American vs. European Roulette Comparison
There are two distinct variations of roulette: American and European. While the bets, the rules, and the payouts are identical, the actual wheels are slightly different. This difference can be traced back to the early days of the game. The original roulette wheel had a total of thirty-eight pockets: numbers one through thirty six (black and red), and then two green pockets labeled "0" and "00".
This wheel with thirty-eight pockets was wildly popular and remained the dominant design until the middle of the nineteenth century. In 1834 a pair of enterprising Frenchmen, the Blanc Brothers, decided to introduce a new wheel. Their wheel only had one green pocket (0) and a total of thirty-seven pockets. They advertised a lower house edge, and players began demanding these new wheels all over Europe.
Even though single-zero wheels quickly took hold in Europe, American casinos in Louisiana kept the double-zero design to maximize profits. As the game became more popular in the United States, the tradition spread westward to Las Vegas and eastward to Atlantic City. Thus, the double-zero wheel is now known as an American wheel.
Is European Roulette Really Better?
The Blanc Brothers convinced an entire continent that their European roulette wheel had a lower house edge, but were they right? To answer this question, let's take a look at how a roulette wheel makes money for the casino.
If you had a roulette wheel with thirty six pockets (no zeros), then the 35:1 odds would be perfectly fair. When you add a single zero pocket (the house's pocket), the casino gets a statistical advantage. Using this logic, adding a second zero-pocket should be even worse.
A normal European Wheel has a general house edge of 2.63%. An American wheel has a house edge of 5.26%. This is a massive difference in the long run, and it completely explains why European Roulette really is the better option. In general, if you can find a roulette game with the European wheel, it is your best option.
Where to Find European Roulette Wheels
Like the name suggests, European roulette wheels are common in the major gambling cities of Europe, such as Monte Carlo. On the other hand, if you are playing in America, American roulette wheels will be the norm. While these are the general trends, there are definitely exceptions.
For instance, the Monte Carlo Casino (in Las Vegas) has a European theme, and thus they offer European roulette. There are a few other casinos in Las Vegas, Atlantic City, and Louisiana where American casinos have European wheels to remain competitive. You can even find some European games when playing roulette online. No matter where you are playing though, you should always keep an eye out for the single-zero wheels so you don't miss an opportunity.
European Roulette Online
If you are interested in playing roulette in an online casino, you should be careful before signing up anywhere. Most online casinos do not offer European Roulette because it simply has a lower house edge. There is, however, one major exception. European roulette has been a mainstay at Cherry Red Casino since day one. Beyond having these special tables, Cherry Red is consistently ranked as one of the best over all online casinos. To take a look for yourself, click here to visit their website and sign up.