for another spin, and if the subsequent round is a win, the initial bet is returned to the player. This rule further decreases the house edge, making European roulette even more favorable.

American Roulette

American roulette, on the other hand, is the version commonly played in Las Vegas and other American casinos. The wheel includes an additional pocket, the double zero (00), bringing the total to 38 numbered pockets.

The addition of the double zero pocket significantly impacts the odds and increases the house edge. In American roulette, the house edge jumps to approximately 5.26%, nearly double that of European roulette. This means that, on average, players will lose around $5.26 for every $100 wagered.

While American roulette may offer the same inside and outside betting options as its European counterpart, the presence of the double zero pocket reduces the likelihood of winning on these bets, making it a less favorable choice for players seeking better odds.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Which roulette variation should I play?

A: If you’re looking to maximize your chances of winning, European roulette is the better choice due to its lower house edge.

Q: What is the en prison rule in European roulette?

A: The en prison rule allows players to recover their losses when the ball lands on zero, providing an additional opportunity to win back their initial bet.

Q: Why does the presence of the double zero pocket increase the house edge?

A: The double zero pocket creates an additional betting option while simultaneously reducing the chances of winning on other bets. This lowers the overall player odds and increases the advantage held by the house.

Q: Are there any other roulette variations?

A: Yes, there are other roulette variations such as French roulette, which is quite similar to European roulette but comes with a few unique rules, and Mini roulette, which features a smaller wheel and fewer pockets.

Q: Can I use strategies to improve my odds in roulette?

A: While strategies can help manage your bankroll and enhance your overall gameplay experience, roulette is a game of chance, and the outcome of each spin is random. No strategy can guarantee consistent wins.


When it comes to roulette, understanding the variations and their associated odds is crucial for making informed betting decisions. European roulette, with its single zero, offers better odds for players compared to American roulette with its double zero. Remember, while roulette can be an exhilarating game, always gamble responsibly and within your means.

Hashtags: #Roulette #CasinoGames #EuropeanRoulette #AmericanRoulette #GambleResponsibly

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