|European Roulette vs American Roulette - Roulette Odds
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Roulette was invented in France in the 17th century by Blaise Pascal, a French physicist, inventor, and mathematician. Amusingly enough, he was attempting to create a perpetual motion device, not a casino game. Pascal's "little wheel" developed into the roulette we know today in the 18th century, and by the 19th century the game spread throughout Europe and the United States. In the end, perhaps Pascal succeeded in his quest for perpetual motion because these days roulette is one of the most famous and successful casino games and there are roulette wheels spinning every second of the day, even on our computers, mobile phones, and tablets. Today, roulette can be found at most land based casinos and online casinos, but gamblers who value their bankroll should know why some roulette games are better than others.
What's the difference between American roulette and European roulette?
The roulette wheels of 18th century Paris had two "bank slots" or "house pockets" which give the casino it's house edge. Today we know those bank slots as zero (0) and double zero (00). Roulette games with wheels featuring both zero and double zero slots are now known as American roulette.
Two Frenchmen, brothers François and Louis Blanc, introduced the single 0 style of roulette in 1843, in an attempt to compete with other casinos in the German town of Bad Homburg. Single zero roulette became the premier game in Monte Carlo when the Blanc family moved there due to the German government's abolishment of gambling. Over the years single zero roulette, known as French roulette or European roulette, became the premier game all over the world, except in the United States where the double zero wheel remained prevalent.
Roulette Odds and House Edge: American Roulette vs European Roulette
The house advantage, house edge, or expected value, is the amount a player loses on average for any bet. If you bet on a single number in American roulette there is a 1⁄38 probability that you will win 35 times the amount bet and a 37⁄38 chance that you will lose the bet. The expected value is:
−1 × 37⁄38 + 35 × 1⁄38 = −0.0526 (5.26% house edge)
For European (French) roulette, a single number wins 1⁄37 and loses 36⁄37:
−1 × 36⁄37 + 35 × 1⁄37 = −0.0270 (2.70% house edge)
In simple terms, American roulette odds are worse than European roulette odds.
Why European roulette is better than American roulette
American roulette has a house edge almost twice that of European roulette. A lower house edge is better for the player. Next time you play roulette, choose single zero European roulette over double zero American roulette.