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The Differences Between American Roulette and European Roulette

One of the all-time favourite casino games by many gamblers worldwide is roulette. Gamblers frequent them in land-based or online casinos for many reasons. Aside from being beginner-friendly, roulette is full of excitement as luck plays a significant role in determining the outcome of each round. 

Different roulette types are also available in online casinos for gamblers to try. The most popular game variants among gamblers are American roulette and European roulette. Although the two roulette types look similar based on the game layout, they have some differences that gamblers must be familiar with to know how to play roulette.

Becoming knowledgeable of the factors that set European roulette apart from the American version is crucial to winning at roulette. Through this, they can choose the best roulette that suits their betting style. Moreover, knowing these variances can help them improve their probability of winning, so it is a must to know more about their differences, specifically:

House Edge

Beginners in roulette must know that European and American roulette differs in house edge. House edge refers to the built-in advantage favouring the casino or the “house”. This variance between the two is essential to selecting the roulette type to play. Most gamblers prefer the European variant because it only has a 2.7% house edge over the American version with 5.26%.

Pragmatic Play’s demo European roulette game layout
Pragmatic Play’s demo European roulette game layout

In European roulette, its wheel has a single zero aside from 36 numbered pockets. This feature offers gamblers more chances to improve their winning probability because the odds is one in 37. Because of the lower house advantage, the return to player rate (RTP) average of the European variation when placing straight wagers stands at 97.3%.

Roulette 77’s American demo roulette game layout
Roulette 77’s American demo roulette game layout

Contrarily, the American roulette’s RTP drops approximately 94.74% because the winning odds is one in 38. The American version had an additional double zero (00) aside from one zero in its game layout. Due to the extra pocket involved, the house gets a better edge, especially if even money is at stake.

En Prison Rule

Sample even money bet using the Even bet on Pragmatic Play's European roulette
Sample even money bet using the Even bet on Pragmatic Play's European roulette

The “En Prison” rule only applies to European roulette, meaning gamblers playing the American version and other game variants cannot take advantage of it. Also called the “in prison” rule, it gives players betting on even money bet an extra spin if the marble-sized ball lands in the “0” pocket.

If the said probability occurred, as the rule’s name suggests, the dealer puts a marker on the bet, indicating its imprisonment, for the next spin. Once the gambler wins the next spin, he gets his original bet back. With this rule coming into play, it can further reduce the house edge to 1.35%. However, if the player bets $100 on even and an odd comes after the zero instead, he loses his stake.

Five-Number Bet

The five-number bet, also known as basket bet, is an inside bet in American roulette requiring gamblers to put chip/s at a place common to these five consecutive numbers: 0, 00, 1, 2, and 3. Placing a basket bet can only be done using the five numbers mentioned, with gamblers winning if the ball goes to one of them.

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Sample basket bet in American roulette

Although exclusive to the American variation, many gamblers do not think twice about staying away from it. These are the two primary reasons why gamblers never try the five-number bet: 

Huge House Edge: The five-number bet has a high casino advantage, standing at 7.89%. Using this roulette strategy only allows the gambler to play in one block, referring to the boxes on the left side with labels 1-12. This restricts the player from changing bets if his tactic does not go how he wants it. 

Low RTP: Gambling on a five-number bet in roulette also pays quite average. If the gambler wagers for $10, he only receives a $60 payout, excluding the original bet staked. This is imminent considering that the winning odds is 6:1 by betting on the five numbers mentioned and believing that the ball goes to any of them.


If gamblers know how to win at roulette, they can play it better than others regardless if it is a game of chance. Gamblers serious about maximising their profit in roulette must learn the differences between European and American roulette.

Given the lower house edge, beginners should play the European roulette than the American variant. When playing the European variant, gamblers must take advantage of the En Prison rule because it can drastically reduce the casino’s advantage. They should also avoid placing too many five-number bets in American roulette due to its massive house edge and low RTP.

Gamblers can start playing roulette in CM2Bet, a trusted online casino in Singapore, for a scam-free and great gaming experience.

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