Roulette, the very symbol of casinos in popular culture, has already spread all over the world. European colonization, globalization and the Internet have all done their part throughout the game’s history, establishing the humongous player base we now know of. By now, anyone with access to the casinos or the World Wide Web can play roulette, from whatever country where gambling is allowed.
European Roulette Vs. American Roulette
Roulette is no longer the same old game governed by a single set of rules. The game has seen many variations during its spread, many of these have simply come and gone. At present, there are two most common and well-known varieties of the game: the American roulette that’s played in the Americas and French or European roulette being played in the European continent and elsewhere.
Some people would think that these are just the same thing with rather trivial variations. They’re wrong, as both versions of roulette are known by many as distinct from each other. In this article, we will be tackling European roulette and how different it is from its New World counterpart.
European Roulette Games Explained
Contrary to popular belief, the European roulette is not merely a classier version of the casino game’s American version. The main characteristics that really distinguish the former from the latter are neither the fancy French terms nor rules exclusive to this version, but simply the game’s lack of a double zero (00) betting slot.
There’s quite some history on how the single zero roulette wheel became dominant in European casinos. The wheel, a creation of 17th century inventor Blaise Pascal, was said to originally have only 37 numbers, 1-36 and one zero. Years later, the game roulette was created and became a casino staple, well after which the double zero was added to the wheel to increase the house advantage.
The standard double zero roulette proved to be a very popular game, eventually spreading to the New World and elsewhere. Meanwhile in Europe, François Blanc created an elite gambling mecca out of Monte Carlo, Monaco after gambling was banned in Germany, where the Blanc family was operating the last legal casino in the Old World. Blanc preferred the single zero wheel, which has since then became popular in Europe.
There’s a good reason that this version of roulette became an Old World favorite. This is the fact that it has a lower house advantage of 2.7%, a significantly lower percentage compared to American roulette’s almost doubled 5.26% which, as if it’s not enough, can increase up to 7.89% for certain bets. A lower house advantage means that the player’s bet has better chances of winning. To simplify, European roulette has 36 betting slots (numbers 1-36 and 0) but pays 35 to 1 (35 chips for a single chip bet) while the game’s American version has the same payout for straight bets and has 37 betting slots (1-36, 0 and 00).
European Casino Roulette Rules
The European version of roulette basically plays just like its American counterpart, except that it lacks the first-five bet (0-00-1-2-3 combination) and has a few unique rules. In American roulette, when the ball lands on one of the zero slots and your stakes is not on it or is an outside bet, you simply lose the spin. This is not the case in the casino game’s European variant. When the ball hits zero, you are given two options: avail of the benefits of the “La Partage” rule, or put it “En Prison”.
The La Partage rule comes in favor of the player. It drastically cuts the 2.7% house advantage to 1.35% and thus increases the chances of winning the spin. This special rule allows the player to retain half of his bet once the ball lands on zero. La Partage applies only to outside bets, where the chances of winning are already pretty good. Unfortunately, not all casinos feature this rule, as they are all businesses aiming to attain as large profit as possible.
Meanwhile, the En Prison rule is an alternative to La Partage. When the ball lands on zero in a spin, La Partage rule is brought into play and allows the player to recover half of his chips. However, if the stakes is on even money bets (e. g. even/odd), the player may choose to put it En Prison – literally meaning “imprison” – by letting the entire bet remain where it was for the next spin. What happens to the ball if the spin results once more in zero varies from one casino to another.
Without a doubt, European roulette is preferred by many players and casino owners for its higher winning odds and rules like La Partage that spice up the gameplay. If you haven’t tried this version of roulette yet, you better do so soon and we assure you that you’ll be hooked.