What is the difference between an American roulette wheel and a European roulette wheel? For some roulette players, this is basic knowledge. However, if you are just starting out playing roulette online, the difference between American and European Roulette might not be apparent. Fortunately, with our guide, you can learn the differences.
Over the following few sections, we will look at the fundamental things that separate the two games and explore the odds, probability and payout changes that occur. Let us start straight away by looking at the main differences as we delve deeper into our American vs European roulette guide.
- 1The key differences between American Roulette and European Roulette
- 2Best online casinos where you can play European roulette 
- 3How does the 00 impact the odds, payouts and the house edge?
- 4The bets you can find in American vs European Roulette
- 5Special rules for American and European Roulette
- 6American Roulette vs European Roulette - Which is better?
The key differences between American Roulette and European Roulette
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How does the 00 impact the odds, payouts and the house edge?
As explained, the doubled house edge is the primary American Roulette and European Roulette difference. The house edge is set to 5.26% in American Roulette and just 2.7% in European Roulette. This is clearly because when betting on a single number, you have a 1 in 38 chance of success in the former and a 1 in 37 chance of success in the latter.
However, how the numbers and options work regarding roulette payouts is not as straightforward as that. Despite the differing house edge and probability of success with different bet types, the payouts (in terms of money) remain the same in both games. You will always pocket a 35:1 prize for a straight-up, single number win in American Roulette and European Roulette.
American Roulette also uses its double zero in another way. In American Roulette, you can bet money on the zeros (known as a Five-Number Bet). We will look at that in just a moment. For now, though, one of the best ways for you to understand European vs American roulette odds (in particular European roulette odds) and house edges is to study the chart below.
Total Numbers Covered
Payout (in both games)
European Roulette Probability
American Roulette Probability
There is another option, which can be brought into the American vs European Roulette wheel debate. At this point, it is worth noting that there is also a game called French Roulette. For the most part, French Roulette is identical to European Roulette, albeit with fancy-sounding names for the different types of betting options. However, French Roulette allows the inclusion of the En Prison and La Partage rules. This potentially allows you to drop the house edge to 1.35%. In the following sections, we will show you how this is done.
The bets you can find in American vs European Roulette
Choosing American Roulette vs European Roulette can sometimes come down to the house edges involved. Your decision may also be based on the available bets, though. Let us explore these options next:
Both American and European Roulette allows you to place the same types of wagers for the most part. These consist of:
A few special bets also appear in each game. These include:
Both types of added bets require a fair bit of research and practice. Do not hesitate to read our guides on them to learn more about how they work.
Special rules for American and European Roulette
Earlier, we mentioned that in the battle between American Roulette vs European Roulette, there is a chance to lower the house edge. Now let us return to that and explain our reasoning in greater detail.
European Roulette and French Roulette are games that can commonly be played with the En Prison rule. If you place an even-money outside bet and the ball lands in the zero, then you can choose to leave your bet “imprisoned” for the following ball spin. If you win with the next bet, your stake is returned. In a manner, the En Prison rule acts as a second chance feature.
French Roulette has another feature, known as La Partage. This sees all even-money outside bets which land in the zero pocket, subject to the rule, and you will receive half your original stake back. Both the La Partage and En Prison rules allow French and European Roulette players to cut down the house to 1.35%, but only when playing even-money outside bets.
For the most part, American Roulette lacks these options. There is one exception. A scant few American roulette games (namely those based on Atlantic City rules) may have a Surrender Rule. This works in the same way to La Partage, in that if you land a single zero or a double zero on an even-money, outside bet, you will get your stake returned. This effectively cuts the house edge (again, only on specific bets) from 5.26% to 2.63%.
American Roulette vs European Roulette - Which is better?
In the grand scheme of things, when it comes to European roulette vs American roulette, the former is far more popular. However, there are reasons why some players prefer to opt for the latter. Let us take a final look at why:
Before you leave, take one last quick look at the key differences, and imprint them in your memory. This will serve you well when you decide what to play…
Choose American Roulette or European Roulette today
We hope that we have successfully answered your questions concerning “what is the difference between an American Roulette wheel and a European Roulette wheel?” There are reasons why you might choose to play an American Roulette wheel vs a European one, but we always find the latter (and French Roulette) more appealing. If you agree, you will find plenty of free European Roulette games online that you can play to practice. Moreover, do not hesitate to check out our general guide to playing roulette online for more information.