In my gambling career I have played nearly every game imaginable including three different versions of roulette: American Roulette, European Roulette, and Russian Roulette. You can find both the American and European versions of the game in Casinos all over the world, and at many places online. Russian Roulette is more commonly found in the basements of shady Vietnamese restaurants (or in your stomach if you order the fish head soup).
Unless you are Christopher Walken in, I recommend sticking to the American and European versions of the game. So what is the difference between these two casino classics?
It pains me to write this sentence, but if you want a better chance of winning, go European. This statement applies to no other facet of life, but is true for roulette.
- The house edge for European Roulette is 2.7%
- The house edge for American Roulette is 5.26%
Why is there such a difference? I’m glad you asked.
0’s Make All The Difference
In both versions of Roulette, there are red squares, black squares, and green squares. All of the numbers on the Roulette wheel between 1 – 36 are either red or black. The twist comes in with the green squares. In American Roulette, there are two green squares, 0 and 00. In European Roulette there is only one green square, 0. This means that in European Roulette, there are fewer total squares on the board, increasing the odds that the number you picked will win money.
Just take a look at the two different boards to see what I mean:
Notice the 0’s above the numbers 1, 2, and 3 in the upper left hand side of the board? In the American version, there are 2 areas with zeros, and in the European version, only one.
You may also notice that the European Roulette board has an entire other area arranged like a racetrack full of numbers. This area represents several other bets you can place based on how the numbers are setup on the wheel. To see a full explanation of what these bets represent, see the full game rules of European Roulette at Silver Oak Casino.