Roulette is one of the most iconic casino games in the world. There is no doubt that anybody who knows anything about casinos has, at the very least, seen a roulette wheel. The black-and-red wheel of the roulette often serves as a symbol of a casino, precisely because it is so recognizable.
What many might not know is that there are two distinct versions of roulette. The original version, which originates in France, and is often called “French” or “European” roulette; and the American version that spawned from the French in Las Vegas casinos.
Those who’ve experienced both versions will continue to argue for a long time about which is better. In this article, though, we’d like to discuss the differences and similarities, and help you come to your own conclusion.
The truth is that there isn’t much of a difference in the gameplay between American and European roulette. You can play both versions at gambling sites, like the Novibet roulette online casino. If you do that, you will discover that, in terms of gameplay at least, they are identical.
So, if gameplay is your primary concern, we would say that it really doesn’t matter which version you go with. However, there is a major difference that should be cause for concern when choosing whether to play American or European roulette.
The main difference is in the design of the roulette wheel. While many might say that the design is irrelevant, they will quickly change their mind once they learn the impact this design change has on the player odds and house edge.
In American casinos, the roulette table tends to have an extra component. You have the standard 36 red and black components, as well as the extra 0. However, American roulette also adds a 00, for a total of 38 fields, instead of the standard 37.
The addition of an extra field may not seem like a big deal at all. However, it actually impacts the house edge quite a bit. Whereas the European house edge is 1/37, the American one is 2/38. In other words, the house’s advantage is almost doubled in American roulette.
But, what does that mean? Well, it means that a player is much more likely to lose in American roulette than they are in French or European roulette. For that reason, most casual players tend to prefer the French version of the game, whereas hardcore gamblers stick to the American.
Though debates have raged about the viability of strategy in roulette, most agree that the game is entirely luck-based. Even Albert Einstein made such a claim. So, the importance of the house edge remaining smaller is obvious.
Historical Context and Evolution
The inception of roulette can be traced back to 18th century France, with the European version embodying the original design. This version was embraced across Europe, becoming a staple in casinos due to its simplistic yet captivating nature. The American version, however, emerged as gambling establishments in the United States sought to increase their edge and, consequently, their profits. This was achieved by adding an extra slot on the wheel, the “00”, which subtly altered the game’s dynamics.
The Significance of the Zero Slots
European Roulette features a single zero slot (“0”), which is what gives the house its edge. American Roulette goes a step further by incorporating an additional double zero slot (“00”). This distinction is critical because it directly impacts the game’s odds. The presence of just one zero in the European version offers a house edge of 2.7%, while the American version’s additional slot increases the house edge to approximately 5.26%. This near doubling of the house advantage makes American Roulette less favorable for players from a statistical standpoint.
Betting Strategies and Payouts
While both versions offer a range of betting options—from single number bets to odd/even and red/black—the increased house edge in American Roulette affects the expected payout for players. For example, betting on a single number in either version pays 35 to 1, but the probability of winning that bet is higher in European Roulette due to the reduced number of slots. As such, players often find European Roulette to be more forgiving over the long term.
The Role of the “En Prison” and “La Partage” Rules
Exclusive to European Roulette, the “En Prison” and “La Partage” rules offer players a chance to recover their stakes under certain conditions, further reducing the house edge. The “La Partage” rule allows players to recover half of their even-money bets if the ball lands on zero, while “En Prison” allows the bet to stay in place for another spin, offering a chance to recover the bet entirely. These rules are not present in American Roulette, making the European variant more appealing to risk-averse players.
Psychological and Cultural Factors
The choice between American and European Roulette can also reflect a player’s psychological profile and cultural background. Some players are drawn to the American version for the challenge it presents, viewing the higher house edge as an opportunity to test their luck and strategy against steeper odds. Conversely, European Roulette might appeal to those who prefer tradition and potentially longer play sessions due to its more favorable odds.
In summary, while both American and European Roulette offer excitement and entertainment, European Roulette is generally considered the better option for most players due to its lower house edge and player-friendly rules such as “La Partage” and “En Prison.” These aspects not only enhance the player’s chances of winning but also contribute to a more enjoyable gambling experience.
Ultimately, the choice between the two depends on an individual’s risk tolerance, strategic preferences, and personal taste. Whether you’re drawn to the allure of American Roulette’s challenging odds or the classic appeal of European Roulette, understanding the differences between these two variants is key to making an informed decision and enjoying the game to its fullest.