European roulette is the classic game of chance and has an air of sophistication and excitement that’s alluring for new and seasoned gamblers.
The spinning red and black roulette wheel immediately conjures up images of Las Vegas casinos, tuxedo-clad croupiers, stacks of colorful chips, and eager players leaning in intently as the small white ball bounces and lands randomly on a number.
In this guide, you’ll learn all about the ins and outs of European roulette. We’ll explore the wheel, the table layout, the types of bets you can make, payout odds, strategy tips, and the main difference between other roulette types, such as American and French roulette. With a rich history spanning over 200 years, the roulette game has stood the test of time, and today, you can play roulette online. Once you understand the rules and betting options, you’ll see why this casino staple still attracts fans. So, let’s begin uncovering the mysteries of this legendary game of fortune.
The centrepiece of any roulette game you play is the iconic spinning wheel. However, there are two types of roulette wheels – the European and American roulette wheels. As you may have guessed, the European wheel is used when playing European roulette, which has slightly different rules than its American cousin.
You can visualize the wheel as being divided into two slices. The European wheel contains only a single zero (0) and the numbers 1-36, while the American version has both a single zero and a double zero (00). This slight distinction affects the house edge, which we’ll explore more in the odds section. The European wheel gives players slightly better odds overall.
The numbers on the roulette wheel alternate between coloured pockets of red and black, with the zero pocket coloured green. The croupier spins the wheel in one direction and then spins the roulette ball in the opposite direction. As the wheel slows down, the ball bounces around randomly before settling into one of the 37 (for single zero wheels) or 38 (for double zero) pockets.
So, while American and European roulette are very similar land and online casino games, the roulette wheels have one subtle variation. But it’s enough of a difference that the two versions have distinctive monikers.
Now that you’re familiar with the iconic roulette wheel itself, let’s explore the roulette table layout where players get to try their luck. The European roulette table has a grid of numbers from 0-36 arranged in three columns of a dozen numbers each. The numbers ascent in order from left to right.
At either end of the table layout, you’ll see larger boxes for the dozen bets – 1st, 12, 2nd 12, and 3rd 12. These allow you to bet on a block of a dozen numbers simultaneously. There are also boxes for red or black, even or odd, and low (1-18) or high (10-36). This covers the “outside” bets, which have close to a 50/50 chance but lower payouts for the maximum bet.
The inside section has all the individual numbers in their respective positions matching the wheel. This grid-like layout allows you to easily place specific number bets or combinations like splits (two adjoining numbers), streets (three horizontal numbers), corners (block of four numbers), etc. These inside bets have higher payouts but much lower odds of hitting.
While the table may look chaotic with many boxes, numbers and betting options, you’ll quickly get the hang of the layout after playing a few spins. Whether you prefer to take a risk on single numbers or play it safer with colour bets or line bets, the betting table nicely intuitively organizes everything.
One of the great appeals of roulette games is that the betting options cater to players of all risk tolerances. You can keep it simple by betting black or red or ratchet up the risk by trying to predict the winning pocket. When you play European roulette online or in a brick-and-mortar casino, the process of actually placing bets is very streamlined.
Inside bets go directly on the number/combination itself on the table grid. If you play in a live casino, you put the chips required for the bet on the felt layout. For online or mobile roulette, players place bets by clicking/tapping the number or geometry shape to place their chip stack. Outside colour bets use the boxes below and above the numbers. You put chips in the red, black, even, odd numbers, 1-18, 19-36 boxes corresponding to what you want to bet on.
The dozens of bets up top allow you to easily call bets on the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd dozen numbers with just one click. At a real casino, the croupier handles putting bets in order and will let you know the minimum and maximum bet size for announced bets. When European roulette is available on your mobile phone, you adjust your chip denomination and one-tap the area you want to bet at most casinos.
You’re good to go as long as you place your bets before the croupier says no more money bets. Part of the fun is surveying the table options and choosing where to spread your chips. It keeps things fast-paced, trying to get more bets in before the wheel spins.
Let’s explore the many bet types available when you play European roulette and their associated payout odds for the winning number. That way you know what you’re eligible to win when good fortune strikes. We’ll break it down into inside and outside bets to keep things organized:
• Straight Up – single number bet that pays 35:1
• Split – players bet on a line between two adjoining numbers that pays 17:1
• Street – place bets on three horizontal numbers paying 11:1
• Corner – bet on a square of four numbers for an 8:1 payout
• Line – six numbers in two rows pays 5:1
• Six line: bet on two adjoining rows with six numbers that pay 5:1
• Basket – first five numbers (0, 00, 1, 2, 3 on American wheel) paying 6:1
• Tiers bets – bet on 12 numbers adjacent on the wheel paying 2:1
• Red/Black – bet on colour outcome for even 1:1 payout
• Odd/Even – bet on an odd or even number result for even 1:1 payout
• High/Low – bet on the lower half (1-18) or higher half (19-36) numbers for even 1:1 payout
• Dozens – dozen sections of 1-12, 13-24, 25-36 pay 2:1
• Columns – 12 number vertical sections pay 2:1
The inside bets, where you pick specific numbers, offer bigger rewards but have a high probability of losing. The outside, even money red/black or high/low bets, pay out more frequently but barely double your original stake. This tradeoff between risk vs reward is central to roulette’s enduring appeal.
Giving players numerous possible bets on the outcome makes the game accommodating to bold risk-takers and cautious conservatives alike. Whether you like methodically putting chips down on individual numbers or randomly sprinkle chips across sections, roulette nicely scratches that gambling itch.
We know roulette is all about the luck of the spin. So, technically, the odds should be the same for every bet – but they are not! Why? The house edge and payout ratios skew the probabilities making some bets far more lucrative than others.
Let’s crunch the numbers! In European casinos playing roulette with just a single zero slot, the house edge across all bets is a modest 2.7%. Considering random variability, this gives the player a reasonable chance to walk away ahead. Compare this to American roulette where the addition of the double zero slot takes the house edge up much higher to 5.26%.
Those seemingly innocuous single zero roulette and double zero wheels pockets heavily sway the odds in the casino’s favour. Since the green pocket zero slots eat away a more significant chunk of losing bets, the European wheel offers significantly better odds for players.
Some casinos also offer the ‘en prison’ rule on even money bets, giving players another chance to win if the ball lands on 0. Alternatively, the ‘la partage’ rule may be available. With this rule, players only lose half their even money bet if the ball lands on 0.
When looking at specific bet types and betting systems, red/black or odd/even have nearly 50/50 odds to hit. So, there’s almost no house advantage on those even money outside bets. Then why not just always bet red or odd? You can’t lose in the long run.
Well, here’s the catch – while your odds of winning any one spin might be 48.65%, the 1:1 payout means lots of small wins struggle to overcome inevitable big losses betting this way. In other words, the payouts don’t offset losing spins sufficiently.
Therefore, while red/black or odd/even seem like smart bets because the odds look favourable, the meagre 1:1 payout means you slowly lose overtime at this rate. That’s why the higher risk and reward proposition on specific inside numbers appeals more to seasoned players.
European roulette has something for everyone. In just a few minutes you can experience a mini roller coaster of emotions as that little white ball bounces around before a number lights up the screen. Win or lose, the suspense itself proves thrilling! It’s simple for new players and statistically complex enough for number crunchers. This timeless casino game creatively blends luck, skill, and chance.