European, American and French Roulette

There are three main variations of roulette that you are most likely to encounter: European, American and French. All three have their unique qualities and depend on the table layout. European roulette has a single zero, while the American version has two zeros. The French wheel has neither a single nor double zero. For your convenience, we have compiled all of the important information that you should become familiar with before you begin your roulette career.

Roulette Wheels

In the 17th century, French mathematician and physicist Blaise Pascal created a roulette wheel as part of his attempt to create a perpetual motion machine. This early version of the wheel had only one zero pocket and no green numbers.

In 1843, brothers Francois and Louis Blanc introduced a roulette wheel with one zero to the German spa and casino town Bad Homburg. The Blancs were Frenchmen who moved to Monte Carlo after gambling was outlawed by local authorities. The brothers brought with them secrets of roulette that are still used in Monte Carlo today. There have been rumours about how the Blancs acquired their knowledge of the game–rumours that say they made a deal with the devil (who allegedly appears on a roulette wheel as 666).

Roulette wheels have some similarities and differences between them. The most interesting similarity between the French and American wheels is the way odd and even numbers are colored: black for odd numbers, red for even numbers in ranges from 1 to 10 and 19 to 28; and vice versa in ranges from 11 to 18 and 29 to 36.

In the American version of the roulette wheel, there are 36 pockets colored red and black, as well as two pockets for zero and double zero. Each pair of numbers is positioned on opposite sides of the wheel. Going counterclockwise, the numbers are arranged in this manner: 0 through 36.

The European and French Roulette wheels share the same layout, with a single zero pocket. The American wheel features only numbered pockets, but both European and French wheels have alternating red and black numbers on them. The European wheel also has green for the zero pocket as well as a green square next to it. The numbers on the wheel are arranged in this order: 0, 32, 15, 19, 4, 21, 2, 25, 17, 34, 6, 27, 13, 36. 11, 30, 8 , 23 , 10 , 5 , 24 , 16 , 33 , 1 , 20 , 14 , 31 and 9 . 22 , 18 – 29 ; 7 – 28 ; 12 – 35 ; 3 – 26 .

The only difference between the two types of wheels is a single pocket. This seemingly minor difference has a huge impact on the game, which experienced players can feel immediately.

European Roulette

European roulette is a variation of roulette that offers players 36 numbers and a single zero. It is one of the most common versions of the game, and you can find it at most online casinos and land-based establishments in Europe and Asia. European Roulette stands in the middle when it comes to odds; French Roulette has better odds, while American Roulette has worse odds than European.

The European Roulette layout is very cleanly presented. The number grid is laid out horizontally across the table, with Outside bets on top and Column bets on the right side. The three Dozen bets are located on the top row, while all other bets are placed in the following order: Low, Even, Red and Black; Odd and High.

European Roulette Gameplay

French Roulette

French Roulette is almost identical to European Roulette. The only difference between the two games is that players of French Roulette can benefit from two special rules.

French roulette features two special rules not found in other versions of the game. La partage gives players half of their bet back when they lose an outside bet because the ball landed in zero. En prison gives players another chance to win back an outside bet if it lands on zero. Both of these rules work in favor of the player and reduce the house edge on even money bets by half down to 1.35%.

The French roulette table layout is different from the American and European. The numbers grid is positioned horizontally across the table, with High and Even on top, Low and Odd on bottom, and Black in between. Dozen bets are placed on both sides of the grid, on both the upper right and lower left side.

French Roulette Gameplay

American Roulette

American Roulette differs slightly from its European and French counterparts. For starters, the wheel has 38 pockets–one extra for a double zero. This changes the game in quite a significant way. For instance, the house edge is pushed further into the favor of the casino to an almost double 5.26%.

Casinos in Atlantic City offer a version of American Roulette that includes the Surrender rule. This is a feature unique to this particular game and allows you to keep half of your bet if the ball lands in zero.

The American Roulette table layout resembles that of European Roulette, but with some notable differences. The number grid is vertical rather than horizontal and on its left side, you will find the zero and double zero bets. The Outside bets are also positioned beneath the grid in two rows.

Odds Comparison

You can significantly reduce the house edge by playing European roulette rather than American. European roulette has 37 possible outcomes, whereas American roulette has 38. That extra pocket on the American wheel makes all the difference: when you place a Straight Up bet on an American game, your chance of winning is 1 in 38 (37 minus 1), meaning odds 37:1.

However, this bet pays only 35:1 if you win it. The difference between true odds and casino odds is what is referred to as the house edge. In this case, the casino has a statistical advantage over its players by paying 35:1 instead of 36:1. This means that for every $1 you win from this bet, the casino will make $0.95 from you in profit.

If you play roulette and bet $1 on each of 37 spins, you will lose $1 on one spin and win $37 on one spin. This means that over time–a long time–you will lose an average of $36 per game. If we assume that every dollar bet at a roulette table is equally likely to be wagered, then we can determine how often the house will keep your money: 36 – 35 = 1; 1/37 = 2.7% of all money wagered at a roulette table will be kept by the house, with 97.3% being paid out in winnings.

French roulette is played with the ‘La Partage’ or ‘en prison’ rule. If you place an even money bet and lose, you get another chance to bet on the same number. This means that the house edge of this game is brought down by half at 1.35%.

We can use the same method to determine the house edge for both European and American roulette. In American roulette, there are 38 possible outcomes with numbers 1 through 36, zero and double zero. Meaning that every spin has a 1 in 38 chance of winning. However, there is still 35:1 odds on a Straight Up bet, making this game unfavorable but only slightly so. The addition of a second zero pocket nearly doubles the house edge from 5.26% to 9.09%, making this game even less favorable than European roulette.

In addition, American roulette features a bet not found in the European or French version. The Basket bet pays 6:1 when it should be slightly higher. On average, we will lose money 7.8947% of the time on a spin when we make this bet.

What you should know is that this data is meant to show how much better the casino is than you over thousands of spins. It’s only a rough idea of what might happen in the long term. But there’s no way to tell what will happen in the short term. That’s why some people are able to come into a casino, play for a while, and leave with more money than they started with. If you play for long enough, however, you’ll probably lose money overall because of the house edge.

Bet Comparison

The variety of bets available at roulette tables makes the game more interesting, but it can also make it more difficult to decide how to play. The most popular versions of roulette–European, French and American–have similar betting options. Below you will find a detailed account of all of these bets, along with how they differ between the popular versions.

Straight Up

This bet, which pays 35:1, is a single number bet on the main wheel. On European and French roulette wheels, the true odds of this bet are 36:1; however, on American roulette wheels the true odds are 37:1.

Split Bet

Place a chip on the line separating two numbers. You will win 17 times your bet if either number comes up or 17.5 times your bet if the European version comes up and 18 times you bet if the American version comes up.

Street Bet

A single-number bet placed on a horizontal row of three numbers has an 11:1 payout, but the odds against winning are 11.33:1 on European and French roulette, and 11.67:1 on American roulette.


A bet on four numbers that lie next to each other. The chips are placed on the point where the four numbers meet. Winning this bet will result in a payout of 8:1.

Top Line or Basket

This bet only exists on American Roulette and covers numbers 0-00-1-2-3. You’ll lose every time you place it since the odds of winning are 6.6:1 but if you do win, you’ll get paid out 6:1 for your bet. As we covered previously in the article, this bet has an 7.89% house edge whereas other American roulette bets only have a 5.26% house advantage.

Line Bet

This bet covers six consecutive numbers or two rows of the wheel. The chips are placed on the spot where these two rows meet. When you win this bet, you’ll receive 5:1 odds (European wheel) or 5.33:1 odds (American wheel), which means if you bet $10 and win, you’ll receive $50 ($10 x 5).

Column Bet

This game is a bet on the number that appears in one of three vertical columns. The payout ratio is 2:1; if you bet $1 and win, you get $2 back. The true odds are 2.083:1 on European and French Roulette, and 2.167:1 on American Roulette.

Dozen Bet

This bet is basically the same as the Column Bet, except you choose different sets of numbers. You can choose 1-12, 13-24, or 25-36.

Odd or Even Bet

You can bet on either the even- or odd-numbered slots in Roulette. Both bets are identical, but with European and French Roulette offering a slightly better payout of 1:1 odds. American Roulette gives you 1:1 odds and true odds of 1.11:1.

Red or Black

This bet pays even money and features true odds of 1.056:1 on European and French Roulette and 1.11:1 on the American variety.

High or Low

The red/black bet is a wager in which players must predict whether the winning number will be red or black. The odds are identical to those of the other even-money bets on roulette.

American roulette has worse odds than European or French roulette. This is because, while it offers the same payout for a winning bet of $35, its true odds are lower. The addition of the double zero pocket significantly increases the return to player percentage on all bets, except for Basket bets that lose $0.079 per dollar wagered. Statistically, American roulette is the worst to play in terms of odds and return to player ratios.

Call Bets

Call bets, also known as announced bets, are a specific type of bet normally played on European and French Roulette. Call bets are placed by players using their own money. Announced bets are placed by players using credit extended by the house.

Some jurisdictions make it illegal to gamble on credit. In these places, call bets are not permitted at all. Other jurisdictions do not have any restrictions on this type of wager, but still there are some limitations concerning their use. Call bets are generally not found on the table layout and they can be refused if the dealer does not have time to place them.

This is a bet on all numbers between 22 and 25 on the wheel. Nine of those numbers are 22-18-29-7-28-12-35-3-26-0, which you will need nine chips to bet on. The numbers are on a single zero wheel.

You bet on numbers that are close to the zero. The sequence includes 12-15, 0-3, 32-35 Splits and a Straight Up bet on 26. You need a minimum of four chips to place this bet, three for splits (12-15, 0-3, 32-35), a single one for Straight Up bet on 26.

The 12 numbers between 27 and 33, which are split into six splits of 5-8, 10-11, 13-16, 23-24, 27-30 and 33-36.

To make this bet, you place five chips on numbers 1, 6, 14, 17 and 34. The numbers 1-20-14-31-9 are located on one side of the roulette wheel; 17-34-6 are placed on the opposite end.

This is a bet on the numbers that surround a chosen number. To make this bet, you must place five chips on each individual number. For example, if you want to bet on 32 and its neighbours (10, 24 and 16), you would need to place a chip on 32 and 10 and another on 32 and 24.

A final bet is a bet on all number ending in ‘x’. For example, when you place Final threes you wager on 3-13-23-33.

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Are there other variations of roulette that you can play at online casinos?

Roulette variants have been developed to add excitement to the game, including several bonus features. Some of these special features include multipliers, progressive jackpots, bonus games and an increased number of pockets. The most popular roulette games you can find online are American, European and French Roulette.

There are some progressive roulette games that have one 0 pocket but have added another section dedicated to a bonus game or the random jackpot prize. Meanwhile, there are live-dealer games like Lightning Roulette and XXXtreme Lightning Roulette with both options offering enhanced payouts on straight-ups. Despite this, the base game is a variation of European roulette with only one 0 pocket on the wheel. Either way, it’s best to always familiarize yourself with the rules of every roulette game before you start playing for real money because these games deviate from European, American, and French roulettes in certain ways.

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