European Roulette

Roulette originated in the casinos of Monaco and Paris, so it is only fitting that European roulette remains one of the most popular varieties of the game. European roulette has a few notable differences from its American counterpart that you should know before trying your luck.


European roulette wheels have a 0 but not a 00.

The European Table and Wheel

When playing European roulette, you’ll be dealing with a table and wheel that are a bit different from those used for the American version of the game. To the far left of the European table sits a 0 spot – whereas on the American table, two spots (one for 0 and one for 00) would be present. This is the most notable difference between the two versions of the game: The rest of the roulette table remains consistent, regardless of which version you’re playing.

Numbers from 1 to 36 occupy the inside of the table, divided into columns of 12 and rows of three, and alternating in color between red and black Along the right side of the table, “2-to-1″ designations mark bets players can make on the table’s three columns. Along the bottom of the table are spots on which players can bet on numerical groups of 12, the numbers 1-18 and 19-36, even and odd numbers, and black and red numbers.

The European roulette wheel is also a bit different from its American counterpart. Most notable, of course, is the absence of the 00 pocket found on American roulette wheels. In addition, European wheels tend to feature numbers in random order, whereas American wheels posit sequential numbers opposite from each other. For example, on an American wheel, 9 and 10 are placed opposite each other – on a European wheel, numerical placements are generally completely random.

European Roulette Gameplay and Rules

If you’ve played American roulette in the past, you already know the major facets of European roulette.

Gameplay is largely the same: Players are given chips of a specific color, which they then place on the roulette board to signify their bets. Often, many chips will be placed on the board, resulting in significant overlap between players.This is why chips are color-specific to each person. Players can continue to make bets until the croupier (the person spinning the roulette wheel) waves his or her hand over the table, signifying that all bets are final and no additional chips may be placed. After the roulette wheel ceases to move, players whose bets are rolled receive their winnings.

There are, however, some rules that pertain to European roulette that do not usually exist in the American variety. The main difference to keep in mind is the presence of the “en prison” rule typically found in European roulette.

En prison:

French for “in prison,” this rule is also sometimes referred to as the half-back rule. It is a direct variation of the greater “la partage” rule. If a player makes an even-money or 50-50 bet (meaning that his or her chances of winning are as great as they are of losing), the player gets half of his or her bet returned if the ball lands on 0. However, the player may opt to place his or her bet in prison, rather than immediately losing half. If this option is selected, the player gets his or her full bet (without any additional earnings) returned should the next spin yield a win.

What happens if another 0 is spun after a player has placed a bet in prison? This is usually subject to house rules; in some French casinos, for example, the bet stays imprisoned until a non-0 is spun.

Ways to Bet

When playing roulette – be it the American or the European version – two types of bets can be placed: inside bets and outside bets.

Inside Bets:

A player can decide to cast his or her bet on a number designation (such as 3), or a shared line or corner between numbers (such as the line between 1 and 2, or the corner where 8, 9, 11 and 12 meet). Placing your bet on a line between two numbers is referred to as a “split” bet, and a bet placed on a four-number corner is referred to as a “quad” or “corner” bet.

Outside Bets:

Outside bets offer better odds (and subsequently lower payouts) than inside bets. Players can bet that the ball will fall on red or black, even or odd, 1-18 or 19-36 (dozens bets), or a specific column.

As is the case with American roulette, European betting gives players the flexibility of placing their bets between whatever spots they wish – even on spots straddling inside and outside spots.

For more on inside and outside bets, see our Big Fish Guide to Roulette Gameplay.2-3-Chips-Stacked

Odds and Payouts

Happily for European roulette players, this version of the game is statistically better for participants than American roulette. The extra 00 spot on the American table and wheel increases the house edge from 2.7 to 5.27 percent.

Keep in mind that the roulette wheel is spun randomly, so there is no statistical edge given to one number over any other. That said, the way you place your chips can increase or decrease your chances of winning dramatically. By making an outside bet, players are making broader wagers that are more likely to yield success. Of course, this comes with a significantly lower payout than players would receive on an inside bet:

  • A straight-up bet (placed on one number only) offers a 2.63 percent chance of winning and pays 35 to 1.
  • A split bet (placed between two numbers) offers a 5.36 percent chance of winning and pays 17 to 1.
  • A street bet (placed on three numbers) offers a 7.89 percent chance of winning and pays 11 to 1.
  • A corner bet (placed between four numbers) offers a 10.53 percent chance of winning and pays 8 to 1.
  • A first five bet offers a 13.16 percent chance of winning and pays 6 to 1.
  • A six-number bet offers a 15.79 percent chance of winning and pays 5 to 1.
  • A bet on the outside dozen or column has a 31.58 percent chance of winning and pays 2 to 1.
  • A bet on red/black or even/odd offers a 50 percent chance of winning and pays 1 to 1.

When playing roulette, you can increase your odds of winning dramatically by making safe choices and betting on low-stakes criteria like even vs. odd and red vs. black. However, if you want to take your game to the next level, you have plenty of opportunities to do so.