No game is more associated with casinos more than roulette. Reputed to have been invented in a early format by scientist Blaise Pascal in the 17th century, we do know that the modern version of the game has been played since just before the turn of the 19th century.
As the name suggests, roulette was originally a French game and interestingly, it had two sections for a single and double zero.
This was first changed in 1843 when casinos in Bad Homburg in Germany wanted to offer players a more advantageous game, so removed the double zero slot.
In effect, this decision made what is now known as the “European” version (or sometimes “French” version) of the game with the single zero green slot on the wheel.
As the game spread in popularity throughout the world, it gained a foothold in states such as Louisiana and Mississippi, where the single and double zero wheel was restored. This then became known as the “American” version of the game as it grew in popularity across the states in the following years.
To this day, in real world casinos the double zero “American” version of the game is predominant in North and South America and the Caribbean, while the single zero or “European” version of the game tends to be played more widely elsewhere.
Which is the “best” version of the game to play from a player’s perspective?
Clearly, the “European” version of the game is the one that is most advantageous to a player from the perspective of the house edge.
That is because the house edge is derived solely from having those green zero or double zero slots on the wheel. The more of these slots there are on a roulette wheel, the greater the edge is for the house.
A single zero “European” style reel with 0-36 numbers on has a typical house edge of around 2.70% on a standard game. For a Double Zero “American” style roulette game, that house edge percentage increases to around 5.26%.
That seems a hefty increase but even at that higher house edge rate, roulette is still one of the better games in terms of house edge for players in the casino, on a par with most slot games and much better than some other games or bets such as Keno or betting on a tie in Baccarat.
Does this mean that the European Version of Roulette will mean I win more often?
Only if you play a massive number of games over a millions of spins over a very long period of time. The smaller house edge will only become apparent after a huge number of spins and bets.
As such, for any typical roulette player, the differences between the two versions of the game are pretty much impossible to detect.
In theory, you will win more often playing the European version compared to the American version but in both games, it is more likely the house will take more money from you, than you will win back from the house.
In typical roulette session, you won’t really detect any huge difference playing one version of the game over the other.
What else do I need to look for on a game of roulette?
Some versions of roulette you can play online, such as those at BetRivers Casino or Hollywood Casino, may offer you slightly different game rules to standard.
There are even progressive versions of roulette which you can find at some casinos, which offer a progressive jackpot to be paid out when a certain event (usually a sequence of the same number occurring in succession, such as five number 7’s being landed on five successive spins of the wheel).
The more rules are tweaked in casinos to offer additional features, bonus items and other such options, the more likely this will affect the house edge of the game. When this happens, the house edge usually shifts more in favor of the casino, rather than the player.
Regardless of whether you play the American or European version, roulette is hugely enjoyable to play, simple to understand and offers a fantastic range of bets, from even money bets, to 34/1 payouts on some games. It is easy to see why the game has endured in all its forms over the centuries.