Difference Between European and American Roulette

Posted By: Date: 04/04/2012 at 12:00 am Leave a comment

The most distinguished advantage of playing roulette online is the option to play your preferred version. There are several variations of roulette, the most prominent being American Roulette and European Roulette. Land-based casinos are less apt to proffer both adaptations, but online gambling sites always present their players with a choice.

The difference between the two is subtle, but to the trained eye, there is a clear advantage to playing one over the other. American roulette contains one more number on the betting table and wheel; the double zero (00). In European roulette, the double zero (00) is omitted.

By eliminating the double zero (00), European roulette actually gives the player a higher chance of prosperity. While it may seem like the slightest variable, the difference in the house edge is palpable. In its American form, betting on a single number, the player can expect to win 35x their bet on 1/38 attempts, where European roulette offers the same payout with a probable return on 1/37 wagers. The difference house edge is as follows:

American Roulette House Edge = 5.26%
European Roulette House Edge = 2.70%

The house edge is based entirely on probability. A player betting 38 times on a single number in American Roulette is likely to win one of those bets. The same goes for European Roulette, winning one out of every 37 bets. Yet we can see that the addition of a single number has nearly doubled the casino’s advantage. The reason for this is that zero (0) and double zero (00) are rarely bet on by players, so when either of them hit, it is the casino’s ultimate formula for profit.

Another way to look at it is in the form of the player’s expected value. We reverse the house edge to see the player’s actual chances of winning 1 in 38 bets in American roulette, or 1 in 37 bets in European roulette.

American Roulette Expected Value = 94.74%
European Roulette Expected Value = 97.30%

In both instances, the odds are not in the player’s favor, but that is the nature of all gambling prospects. Without a house edge, casinos would not exist. They are not in the business of losing. The player’s advantage comes by way of timing.

Over a period of 37 bets in European roulette, how soon will the player’s selected number hit? If it hits early, the player has profited. If not, the player may lose. Probabilities are effective in the long term, while luck plays a distinct role in the short term. Any advantage a player can gain is worthwhile, thus European roulette is the clear choice over its American counterpart.

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