European, American and French Roulette

There are three main variations of roulette that you are most likely to encounter – European, American and French. While appearing similar at first glance, there are distinct differences between them, that significantly affect the game in the long term. Understanding how they are different from each other, can and will have consequences on the outcome of your games. For your convenience, we have compiled all of the important information that you should become familiar with before you begin your roulette career.  

Roulette Wheels

roulette wheels imageThe roulette wheel was first invented in the 17th century by French mathematician and physicist Blaise Pascal, while he was looking to create a perpetual motion machine. This version of the wheel was only primitive but it set the stage for a game that would come to dominate the casino halls of Europe. By the end of the 18th century, roulette had become an incredibly popular game. The wheel itself featured a red zero and black double zero pocket.

In 1843 brothers Francois and Louis Blanc introduced the single zero roulette wheel in the German spa and casino town Bad Homburg. This was done to compete with the French casinos which were dominant gambling establishments in Europe. After gambling was outlawed by the local government, the Frenchmen moved to Monte Carlo, which to this day is known as one of the most prestigious gambling locations in the world, partly due to the Blanc brothers’ involvement. There have been rumours and legends about how Francois Blanc acquired the secrets to roulette by making a deal with the devil. This preposterous and ridiculous notion bases its argument on the fact that when you add up all the numbers on a roulette wheel you will get 666, which is considered the Number of the Beast.

European Roulette

European roulette is one of the main variations of roulette that you are likely to encounter at online and European land-based casinos. This game features 36 numbers and a single zero. It is a very common version of roulette and can be found at most online casinos, as well as land-based establishments in Europe and Asia. European Roulette stands in the middle in terms of odds, with French being first with the most favorable odds, and American being third with the least favorable.

roulette layout

The European Roulette table layout is very cleanly presented. The number grid is laid out horizontally across the table. Beneath it, are located the Outside bets, in two rows. On the top row, you can see the three Dozen bets, while the bottom one you will find the other bets in the following order – Low, Even, Red, Black, Odd, High. The Column bets are placed on the right side of the grid.

European Roulette Gameplay


French Roulette

French Roulette uses the same wheel and betting options found in European roulette. Both games are practically identical with the exception of two very important rules that players of the French version can benefit from.

French Roulette features some rules not found in the other versions of the game. These are ‘la partage’ and ‘en prison’. La partage dictates that when you lose an Outside bet because the ball landed in the zero pocket, then you can receive half of your bet back. The en prison rule, on the other hand, gives you another chance to win back the money placed on an Outside bet when the ball lands on zero. The bet stays in the same spot and is marked as ‘en prison’. If the next spin wins you get you bet back, but if it loses then the house claims it. These rules work in the player’s favor and are exclusively featured in French roulette. They give the same statistical advantage and reduce the house edge on even money bets by half down to 1.35%.

french roulette layout

The French roulette table layout is specific and different from the American and European. The numbers grid is positioned horizontally across the table. The Outside bets are placed on both sides of it, with High, Even and Black being on top and Low, Odd and Red on the bottom. The Dozen Bets are presents on both the upper and lower right side of the grid.

French Roulette Gameplay


American Roulette

American Roulette differs slightly from its European and French counterparts. For starters, the wheel is much different in the way the numbers are positioned and the fact that there is an extra pocket for the double zero, bringing the total number of pockets to 38. This changes the game in quite a significant way. For instance, the house edge is pushed further into the favor of the casino to an almost double 5.26%. This is due to the fact that there is an extra pocket, while the payoff ratios remain the same.

american roulette layout

Casinos based in Atlantic City feature a version of American Roulette where you can make use of the ‘Surrender’ rule. This is practically the same as ‘la partage’ in French Roulette, where losing an Outside bet because the ball landed in the zero pocket allows you to keep half of your bet.

The American Roulette table layout closely resembles that of European Roulette with some minor alterations. The number grid is laid out vertically, instead of horizontally, and on its left side, you will find the zero and double zero bets. The Outside bets are also positioned beneath the grid in two rows.

Odds Comparison

fancy rouletteAs mentioned above, the use of different wheels has a significant impact on the game and it is most felt in the odds. A game of French or European roulette has a much lower house edge than one using an American wheel. This is due to the extra pocket on the American version. On a European game, there are 37 possible outcomes. When you place a Straight Up bet the chance to win is 1 in 37, meaning odds 36:1.

However, this bet pays only 35:1 if you win it. The difference between true odds and casino odds is what is referred to as the house edge. The house edge is the statistical advantage that the casino has against its players. For example, if you spin the wheel 37 times you are expected to win once and lose 36 times. If the game paid 36:1 on a winning bet you bankroll would not suffer since every win makes up for the other 36 losses. However, in reality, the game pays 35:1 when you win a single number bet.

Bet Comparison

Roulette has some of the broadest betting options out of most, if not all, casino games. You can bet on specific numbers, groups of number, the color of the winning number, etc. Since there are several versions of roulette, it makes sense for there to be differences between their bets. For starters, European, French and American roulette feature relatively the same betting options. Below you will find a detailed account of all of the betting options and how they differ between the popular versions.

Straight Up

Split Bet

Street Bet


Top Line or Basket

Line Bet

Column Bet

Dozen Bet

Odd or Even Bet

Red or Black

High or Low

As you can see, the American version of roulette features much worse odds than its European and French counterparts. This is due to fact that it pays the same amount of money for a winning bet, while having worse true odds. The addition of the double zero pocket has a significant influence on the return to player percentage. For example, on European roulette for every dollar that you wager you can statistically expect a return of $-0.027, whereas on American roulette that number increases to $-0.053 on all bets, with the exception of the Basket bet where the player return would be $-0.079. Statistically, American Roulette is the worst to play in terms of odds and return to player ratios.

Call Bets

roulette call betsCall bets, also known as announced bets, are a specific type of bets normally played on European and French Roulette. Technically, there is a difference between call and announced bets. A call bet is when the player does not have enough funds to cover the cost of their bet so the house extends credit to them on the table. Whereas announced bets are placed by the gambler using their own money.

Call bets are not permitted in some places in the world, as several jurisdictions have made it illegal to gamble on credit. Whatever the case is, these types of bets refer to wagers not generally found on the table. While some tables have specifically dedicated grids for them on the layout, most do not. They are taken at the convenience of the dealer and can be refused if they do not have time to place them.

Voisin du zéro

Jeu zero

Le tiers du cylindre


The neighbours

Final bets

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Find the answers of questions people asked so far:

Dan Jennifer

Are there other variations of roulette we can come across while playing at online casinos?

Asked by: Jennifer | Asked on: 2023-08-09
Answered by: Dan | Answered on: 2023-08-10

As software providers compete in developing newer and more intriguing casino games, there is an abundance of roulette variants you can find at different online casinos. These may offer special multipliers, progressive jackpots, bonus games, and even more betting options due to an increased number of pockets. That said, the majority of the games we see online are variations of American, European, or French roulette.

Some progressive roulette games have one 0 pocket but have added another section dedicated to a bonus game or the random jackpot prize. That makes such games variations of the good-old American roulette. Meanwhile, you may have live-dealer games like Lightning Roulette and XXXtreme Lightning Roulette, with both options offering enhanced payouts on straight-ups. Despite that, the base game is a variation of European roulette, with the wheel featuring only one 0 pocket. That said, such games offer reduced payouts for the standard straight-ups, making them a bit different than your classic European roulette. Either way, it is best to always familiarize yourself with the rules of every roulette game before you start playing for real money as you may face some intriguing deviations from the standard rules of European, American, or French roulette.

Dan Jeffrey

Is there a roulette variation with a house edge higher than the one in American roulette?

Asked by: Jeffrey | Asked on: 2023-10-29
Answered by: Dan | Answered on: 2023-10-30

If you thought that standard double-zero American roulette was the least advantageous variant of the casino classic, then you have not heard of the triple-zero roulette version. This variation of roulette started appearing in major Las Vegas casinos a few years back, presenting players with quite the challenge by adding yet another socket to the roulette wheel.

While a typical American wheel increases the house edge to 5.26% by adding a double-zero pocket to the game, there is an even worse variant. The 0-00-000 wheel introduced at some US casinos has a house edge of 7.69%, officially giving the house the biggest possible advantage over players that pay in land-based casinos. The reason why this table has started gaining popularity is the lower betting limits that triple-zero roulette tables tend to have. This seems to be a good enough reason for many casino visitors to prefer the newer roulette version to the classic American-style roulette game. That said, I highly recommend avoiding this game and opting for standard American roulette instead. Even better, pick a single-zero-wheeled roulette if you happen to see one.