Roulette is a game of luck, which has acquired great popularity over the years. It is played practically in every casino. The history of the exciting casino game can be traced as far back as the 17th century in France. Nowadays it is so widely-spread, that it is played even online. There are three main variations of the game – European, French and American. But the European one is the most played all over the world. Even though the basic rules are the same, there are few main differences, which every gambler should take into account.
In all three variations, there is a wheel and a ball, which the croupier tosses. The players make their bets on which numbered pocket the ball will fall. Depending on the bet they make, gamblers do not necessarily need to guess the exact number. Unlike the modified American roulette with two zero pockets, the European one has only one zero pocket on the wheel. This leads to some differences in the betting section, also known as the table layout. But it is safe to say that the European version of the game is way more advantageous to the player than the American one. It is all hidden in the zeroes, so keep on reading to learn more.
Differences between European and American Roulette
What is roulette without a wheel?! So, let’s start with the emblem of the game. As mentioned above, American roulette is modified in order to increase the casino profit and decrease the players’ chances of winning. Thus, European roulette is preferred all over the world, because it gives higher chances for the player to win. The additional zero pocket in American roulette boosts the house edge from 2.70% to 5.26%. While the American wheel has 38 pockets (1 to 36, plus zero- and double-zero), the European one has 37 numbered pockets (1 to 36, plus zero). The common feature, which both wheels share, is that the numbers alternate between black, red and green for the zero-numbered pocket(s). Odd and even numbers alternate as well.
The order of the pockets on the wheel appears to be random, but is actually arranged in a mathematical order in a specific way so that the chances of each number coming up are equal. An interesting fact is that if you sum up all the numbers on the wheel, you will get 666 in total (aka “The Devil’s Number”).
With the American wheel, numbers seem to be more structured. On it, the opposite numbers are two consecutive ones. Even though there is no discernible pattern on how the numbers are structured on the European wheel, it can be easily spotted that they are almost perfectly alternating between high (19 to 36) and low (1 to 18). The only exception is where 5 is neighbouring 10. There is also one more subtle difference between the arrangement of the numbers on the two wheels. On the American wheel, the numbers face outside, while on the European one – the numbers are facing towards the center of the wheel.
When it comes to colors, both wheels have 18 red and 18 black numbered pockets. Odd numbers from 1 to 10 and from 19 to 28 are colored in red, while even numbers are colored in black. Then, from 11 to 18 and from 29 to 36 the pattern is just the other way around – odd numbers are in black and even numbers – in red.
The table betting section is also different, because the position of the croupier is different in the American and the European versions of the game. In the American version the outside bets are placed alongside the table, while on the European one, the outside bets are made on the two sides of the betting layout.
Even though both games are played in accordance with similar rules, it is impossible to miss the fact that there is still one great difference. In American roulette, when the ball lands on a zero-pocket, then all outside bets are lost. But in accordance with the European rules, when the ball falls in a zero-pocket, then the cause is not entirely lost. The player has the chance to get back the money, or at least half of them.
The other significant difference comes from the chips. The European Roulette uses regular casino chips, instead of the special roulette chips in the American variant. This makes keeping track of your bets a bit more difficult, so each player should pay attention where his wagers were placed. All bets are handled by the croupier with the aid of a special stick.
Possible Bets in European Roulette
The game starts with placing your chips on the different betting section of the table. Bets are allowed till the croupier tosses the ball and couple of seconds after that for last wagers. Once the winning number has been announced, the croupier starts to pay out the winning bets, while all the lost ones will be taken off the table. After that, gamblers may start to bet again. Players have various options when it comes to the bets. Each table has a different minimum and maximum limits and players can make as many bets as they want, but only if complied with the limits. The betting layout is not much different than those of other roulette variations and the bets fall into two major groups – “inside” and “outside” bets.
Placing Bets on the Inside
Inside bets have a smaller chance to win, but the payout is way higher. There are six subtypes of the inside bets:
- Straight bet – it is placed on one number. You put your money only on one particular number and you win if the ball lands namely on the particular numbered pocket. The payout is 35:1.
- Split bet- it is placed on two adjoining numbers on the betting area by setting the chips on the line in-between the numbers. For example, you bet on 17 and 18 and you win only if the ball lands on one of these two. The payout is 17:1.
- Street bet- it is placed on three numbers positioned in a row on the betting area by setting the chips on the edge line at the end of the row. This means that you are betting on all the three numbers, which are in a single horizontal line. The payout is 11:1.
- Corner bet- it is placed on four adjoining numbers on the betting area by setting the chips on the intersection part of the four numbers. Visually, the four numbers form a square such as the numbers 1, 2, 4 and 5. The payout is 8:1.
- Sixline bet- it is placed on two “streets” (six numbers) on the betting area by setting the chips on the intersection of the edge lines at the end of the both rows. For example, you bet on the numbers 13, 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18. The payout is 5:1.
Placing Bets on the Outside
With the outside bets, it is just the opposite – you have better chances to win, but this offers you a lower payout. These type of bets include also six subtypes:
- Column bet- it is placed on all numbers included in one of the three columns on the betting area by setting the chips on the box at the end of the column. For example you bet on the numbers 1, 4, 7, 10, 13, 16, 19, 22, 25, 28, 31, 34. The payout is 2:1.
- Group/ dozen bet- it is placed on all numbers included in the first (1-12), second (13-24) or third (25-36) group by setting the chip on the dozen bet box. The payout is 2:1.
- Black/red bet- it is placed on black or red color to win by setting the chips on the color bet box. The payout is 1:1, also known as even money.
- Odd/even bet- it is placed on the winning number to be odd or even by setting the chips on the odd or even box. The payout is even money.
- High/low bet- it is placed on the winning number to be low (1-18) or high (19-36) by setting the chips on the low or high box. The payout is again even money.
The Exotic Call Bets
Every gambler knows that the European betting section provides one more additional option, which represents the wheel. It is called a racetrack, also known as call bets. Here, only the croupier is allowed to place the bet upon the player’s request. There are three major types, which are included in this type of bets:
- Voisins du Zero- it is placed on numbers, which are neighbours of zero. You place your bet on 17 numbers, which are in proximity to zero. On the European wheel, this is namely the section between the number pockets of 22 and 25. The section comprises all the following numbers: 22, 18, 29, 7, 28, 12, 35, 3, 26, 0, 32, 15, 19, 4, 21, 2 and 25. It is a 9 chip bet, where you place 2 chips on the 0, 2 and 3 trio, 2 chips on the 25, 26, 28, 29 corner and all the rest is a split bet with only one chip.
- Tiers du Cylindre- it is placed on the numbers, which are exactly the opposite of the numbers covered by Voisins du Zero. It is a split 6 chip bet, which covers the 27 to 33 section of the wheel. In other words, it includes the following numbers: 27, 13, 36, 11, 30, 8, 23, 10, 5, 24, 16, 33.
- Orphelins- it is a bet, placed on the remaining 8 numbers of the wheel. On the two sides of the wheel, there are 2 sets of numbers, which are included in this type: 17, 34, 6 and 1, 20, 14, 31, 9. The bet is usually with 5 chips.
The importance of the zero(es)
The reason for the American wheel to have a second double-zero pocket is that it increases the chances for the casino to profit. Mathematically, zero is neither even nor odd, neither high, nor low and it is neither red or black on the wheel. That is why it represents the casino’s play. In the American variation of the game, the zero pockets eliminate all the bets and you lose. Even though European roulette also has the zero-pocket, it is way more soothing to play with a smaller chance to lose. Moreover, the rules are more favorable to the player, who has the chance to get back the wagered money, even if the ball lands on the zero-pocket.
No matter if you play roulette online or in a real casino, you may either win or lose. To enhance your chances, just follow the rules of the game and apply some strategies. Don’t get disheartened if you lose, because that’s how real experience comes. And don’t forget: if there is no risk, there is no gain!