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Roulette Variations

The two types of roulette wheels

When playing roulette you may choose between two types of wheels:

The American Roulette wheel

This type of roulette wheel has all the numbers 1 to 36 on it, and a 0 and a 00 slot. This adds up to a total of 38 numbers on the wheel. For a detailed diagram of the American roulette wheel visit our Roulette Wheel section.Each number is either colored red or black. All the even numbers are red and all the odd numbers are black. 0 and 00 are green and if the ball stops on either one of these numbers the house automatically wins.

The house advantage when playing an American wheel is a high 5.26%. This translates into a $5.26 loss for every $100 spent on a total of 38 spins. This house advantage is double to the one you are facing when playing a European wheel. The high house advantage is due to the extra 00 slot.

Only when playing an American wheel will you be able to make a "Five number bet". This means that you will be wagering on five numbers at the same time, but these numbers must be 0, 00, 1, 2, and 3. We advise you not to place such a bet. This is the worst bet that you could make when playing roulette. The house advantage is 7.89%, the highest house advantage you will ever face when playing roulette.

American wheels are widely spread in casinos all across America. This doesn't mean that you will not find European wheels as well. Just that you will have a hard time finding them.

The European and the French Roulette Wheel

The European wheel has all the numbers 1 to 36 on it, plus a 0 slot. This adds up to a total of 37 numbers on the wheel.For a detailed diagram of the European roulette wheel visit our Roulette Wheel section.

The house advantage that you are facing when playing a European wheel is 2.70%. This translates into a $2.70 loss for every $100 spent on a total of 38 spins. Compared to an American wheel the house advantage is considerably lower. As a matter of fact the house advantage is twice as low. That is why players prefer to play European wheels and not American wheels. The low house advantage means better chances for the player. Your odds of winning are better when playing a European wheel compared to playing an American wheel.

But wait, there's more. When playing European wheels you can further increase your odds by using the "En prison" or "La Partage" option. This rule resembles the "Surrender" option offered by Atlantic City casinos. If you have placed an even money bet and the ball stops on 0 you have two options at your disposal:
  1. You can "imprison" your bet. This means that the chips stay on the table, your bet is still active and the next spin will determine if you win or lose.

  2. You can give up half your betting amount. You will receive half of your betting amount back, and the house will take the other half.
When making use of the "En Prison" option you are lowering the house advantage to 1.35%, so this is one of the best bets that you can make when playing roulette. A regular European wheel game offers a house advantage of 2.70%. A European wheel game that offers the "En Prison" option has a house advantage of 2.63%. This is not much, but it's still better than nothing.

European roulette games that offer the "En Prison" option are also known as "French roulette".


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