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  European Roulette:

European Roulette is also called “single-zero roulette.” This is indicative of the fact that it differs from American Rules Roulette (also called “double-zero roulette”) mainly because the wheel contains only one green zero compartment, instead of a zero and a double-zero (00) pocket, both green.

In most other respects, playing European Roulette is an identical experience to playing the American version of the game. The players lay down their chips or call out their wagers, and the wheel (segmented into small, numbered compartments called pocket) is set spinning. Wagers are bet on where the ball dropped onto the wheel will eventually land. It is a highly ritualized game. A great deal of the thrill comes from the ceremony of laying out the wagers, and the suspense from watching the ball spin, waiting for the results. Roulette is by no means a no-frills game. In fact, one might say that the frills are the game. In addition, both the European and American versions are games of chance, with complex betting rules.

Unfortunately, delving into the technical details of the many types of bets one can place in roulette is somewhat outside the scope of this review. Instead, we will be focusing on the special distinguishing characteristic of European Roulette (the one-zero feature) and its implications for play and wagers.

Historically, European Roulette is younger than the American version. True, roulette has its roots in Europe. However, the first version of roulette to become popular in Old World casinos had two zeros on its wheels. It was only later, beginning in Germany, that wheels with a single zero on them began to be more prevalent. The subtraction of this single slot was a move in the player’s favor. Put succinctly, having fewer options means fewer ways to bet wrong, i.e. a slightly higher possibility of betting right.

European Roulette


The implications of a single zero are especially visible when it comes to even-money bets. The zero or double-zero slots are always the killjoy on such bets, as they constitute a sort of house-only third side to bets on which you can only wager two ways. For example, when you bet “high” or “low,” you bet that the ball will land on a low number (1 to 18) or a high number (19 to 36). If the ball lands on one of the zero pockets, the house wins all bets. All the players lose money, whether they bet high or low.

With less risk over all, players have slightly more reason to experiment with statistical or monetary strategies when it comes to playing roulette. Of course, such strategies have very haphazard or limited effectiveness. Each spin is an independent event, and so the predicting results on the basis of previous spins are build on false assumptions.

If the loss of the double-zero slot from the roulette wheel constitutes a disadvantage for the house, why then do so many casinos offer roulette wheels with only one zero? Simple. It is because savvy players clearly prefer single-zero roulette wheels. A casino with double-zero roulette wheels might have better odds, but its roulette wheels would be much less popular than single-zero roulette wheels in other casinos. Casinos are subject to market forces, too. In a competitive environment, they are likely to lose business if their game set-ups tilt too far in their own favor.

Of course, the best roulette wheel would be one in which there were no zeros at all, simply pockets numbered from 1 to 36, half being red and the other half being black. However, casinos are well aware of this, and you are most likely to only be able to choose between playing roulette with one zero or two. (Of course, it is possible that all the casinos in your area will use the same rules, in which case you will not have much choice, after all.)

European Roulette Table


Still, the good news is that online casinos are available—ones that let you gamble for real money and ones where you gain and lose points or credits, but do not hazard real cash. Most online casinos will offer roulette as one of their games. In that case, it is better for you to give your business to an online casino that operates under the European Rules of roulette.

An additional note for the wary: it must be understood that, with reliable online casinos, the software for roulette is carefully calibrated to follow the same statistical laws as real or non-virtual roulette wheels. Provided the online casino is an honest and guarded from viruses and bugs, there is no reason to fear that your odds for winning in an online roulette game are worse than those in a traditional roulette game.

However, the idea of European Roulette as the variation with better odds for players is being challenged. A few online casinos are offering roulette games with no zeros on the wheel at all, which reduces the house advantage to non-existence. So-called “no-zero roulette” is available, though it is still nowhere near common enough to pose a real threat to the prevalence of American and European Roulette.

Even so, we must not forget the history of European Roulette as the former underdog in the competition between double-zero and single-zero roulette. There was a time when only a few gambling houses offered single-zero roulette, but the popularity of this version was such that many casinos converted from double-zero to single-zero roulette. Is a similar future in the offing for no-zero roulette?

Possibly. Only time will tell. For now, European roulette is the best readily-available option for gamblers, especially for those who prefer real, live casinos to online ones. It offers identical thrills to those in the older double-zero roulette, with a much smaller “house edge,” and better chances for you as a player. This difference may not be a huge one, but given the nature of gambling, sometimes a hair’s breadth of difference in your luck, or a losing streak that is shorter by one spin, is enough to turn you from a loser into a great winner.

  List of casinos with European Roulette:

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