Everything You Need To Know About American Roulette
Roulette is one of the world’s oldest gambling games and has entertained experienced players and novices alike for centuries. It is widely believed that the game’s origins can be traced back to 17th century France, where physicist Blaise Pascal introduced a primitive form of roulette when trying to create a perpetual motion machine.
By the 18th century, the game was flourishing across Europe, and it made its way across the pond to America around the same time. The earliest iterations of American roulette only featured 28 numbered pockets, as well as a zero, double zero and an eagle symbol.
The additional zero and eagle pockets provided the casino operators with an upper hand by increasing the number of possible outcomes – if the ball landed in these pockets, all bets would be lost. The traditional eagle pocket is no longer found on American roulette tables, with the wheels now only featuring numbered pockets.
As the game continued to grow in popularity, operators in Europe sought out ways to gain an upper hand on their competitors, and many began to remove the double zero from the roulette table. This version became known as European roulette, whilst the double zero version became known as American roulette.
Despite a number of differences between early versions of the two games, such as table layouts and wheel positioning, the widespread adoption of the American table style means that the number of zeros is the one lasting difference between the two styles.
To this day, American roulette remains the most popular version of the game in the U.S., Canada, South America, and the Caribbean. Despite its lower odds, many traditionalists prefer American roulette as they believe the double zero system is the original form of the game. The popularity of this version of the game means that it is available to play at most UK online casinos.
While the betting table, ball and casino chips are key elements of online roulette, the wheel is undoubtedly the main attraction.
The American wheel features 38 pockets, including zero and double zero. As mentioned earlier, the only notable difference between the American wheel and the European wheel is the number of pockets, with the European version featuring 37 pockets.
Even the most inexperienced players can win big when playing roulette. The simplicity of the game is part of its universal appeal. However, developing a better understanding of the odds for each selection, and the consequent payout you’ll receive, is key to strategic play.
The table above shows that the odds of the casino paying out on a wager are always slightly less than the odds of winning, and you’re probably wondering why. This difference is known as the house edge, and it ensures the odds lean in favour of the casino. While many players have been fortunate enough to win big, the house edge means that unfortunately, no winning streak can last forever.
Let’s take a look at a ‘red/black’ bet on the American table, to demonstrate how house edge is calculated. Many players make the mistake of assuming they have a 50% chance of winning this bet, as there are two outcomes. The zeros on the table mean that there are actually three outcomes: red, black or neither. The presence of these extra pockets reduces the odds by increasing the number of possible outcomes. Only 18 of 38 numbers result in a win. So your chances of winning are calculated as:
18/38 = 0.4737
If the ball lands on either of the two zeros, the casino wins. So the odds for the casino are:
20/38 = 0.5263
The house edge is the difference between these two figures:
0.53-0.47 = 0.0526
So the house edge is 5.26% for American roulette. This means that the European version actually provides players with the best chance of winning, with a house edge of 2.7%. European roulette only features one zero and therefore a smaller number of possible outcomes.
Follow these 4 simple steps and you’ll be playing like a pro in no time:
- Practice makes perfect. Many casinos offer free versions of their roulette games allowing you to get familiar with the game, without risking your hard-earned money.
- Winning is extremely dependent on luck, and whether your luck is in or out, it is important to set limits to help manage your bankroll and avoid losing more than you can afford to.
- Choose wisely when selecting an online casino to play with. Take your pick from our list of trustworthy, UK regulated casinos and play with confidence.
- Wins are never guaranteed. While several roulette strategies may seem convincing, none are ever foolproof. It is important to remember that you are playing a game of chance. Try your luck and remember to have fun!
Frequently Asked Questions:
What is the difference between American roulette and European roulette? The main difference between the two, is that American roulette has two zero pockets, while the European version has one. While this may seem like a minor difference, it has a significant effect on your playing experience, as the European version has less possible outcomes and consequently gives you the best chance to win.
How does roulette pay out? The odds are stated in the form of X:1, which means you will win X pounds, for every pound you’ve bet. For example, the ‘straight up’ bet offers a payout of 35:1. A wager of £1 would payout £35.
Are online roulette games rigged so players can’t win? All credible casino websites have their games externally tested to ensure that they are completely fair. The aforementioned house edge is what casino’s rely on for their profits.
What is the house edge? The difference between the odds that the casino pays out on a bet and the odds of actually winning is known as the house edge. This edge always leans in favour of the casino, ensuring that they almost always win, eventually.
Daniel is our Head of Operations and former Head of Content, with seven years’ experience in the online gambling industry. Across the site, he offers his expertise in all things gambling, from casino reviews and strategy guides to responsible gambling material and more. In his spare time Daniel is an avid sports fan, following the Premier League and NBA closely in particular, as well as a photographer and burgeoning TikTok celebrity.