What is European Roulette?
European Roulette is different from American Roulette for one very important reason: There is only one green pocket, the 0 space, instead of two, the 0 and 00 found in American Roulette. This is important primarily because it gives players better odds of winning.
The purpose of the green pockets is to give the house an edge, an essential component of any casino game — it’s how they ensure they’ll make money. In American Roulette, there is a house edge of 5.3%, while in European Roulette, there is a house edge of only 2.7%.
European Roulette is the original version of the game, which was invented in France in the 17th century. Because of its origins, the game is sometimes called French Roulette. Other than the difference in green pockets, or “house pockets,” the rules of European and American Roulette are identical.
The game involves a spinning wheel where a metal ball is thrown onto. Players stand around the wheel placing bets on where the ball will land. The pockets on the wheel range from 1-36 and are allotted either a red or black color. This means there is an equal proportion of black and red numbers, odd and even numbers, as well as high (18-36) and low (1-17) numbers. These are all betting options for players, amongst other more complex bets.
As previously mentioned, there is also a 0 pocket which is allotted a green color and forces a small house edge into the game, thus the name, “house pocket.” Without this house pocket, if you were to bet on black or red, the odds would be 50/50 that the ball would end up either on red or black. The green space adds a 37th pocket in the wheel that the ball can land on, thus making the odds of the ball landing on red or black slightly less than 50/50. Every once in a while, the ball will land on the 0 and anyone who bet on red or black will lose to the casino’s house. The reason this 0 pocket gives the house an advantage is because even though it represents the 37th pocket, bets are always paid out as if there were only 36 pockets. In other words, there’s always a chance the ball could land on it, but there’s never a chance players can be paid for it.
Worldwide, European Roulette is preferred to its American counterpart because it offers players better odds of winning. Everywhere else in the world besides America plays with a European Roulette wheel. Only a few select casinos in America have the European wheel and often times they are only available for exclusive high roller rooms.