Roulette: America vs. Europe

Neophytes to a casino are often curious about the differences between American and European Roulette. On the surface, it’s fairly clear: the European Roulette wheel has one zero wile the American Roulette wheel has a double-zero spot in addition to one zero. What does this mean for you? It significantly alters the house edge in the game. It should be noted that while these are called “American” and “European” style, it’s still common to see both game types in brick and mortar casinos on the continent and in the US.

The European house advantage under the European Wheel is only 2.7% compared to the 5.26 advantage on the American wheel. The odds of any given number coming up on a single zero roulette wheel are 36 to 1. Compare this to the odds a standard American roulette wheel, which are 37 to 1. In either case, roulette pays out 35 to 1 for the bet, so it’s pretty easy to see how any casino makes its profit at a roulette table. This makes the house edge on American roulette 5.26%, which means for every $100 bet, a player will lose an average of $5.26. Since the odds are better on European roulette, the house edge is only about 2.7%, which means you’ll only lose $2.70 per $100 bet.

European-style roulette also frequently includes a rule called “en prison” or “surrender” where the house advantage drops even further. Using the En Prison bet, a player can either give up half the money he had bet and escape with at least the remaining half, or roll the wager amount over to the next bet. This is becoming more and more rare in brick and mortar casinos in the states and is virtually nonexistent in online roulette games.

When it comes to online roulette, you’re generally going to be experiencing a solitary experience, However, in real-world games, is one major difference between Europe and American roulette that is more aesthetic than anything else: European games feature each player holding the same color chips. Dealer and player memory are relied upon to keep track of whose bet is which. American casinos feature multi-color chips in play, making it so that a dealer only has to remember whether you have the red chips or the blue ones.

Payouts in roulette can be very lucrative indeed, but a willingness to walk away with your winnings is the key to any successful gambler. Keep that in mind when you’re playing and keep an eye on your bankroll. Once you hit a certain level that you’ve won, walk away for the time being and come back to the table with the same amount as you started with before. That way, you keep your winnings and minimize your losses.

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