The Difference between American and European Roulette

There are two different kinds of the incredibly popular roulette game. There is an American version of roulette and a European roulette, each with its special wheel and set of odds. In order to know which version individuals want to play, they must understand the difference between American and European roulette and the effects they have on the results of the game.

The Different Wheels

The main way American and European roulette differ is the makeup of the wheels. In American roulette, the wheel has the traditional numbers 1 through 36 in alternating red and blacks as well as two zero spots: the zero and the double zero. The European version, though, has only a single zero spot. Most casinos prefer the American wheel, while most players prefer the European version.

The Odds and Payouts

The difference between the wheels introduces a few alterations to the odds and the payout structures for roulette. For instance, because the American roulette wheel has one extra space, the house's edge is increased to 5.26%. The house edge on the European wheel is half that with only 2.70%, which gives the player a slight advantage. Because the house edge is so much lower in European roulette, the payouts are slightly lower for almost every hit.

Though the only difference between American and European roulette is the presence of the double zero, that single factor can dramatically affect the chance that players might win and how much they will receive when they do.