European vs. American Roulette: Which to Play and Why

Roulette is one of the most popular casino games in the world, known for its exciting gameplay and potential for big wins. However, when it comes to playing roulette, there are different variations available, with European and American roulette being the most common ones. Both variations have their unique features and slight rule differences that can significantly impact your overall gaming experience and chances of winning. In this article, we will delve into the differences between European and American roulette, helping you make an informed decision on which version to play and why.

The Basics of Roulette

Before we compare European and American roulette, let’s first understand the basics of the game. Roulette is a game of chance where players bet on where they think a small ball will land on a spinning wheel divided into numbered pockets. The wheel consists of alternating red and black colored pockets, with one or two green pockets reserved for the number zero (and double zero in American roulette).

1. Wheel Structure

The most noticeable difference between European and American roulette lies in the wheel structure. The European wheel has 37 pockets numbered from 0 to 36, while the American wheel has 38 pockets, including the additional double zero (00) pocket. This single extra pocket in American roulette increases the house edge, making it more favorable for the casino.

2. House Edge

The house edge is a mathematical advantage that the casino has over players, determining how much the casino expects to win from each bet over the long run. Due to the presence of the double zero pocket, American roulette has a higher house edge compared to European roulette. In European roulette, the house edge is approximately 2.7%, while in American roulette, it increases to around 5.26%. This means that, on average, you have better odds of winning in European roulette.

3. Payouts

Another key difference between European and American roulette is the payout structure. In both variations, players can bet on different types of bets, such as color (red or black), odd or even numbers, specific numbers, or groups of numbers. However, due to the extra double zero pocket, American roulette has different payout odds compared to European roulette.

In European roulette, a straight-up bet on a single number pays out 35 to 1. Similarly, a bet on colors, odd/even numbers, or groups of numbers has a 1 to 1 payout. On the other hand, American roulette offers the same payouts for most types of bets, except for a straight-up bet. In American roulette, a straight-up bet pays out 35 to 1, just like in European roulette, but the odds of winning decrease due to the extra double zero pocket.

4. Availability

When choosing which version of roulette to play, availability can also play a role. European roulette is the more widely available version, both in land-based and online casinos. Being the original version of the game, it has gained popularity worldwide. American roulette, on the other hand, is more commonly found in American casinos or online platforms specifically catering to US players.

5. Personal Preference

Lastly, personal preference should also factor into your decision-making process. Some players may prefer the challenge and higher risk associated with American roulette, despite the lower odds of winning. Others may find the lower house edge of European roulette more appealing, as it provides better long-term chances of profiting.


When deciding which version of roulette to play, it is essential to consider the differences between European and American roulette. While both variations offer an exciting gaming experience, European roulette generally provides better odds due to its lower house edge. However, personal preference and availability may also influence your choice. Regardless of your decision, roulette remains a game of chance, and it is always advisable to play responsibly and within your budget.

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