Guide on How to Play European Roulette

Online European Roulette Games

Roulette is a much more popular casino game in Europe than it is in the USA. So if you’re from the USA, and you’re new to the game, you might not know the difference between European roulette games and USA roulette games. And honestly, there’s not much of a difference: the gameplay is the same, the payouts are the same, the wheel is almost the same, and the table layout is almost the same. The single difference between American roulette and European roulette is the number of zeroes on the wheel. But in that single difference lies ALL the difference.

On an American roulette wheel there are 38 numbers. On a European roulette wheel, there are only 37 numbers. On both wheels, all the numbers (other than the zero’s) are colored red and black, in equal proportion. Half the numbers are red, and half of them are black. They’re also evenly divided between equal and odd numbers. Half the numbers are even, and half of them are odd. The house gets its edge in roulette by paying out bets as if there were no 0 on the wheel.

So a bet on any given number on a roulette wheel pays out at 35 to 1, which would be an even money bet IF there were no zero on the wheel. A bet on any odd number or on any even number, or a bet on red or black, pays out at even odds. But the odds aren’t even, because there’s always a chance that the ball might land on a zero.

European Roulette Odds

But this single difference has a tremendous effect on the odds in European roulette compared to the odds in American roulette. Clearly when you double the number of zero’s on the roulette wheel, you double the chances that something other than an even or odd number will come up. The same holds true with a bet on red or black; the zero’s are green, so doubling the number of zero’s doubles the odds that the ball won’t land on a red or black number.

Roulette odds are usually expressed in terms of the house advantage. The house advantage is just a percentage that indicates over the long term how much of any money put in action on a game will lose. The house edge on an American roulette wheel is 5.26%, which means that for every $100 you put in action on an American roulette wheel, you’ll lose $5.26 in the long run. The house edge on a European roulette wheel is only 2.7% though, which means in the long run, you’ll only lose $2.70 for every $100 you put in action.

The En Prison Rule in European Roulette

Actually I lied earlier when I said there was only one difference between American roulette and European roulette. I was simplifying the situation for beginners. Now that the difference between a single zero roulette wheel and a double zero roulette wheel has been explained, I can explain the other difference between European roulette and USA roulette: the en prison rule.

Any time a player makes an even money bet a European roulette table, and the ball lands on zero, the player either gets half his bet back, or his bet is “imprisoned”. If this “imprisoned” bet wins on the next spin, the player gets his original bet back. (He does not get any winnings in addition to the imprisoned bet though.) This reduces the house edge on a European roulette game even further, to 1.35%.

Online European Roulette Games

Almost all online casinos offer both American style roulette games and online European roulette games. Many online roulette players don’t know the difference in odds. But knowing what you now know about the difference between American roulette and European roulette, you’ll probably realize that when playing online, European roulette games are the only realistic choice.

There is simply no reason to ever play an American roulette game online when a European roulette game online is also available.