Roulette. It is one of the most popular casino games out there, and more of it is moving to the online world.
At the end of 2019, the global online casino industry was worth $54 billion. With that in mind, more casinos are getting in on the action, thus giving the online bettor more options for platforms to place their bets.
One option bettors could have is what type of game they are going to play. In roulette, the two most popular versions are American and European roulette.
So, for American vs. European roulette, which version is better? This article takes a stab at answering that question.
What Is the Same?
Before you know the key differences, first you must know what stays the same. Between the American and European versions of the game, you still have 36 regular numbers that you can bet on that are marked in red and black. Both also have a regular 0 pocket, which can cause some general bets to be lost.
So, when it comes to the regular numbers or placing even-money bets such as on odd, even, red, or black, you are trying to do the same thing in both games. Of course, there are other side bets as well, such as betting on columns or betting on the first 12 or last 12 numbers on the board.
The 00 Pocket
This is the main difference between American and European roulette, as the former has this 00 pocket on the wheel while the latter does not. There are 37 other number pockets on the wheel, so casual players of roulette may be wondering, does this one additional pocket make that big of a difference?
The answer is yes, it does make a difference. That one additional pocket causes the typical American roulette game to have a house edge of 5.26%.
What is the house edge for a typical European roulette game? The answer is it reduces by almost half to 2.7%.
In the gambling world, having a 2.5% edge difference is a big deal, as that can be the difference between making a profit from betting and losing money.
If you think about it, the 00 pocket is very disingenuous for the players because unless you bet on that number outright, you can lose a lot more bets than you can win around it.
For example, you would not win either a bet on red or a bet on black if the ball landed in the 00 pocket. You would also not win on an odd or an even bet, either.
Plus, the options to bet the first 12, the middle 12, or the last 12 numbers do not include the 0 and 00 pockets, which means odds are being taken away from you by having an additional pocket with those rules.
Beneficial European Rules
On top of the 00 pocket in the American version of the game, the European version of roulette has two distinct rules that pop up in some of their games that the American one does not have. These two rules can both benefit the player, but it is usually one or the other if either is in the game at all.
These rules are:
This is a rule that typically pops up in French versions of the roulette game, but it greatly benefits the player because on average, it reduces the European house edge from 2.7% to 1.35%, effectively reducing the house edge in half once again. That also makes it about one-fourth of the house edge of the American version.
The rule here basically gives European players a little insurance if the ball lands in the 0 pocket. What happens is if it hits 0, the house will give any bettors who had an even money bet on the table half of their money back.
Even money bets are ones that had 1:1 odds, so these would be bets that were on a red pocket, a black pocket, an odd number, or an even number.
So, let’s say that you put $10 down on the ball landing in the black pocket. In a European game with La Partage, you would get $5 back if the ball landed in the 0 pocket.
It is a big difference because it makes those even money bets a lot more alluring of a bet. After all, you would lose that bet outright in the American version of the game.
Some players may not be too drawn into getting half of their money back, but it is those little things in a game that can help your overall profit margin.
This is French for “in prison” and it is similar to La Partage except with one more twist on the rule. European houses that have this rule will allow bettors to pick what they want to do with even money bets if a ball lands in the 0 pocket.
The option is to either get half of their money back and enforce the La Partage rule or go with an alternative option of keeping that money on the table and letting it ride for the next spin.
So, for example, let’s say you bet $10 on black here again at a table with the En Prison rule. The ball lands in the 0 pocket and you have a choice to make. You have the option of getting $5 back or keeping the $10 on black and hoping it lands there on the next spin.
You can get half of your money back or get offered a do-over on your bet, which certainly decreases the house edge towards your favor.
Who Wins Between American vs. European Roulette?
When it comes to American vs. European roulette, the obvious answer is that European roulette is much more friendly towards bettors. This is especially the case if the latter has a La Partage or En Prison rule in place.
So, the advice here would be to go out and find that type of game. For more related information, check out other articles in our blog.