American, Euro, or French: Understanding the different variations of Roulette

Variations of RouletteWhat do you feel like tonight? French? Something European? Maybe American? This conversation could easily be confused for the typical "what should we order in tonight" conversation that busy Australians have when they realise their fridges are empty around dinnertime.

But we're not talking about food here. We're talking about Roulette. And there are tons of variations offered at Australian casinos and online sites around the world. But are they all satisfying for hungry Roulette players looking for a big win? Read on to find out.

The basics of Roulette

Before we talk about the different Roulette variations, it's important to understand what Roulette is all about. It's actually really easy to wrap your head around. The croupier spins the wheel (he's the dealer) and releases a ball onto a wheel. The wheel has 37 or 38 slots, depending on the Roulette variation you're playing. Your goal is to predict where the ball is going to land. You do so by betting chips on the Roulette board, which also features the exact same numbers you'll find on the wheel.

Now in Roulette, you can predict the exact number that the ball will land on, or you can widen the focus of your bet by including several numbers within the same bet. You can do so by placing your chips on lines that connect multiple numbers, by betting on entire groups of numbers (like a column, or a dozen numbers at a time), by betting evens or odds, or by betting on the colour that you think the ball will land on. The more numbers included in your bet, the lower the payout because your odds of hitting your bet are higher.

European Roulette

European RouletteThis one is definitely the most popular around the world. Played in Europe and at Australia online casinos, European Roulette features 37 numbers on the Roulette wheel and board. That includes the numbers 1 through 36 and a single zero. It should be noted that the single zero is not considered an even number, despite what you might have learned in school. If the house hits a zero, all bets are removed from the table, except for bets on that zero, which earn a payout. The existence of the zero gives the house its edge.

American Roulette

American RouletteThis version is popular in, you guessed it, American casinos like the big ones in Las Vegas. Instead of 37 numbers, the American Roulette wheel features 38. The extra number? That would be a double zero. The extra zero gives the house an even bigger house edge over players.

French Roulette

French RouletteRoulette was invented in France, so it makes sense that the country gets its own version of Roulette. The French Roulette board features a different layout than what European Roulette players might be used to. And if you don't speak French, you might need a quick French/English dictionary to translate some of the terms on the board. One term in particular is the La Partage rule. Partage is French for sharing. And the rules means that any even money bets are shared with the house. That means only need to surrender half your bet if the ball lands on zero. That's better than European and American Roulette where all even bets are lost if the ball lands on zero.

California Roulette

California RouletteAustralian casino players are pretty lucky. You can walk into the Crown, play Roulette, head online, and play the same style of game without missing a beat. But in the United States, despite the fact that Las Vegas is the gambling capital of the world, not every state is so gambling friendly. California is one of those states. At casinos in California, only games of skill and card games are allowed. That means no Roulette.

But Roulette players have an option. To skirt the laws, California offers a variation of Roulette called, you guessed it, California Roulette. Instead of a wheel with slots, the California Roulette wheel features cards, numbered 1 through 36, 0, and 00. Players bet on the Roulette board just as they would in an Australian casino that features regular Roulette. The dealer spins the wheel, and once the wheel comes to a stop, he removes the card and presents it to the players. All winning bets are paid out accordingly.

You can find almost every variation of Roulette at online casinos, so don't be afraid to try one out. Remember, most online Roulette casinos let you play for free - many without even asking you to sign up. So have some fun, no matter what type of Roulette experience you've got an appetite for.

Roulette Variations FAQ

Which roulette variation should I pick?

If you are a keen gambler focused on trying to get the biggest edge and most bang for your buck, European roulette is a wise choice due to its smaller house advantage. That said, the American version can also be fun if you are looking to play just a few spins in a hopes of some quick and big winnings before moving onto something else.

Are the odds of winnings the same?

They are not, because the number of slots is slightly different (36 or 37) depending on if you are playing European/French or American roulette. For instance, hitting a straight-up number bet in the European game carries odds of 36 to 1. That same bet in the American game pays slightly higher at 37 to 1.

This means that the big difference between the two varieties is the house edge. Because of the extra 00 slot in the American game, the house has a 5.26% advantage (versus only a 2.70% one on Euro wheels). And the big difference between European vs. French is that in the latter, a hit on a 0 means that your bets are shared with the house, which is much better than all bets being removed from the table (except for bets on 0) as in the European game.

Which is more popular in Australia?

Possibly because it is older and has a smaller house advantage, European roulette is much for common in all around the world in places not America.

Can I play all variations under a single account?

Yes! Just as you can switch back and forth between playing blackjack and poker, you can also switch between roulette styles (without switching accounts) as long as your online casino offers these multiple variations.

Are roulette systems applicable to all game variations?

Yes! Whether you are a proponent of the Martingale, Laboucher, or Red system, any one you can implement in a land-based casino can be used online as well. Some systems might even become easier to use because you'll have a calculator and word processor at your fingertips (as opposed to pen and paper at the table) to keep track of your plays.