Roulette is without a doubt, one of the most popular casino games in the market, attracting the attention of numerous players around the world.
Different variants of Roulette have been developed since Blaise Pascal invented the game back in 1655, and by far the most famous ones are the European and American versions. Although the two flavours follow the characteristic format, they do differ in layouts, rules, bets and odds.
In this article, we’re going to explore the difference between the two variants and try to explain the advantages that European Roulette has over its American counterpart.
Layout – Differences and Similarities
The biggest difference between the two variants can be seen in the layout of each of these games. European Roulette has 37 numbers on the wheel, and thus 37 pockets where the ball can land, while American Roulette has an additional number, and therefore, a total of 38 pockets.
The variant favoured by players in the US, Asia and even the UK, has two zeros, a “0” pocket, which can also be found in the European version, and its own distinctive feature, a “00” pocket.
Apart from the pocket with an extra zero on it, the two variants have the same layout, consisting of 18 red and 18 black pockets.
However, we should point out that American Roulette wheels feature a different sequence when compared to European Roulette, as the numbers are set in the counterclockwise order. Still, all the odds and evens, as well as red and black pockets are distributed properly.
The way the numbers are set doesn’t impact the gameplay, but the fact that American Roulette has an additional pocket creates an important difference between the two variants, and for many players, a crucial one.
Is House Edge So Important?
The number of pockets on the wheel has a direct impact on the house edge throughout the game. As we’ve said, this is a very important factor for the majority of players when deciding which variant to play.
In European Roulette, the house edge is set at 2.70%, which means the Return to Player rate is 97.30%. The “0” pocket is directly responsible for this, as its presence tips the odds against the player, whenever a wager is made.
But in American Roulette, as the wheel has both the “0” pocket and the “00” pocket, the house has been given even greater advantage, especially when it comes to even-money wagers. In this variant, the house edge is 5.26%, and the and the return to player is set at 94.74%.
In practice, this means, you are more likely to win while playing European Roulette. Since the odds stay the same for wagering on red or black in both variants (35/1), this represents a huge and a very important difference.
After all, American Roulette didn’t get an additional green pocket by accident. No, it was a strategic move, designed to give the house a higher edge.