American vs. European Roulette

european-vs-american-wheelWhen we look at the history of roulette, it is somewhat unclear where the game came from, but many believe it’s to have started with a wheel of fortune style game, which dates back to medieval times. The first variation of roulette as we know it today was created in Europe in the 17th century by Blaise Pascal, a well-known figure in the world of mathematics and science.

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When we look at the history of roulette, it is somewhat unclear where the game came from, but many believe it’s to have started with a wheel of fortune style game, which dates back to medieval times. The first variation of roulette as we know it today was created in Europe in the 17th century by Blaise Pascal, a well-known figure in the world of mathematics and science.

The game started out with multiple variations, including Italian roulette and big roulette, which was played with 38 numbers. There were also 18-number variations that was referred to as German or small roulette. The standard single zero European roulette variation was first introduced in the 18th century and quickly became popular in casinos across Germany and France.

In the same century the game also made its way to American borders when it was first introduced in New Orleans. However, the Americans had adjusted the game to include a bigger house edge by adding an additional zero and an eagle pockets that extended the house edge even more. The eagle pocket, representing liberty could not provide any winnings but instead it simple and landed in this pocket, everyone would lose. This variation also only had 28 standard numbers, a single zero, a double zero and the eagle pockets. Therefore, the house edge was much higher than modern variation.

Even today, the American variation of roulette has a higher house edge than European roulette as it still includes a double zero. This zero in roulette represents the house edge as the game provides winnings of 35:1 on 36 numbers, meaning if the game did not have a zero, the payout percentage would be 100%. Therefore, if you had to bet on every single number, you would not win or lose. Whereas if you bet on every single number with the modern game, you will lose the bets on zero as the payout is still 35:1, but there are now 37 or 38 betting options, depending on the variation of roulette played.


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Table and Wheel Differences

When you look at an American and European roulette wheel and table, you will find there are only small differences that changes the game. This is the course the American variation is based on the exact same rules as European roulette, but simply includes the additional zero pocket. To accommodate the additional zero, the Americans had to change around the numbers on the wheel as the single and double zero had to appear on opposite sides of the wheel.

When it comes to the table, you will find the same betting options are available in both European and American roulette. You can place both inside and outside bets on both tables and the same winnings apply. The only difference comes in at the top of the table as the European variation would only have a single zero covering the top whereas American roulette offers the double zero as well.

Surprisingly, it is still possible to use many different split betting options to cover both the zeros and the first three numbers as seen with European roulette. However, since there are additional numbers, it means your payout will not be the same as with European roulette.

European vs. American Roulette Popularity

Since European roulette offers a smaller house edge, it has become the preferred variation at both land-based and online casinos for players from around the world. Yet, American roulette remains a popular choice among professional players who prefer the additional challenge and lower house edge. There is no other reason why you would choose American above European roulette as the latter simply offers off the house edge.

American roulette provides a house edge of 5.12% due to the additional zero whereas European roulette comes in with 2.70%, meaning the payout percentage for European roulette is at an impressive 97.30% while the American variation is lower than some pokies by offering only 94.88%.

Online Roulette

With the introduction of online casinos, both of these variations have become more popular as players explore both options and find a game that they enjoy most. In addition to these dealer games, online casino game developers have also come up with new and exciting roulette variations that actually refer back to older roulette types.

This includes what is now called Mini Roulette, which actually resembles similar features as seen with German Roulette in the 17th century. The game offers the same rules features as European roulette as only a single zero is featured. There are only 18 other numbers, ranging from 1 to 18 and the payouts are half of the standard game. The benefit of this variation is that you can cover the table with fewer bets, allowing players to either wager less per round or simply increase the betting values of each round.

The online world has also introduced different gaming options on the full table, which includes double ball roulette that offers a similar layout but with many more betting options as to the balls are used in each round. It is possible to wager on the results of both balls, which introduces new winning opportunities and payouts.

Last Updated: December 17, 2018