Key Differences Between American vs European Roulette

Joseph Havens

Casino expert

Differences Between American vs European Roulette

Want to learn the actual difference between European Roulette and American roulette styles? While the two share much in common, they also boast some fundamental differences, as you’ll discover below.

Tracing the origins of Roulette


Roulette is a perennial favourite in online and real-life casinos worldwide. A true must-play for any casino goer, its broad appeal is linked to its high-risk/high-reward outcome. Canadian players are particularly attracted to playing Roulette in live casinos. They get a Vegas-level experience of 4K quality without travelling to the nearest land-based venue.

But the origins of Roulette belong to a time when online casinos were but a dream. It’s worth pointing out that both European and American variants originate in 18th-century France. Roulette was invented here as an adaption of the Italian game Biribi.

The game took off across Europe, finding its way to gentleman’s clubs and spa casinos across the mainland. Then, it was exported to the USA via French Louisiana.

European Roulette vs American – Main Difference in Roulette Wheels


The most significant difference is the wheel layout. American Roulette has an additional 00 (double zero), bringing the total number of pockets on the wheel to 38.

By contrast, the European wheel has just 37 numbers, with a 0 (single zero) but no 00. This is crucial to how the games differ as American Roulette’s extra 00 adds difficulty to the game. Other than this, payouts remain the same for all bets across both versions.

Both wheels also feature numbers in different orders. Although this doesn’t impact the gameplay in any obvious way, it’s a sure-fire method to spot which version you’re playing. The numbers are distributed so as to be as even as possible. Both games have 18 black and 18 red pockets on the wheel.

European Roulette vs American – Main Difference in House Edge

Casinos will always have the edge over players, but not all games are created equal. While the addition of 00 on the American roulette wheel may seem insignificant, it changes your odds of winning.

As there are 37 numbered pockets for your ball to land on when playing the European game type, the odds of the ball landing on your number are more significant than in American Roulette.

That’s simply down to there being fewer numbers on the wheel. For instance, if you backed the number 17, you have a 1/37 chance versus 1/38 with American Roulette.

The extra 00 drastically increases the house edge

With the European one, the house has an advantage of 2.7% (1/37). With American Roulette, that house edge rises to 5.26% (1/38). That’s nearly double. So, from the beginning, your odds are always better with the European version.

With American vs European Roulette, it’s all about the odds. While the payouts and bets for both European and American Roulette are the same, the extra number increases the house edge.

Optional “En Prison” Rule for European Roulette


The “en prison” (or “in prison”) rule is a unique difference between European Roulette and American Roulette. It applies only to the European version.

With this optional rule, even money bet that lands on 0 is held for an extra spin. Your money remains on the table for a free spin and another chance to win. This essentially means that betting on even money is a more lucrative means of winning.

Let’s look at this in detail

With “en prison,” if you back a 1:1 bet before the spin and land on zero, you can spin another wheel. In case you win on your next spin, you win your stake back! This can effectively reduce the house to 1.35%.

“En prison” is available at the discretion of the casino. Some online European games types do not integrate this feature. However, the Roulette casinos in Canada always contain a variant that plays by this rule. Still, as a new player, you should start with small bets until you get used to how it works.

Call Bets for European Roulette

Call bets (or called bets/French bets) allow you to place a stake on whole sections of the wheel. Call bets are roughly split into 3 fixed (Voisins du Zero, Tiers du Cylindre and Orphelins) and 2 variable sections (Neighbours and Final).

Call bets are a special category that is often used in high-stake real-life tables. They originate from players making their wagers by calling where they want to bet without placing the chips on the table. Call bets are traditionally accepted at busier, crowded venues where players cannot actually reach the table.

Popular call bets

One of the more popular call bets is Voisins du Zero or Neighbour of Zero. This includes all 17 numbers that lie around zero between 22 and 25. It takes just nine chips to place this bet, positioned between numbers on the wheel. Online casinos make call bets much more straightforward as you can place your chips with one simple click.

Be aware that these side bets do not mix well with most Live Roulette strategies. Systems like Martingale or d’Alambert rely mostly on even money bets with 50% chances of winning, so you run the risk of draining your bankroll if you progressively increase your stake on-call bets.

Number Five Bet for American Roulette

The five-number bet (or basket bet) is an American original that is not accepted in the European version. That’s because it makes use of both the 0 and 00 pockets. To place the bet, simply wager your chips on 0, 00, 1, 2 and 3. This is done by placing your chips on the line outside 1 and 0. Be warned – it is among the most challenging bets to win.

The odds are difficult because there are 38 numbers on the wheel with five chances of winning. The house edge for this bet is a staggering 7.89%. This is well above the roulette average, making it one of the most difficult wagers. All other wagers on 00 have a house edge of 5.26% to put this in perspective.

It’s best to avoid this bet when playing American Roulette

With a probability of just 13.16% and a payout of 6:1, it’s not worth the risk. Still, if you’re determined to try everything the American Roulette has to offer, you would benefit by doubling your bankroll with a first deposit bonus. But don’t choose your bonus based on the bonus funds you’ll receive alone. Read the fine print and make sure you won’t have to face substantial wagering requirements.

It’s ok to use the five bet once in a while for fun. Still, be aware that you will lose your money fast if you keep trying it. Balance out special bets like this one with safer even-money wagers to keep your bankroll for as long as possible.

Which Type of Roulette Is Better and Why?


There is no ” better ” game when it comes to European Roulette vs American Roulette. However, there certainly is an easier one. The European version offers players greater odds on a less complicated roulette wheel.

The whole American vs European Roulette debate boils down to odds. Otherwise, they’re almost exactly the same.

European Roulette has multiple advantages


You have greater odds due to the lack of a 00 pocket. You can also utilize the “en prison” rule to increase your odds further. Across the board, it’s a more lucrative game across all bet types. If you want to win more in your American vs European Roulette choice, the European one is the best option.

American Roulette still has its place


It may be harder to win, but it can be a lot of fun. More betting options, including the high-risk five bet, make for an entertaining experience. The house edge may be less in your favour, but the additional 00 can still be utilized for fun.

Both roulettes are available at most major online casinos – so the choice is yours!

Recommended Places Where You Can Play American or European Roulette


Here are 5 top picks for Roulette in Canada. Each provides a diverse roulette experience, with European, American and different varieties!

Casino American Roulette European Roulette

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Royal Panda



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