Table of Contents
Types of roulette
Before you read about American roulette, you need a basic understanding of the different types of roulette. Here’s a very quick rundown of the big three:
The game you came here to read about. American roulette is almost the same as European roulette, but with one major difference. As well as numbers 1-36 and a zero, there’s also a double zero. This increases the casino’s house edge significantly.
The European roulette wheel is numbered 1-36 with a single zero. In some brick-and-mortar casinos, European roulette has a higher table minimum than American roulette, making it more exclusive. But when you play online, it’s easy to find European roulette.
French roulette is almost identical to European roulette, but it has a special rule where you can win some or all of your cash back whenever it lands on the zero. Because of this, the odds of French roulette are favourable compared to European roulette.
American roulette vs European roulette
Our experts are extremely clear in their preference between American roulette and European roulette – you should avoid American roulette wherever possible. The double zero makes it less likely you’ll hit any number, any section of numbers, red, black, even, odd, or just about anything else you can think of. There’s still a house edge in European roulette, but it’s smaller:
- American roulette house edge: 5.26%
- European roulette house edge: 2.7%
Why the double zero matters
Every bet in roulette is slightly skewered in favour of the casino, and this is because of the zero. For example, in European roulette, there are 36 numbers plus the zero. If you bet on odd or even, you have 18 chances to hit odd, 18 to hit even, and then there’s a zero which means both odd and even lose. The bet pays out at even odds.
If there were no zero, these odds and probability would be perfectly matched. With 36 numbers and 18 chances to win, even odds would be a true reflection of your chances. However, because there’s a zero, this decreases your odds from 50% to 48.6%.
1.2% less likely to hit
American roulette odds are even worse. In addition to the zero, there is also a double zero – two outcomes which reduce your odds of hitting the aforementioned bets. Using the odd/even scenario, the American roulette odds are 47.4%, or 1.2% less likely than in European roulette.
Whatever you’re betting on, the presence of a double zero reduces your odds of winning.
When to play American roulette
So, if American roulette odds are inferior to European roulette, is there ever any time when you would want to play American roulette? Yes, is the answer.
Here are three scenarios where you may want to play American roulette:
If you’re playing free roulette, there’s absolutely no harm in trying American roulette. Bear in mind that American roulette odds are different to other variations of the game, so you won’t get an accurate representation of European roulette by playing American roulette for free. But this is arguably a good thing; you’ll come in with lower expectations and be pleasantly surprised when you see your winning percentage increase!
At a brick-and-mortar casino
When you visit a physical casino, you may find that playing American roulette is the safer option. At some live venues, European roulette wheels are reserved for the high rollers, while American roulette has the lowest table minimums. If this is the case, you might want to play American Roulette, as you should never gamble outside of your bankroll.
When it’s American or nothing
Even at some of the top online casinos, the only option is American roulette. In some instances, you may not have the choice to play at another casino. For example, if you have a roulette bonus you want to use at a specific site. In this case, there’s no issue with playing some American roulette.
Where to play American roulette
Statistically, there’s no advantage to playing American roulette over the other variants – but you may still want to give it a go to see how it all works. If so, you can sign up to any of the highly recommended online casinos you’ll find on this page. Each of them offer multiple variants of roulette – including American roulette – and you’ll have lots of opportunities to try it for free, too.