It has been more than two centuries since Dr. Blaise Pascal developed what was supposed to be a perpetual motion machine that ended up as a prototype of the roulette wheel. From then on, the wheel became the core of a novel casino game now known as roulette. Quickly gaining popularity in European gambling dens, roulette eventually spread to the Americas, and then to the rest of the world.
Roulette has definitely gone far from its humble origins. As such, many variations of the game have been created throughout the ages, and three managed to stand out: American roulette, European roulette, and French. These variants have all become prevalent in casinos, and have each spawned its distinct derivatives.
American roulette, despite being a popular version of the game, has gained the ire of many roulette enthusiasts. Indeed, if you’ve been looking up roulette tips online long enough, you’ll find that a majority advice you to simply avoid playing American roulette and go for the French or European versions whenever you can. There are two primary reasons for this.
The first is the fact that American roulette is the only popular version with two zero slots, namely 0 and 00. This additional zero slot adds an extra number which will lower the winning chances of anyone who prefer betting on single bets or a group thereof. If you’re into roulette systems, you know this isn’t going to favor you as well. Betting systems are typically applicable to even money bets – red, black, even numbers, odd numbers, 1-18, and 19-36 – and zero isn’t in any of those wagers. Therefore, instead of getting the 48.64% winning odds of the single zero European and French roulette, those playing the American version instead get no more than 47.36%. This may look like a negligible amount to a non-gambling person but fact is that it changes the game a lot.
The second reason has something to do with the American variety’s higher house edge. The house edge is the amount held back by the casino from your winnings. This is typically not noticeable in small bets but gets more visible as you progress. Single zero variants of roulette has a house edge of 2.7% while the double zero American roulette has a rather unfavorable 5.26%, as this version aims to bring in more profits to the house.
There’s also a third though not commonly cited reason why you should eschew the American version of roulette. This is the lack of the En Prison and La Partage rule which are commonly applied in European and French roulette. These rules are triggered when the spin results in zero and your bet subsequently lost. The former gives an option to keep all your bets in the same spot for the next spin, while the latter offers you the opportunity to take half of your losing wager back. The absence of these rules however made the game’s American variant a lot more streamlined, and as such, the assessment of this being a disadvantage or otherwise is subject to the player’s perception.
Whether or not American roulette should be played at all is also a subjective issue. It’s all up to your preference, of course. However, if your goal is to profit off the game, it is advisable to avoid American roulette and play any single zero variation instead.