The Basics Of American Roulette

Before we delve into the nuances of American roulette and why it’s a great game for players of all skills levels, let’s discuss why it’s different from European roulette. In terms of the way you bet and the aim of the game, things are identical. But, when you look at an American roulette board, you’ll notice that it contains one extra number. Instead of having 37 numbers like European roulette, the American game has 38.

Now, if we didn’t tell you this you might not have noticed because the extra number isn’t added to the end of the run. In other words, the sequence of numbers doesn’t go from 0 to 37. In this instance, 36 is still the highest number because additional betting option is next to 0. Put simply, on an American roulette board you’ll see 0 and 00. In fact, another name for this variant is Double Zero Roulette.

FACT ATTACK“Add up all the numbers on a roulette board and you get the number of the beast: 666”

Casino bosses of the past changed the game…

To understand why this extra number appeared, we have to go back to the 18th century. As French immigrants travelled to the US, they took with them their games and customs. One such game was roulette. Despite appreciating the premise, American casino owners in the south didn’t like the low house edge European roulette offered the player. To address this, two additional betting options were added: 00 and an eagle symbol. These extra symbols gave the casinos a 12.90% edge over the player.

Over time, players began to push back against the casinos. The end result was the removal of the eagle symbol. This left 38 numbers and a house edge of 5.2%. Today, this dynamic is still in place and it’s the reason savvy players often choose European roulette over its transatlantic sibling. So why does American roulette have a greater house edge? Because the payouts are the same, despite the addition of an extra number.

For example, in a game of European roulette with 37 numbers, a straight up bet will payout at 35:1. At the American tables, you’ll receive exactly the same payout but there will be 38 numbers in play. This discrepancy is the reason European roulette’s house edge is 2.7% and American’s is 5.2%.

Why Play American Roulette?

The obvious question at this point is: why would I play American roulette if it offers worse odds? Well, if you’re looking at it from a purely mathematical perspective, the answer is you shouldn’t play it. For the best possible win rate, you should play European roulette. However, when you simply focus on the maths, you ignore the other reason we all play: entertainment.

Whenever you play slots, poker, blackjack or any other online casino game, the first thing you should be thinking about is are you enjoying yourself. If you’re not having fun, all the money in the world won’t make for a pleasurable experience. When you think about it like this, American roulette can actually be more exciting. Why? Simple: because the extra number adds another element of uncertainty to the game.

FACT ATTACK“Joseph Jagger broke the bank at Monte Carlo in 1873 after spotting a defect on the casino’s roulette wheel”

One of roulette’s biggest draws is the sense of anticipation you feel as the wheel spins and the ball bounces and bobbles into place. With another betting option on the table, this sense of drama is heightened and that makes everything more interesting. So, if you’re looking for reason to play American roulette online, this would be it.

How To Play American Roulette

OK, so now we’ve told you what American roulette is, why it’s different and the reason you should play. The next thing you need to know is how to play. For anyone that’s not seen a game of roulette before, the action runs as follows:

  1. Select your stakes.
  2. Choose a number/group of numbers you believe will appear when the wheel stops.
  3. Place a chip on the relevant section of the board and wait for the wheel to stop.
  4. Collect your winnings (if you’re lucky) and repeat.

If it seems easy, it is. In fact, it’s so easy that everyone can play. However, before you sit down, it’s worth knowing the bets you can make. To this end, here are the betting options available at all American roulette tables:

FACT ATTACK“In the old days, roulette balls were made of Ivory. Today, they’re typically made of plastic”

Inside Bets:

Straight Up/Single Number: If you’ve got a hunch about a certain number, you can place a singles bet. By placing a chip on one number inside the board, you’ll be in line for a 35:1 payout if your pick is correct.

Split: To bet on two adjacent numbers at the same time, you can split them. By putting your betting chip on the line in between the two numbers you want to bet on, you’ll cover both and have the chance to bank a 17:1 return on your investment.

Street: A street is three numbers in a line across the betting board. To place a street bet, place a chip at start of the street i.e. the line between the outside bets and the inside bets. This wager is worth 11:1 on your money if successful.

Corner/Quarter: When you want to cover four numbers, put a betting chip in the centre of an imaginary square. Doing this will split four numbers and payout at 8:1.

Six-Line: This is basically two street bets rolled into one. The chip is placed in almost the same position except that it bisects two lines. A win with his one is 5:1.

Top-Line Bet: Exclusive to American roulette, this wager has a house edge of 7.9% and allows you to cover five numbers. To make this bet, you can place a chip on the line the runs through the middle of 0, 00 and 1, 2, 3. If you make this bet and win, you’ll earn 6:1 on your stake.

FACT ATTACK“The marker used to show the winning bet in a game of American roulette is called a dolly”

Outside Bets:

Dozen: When you look at the betting board, the first, second and third group of 12 numbers are all divided into groups. Otherwise known as dozens, these options allow you to make a single bet, cover 12 numbers and win 2:1 on your money.

Column: Virtually identical to dozen bets, columns payout at 2:1 and cover 12 numbers split into three horizontal lines.

Red/Black: Will the number be red or black? That’s the question you’re answering with this bet. Get it right and you win 1:1.

Odd/Even: Just like the red/black bet, odd/even allows you to speculate on whether the result will be odd or even and win 1:1 on your bet.

High/Low: The final 1:1 bets on an American roulette table is the low or high options. Choose the “low” box, you’re covering numbers 1 to 18. Place it in the “high” box and numbers 19 to 36 are yours.

FACT ATTACK“The bank at Monte Carlo was broken again in 1891 when Charles Deville won 23 out of 30 spins”

Exotic Bets:

Neighbours Bets (Five Bet): Because French themed bets such as Voisins du Zero aren’t commonly used in American roulette, you won’t be able to place a ton of “exotic” wagers in this game. However, if you do want to mix things up, you can place a neighbours bet. This is a five-chip bet that allows you to select a number and then cover two additional numbers either side of your pick. For example, if you place a neighbours bet on 16, you’d also cover 5, 24 and 1, 33. Because these are single bets, the payout is 35:1.

American Roulette Strategy

The Best American Roulette Software Providers

Just because it comes the from US, it doesn’t mean the top UK online casinos don’t offer American roulette. In fact, when you check out our recommended casino sites, you’ll see that the leading software developers all have their own take on the game.


Before You even start playing American roulette with NetEnt, you know the game is going to be packed with features thanks to a video sequence. This focus on added drama and quality spills over onto the table. The wheel is situated above the betting board in the centre of the screen. In addition to this unique layout, these games allow you to review a ton of stats, including the hit rates for certain outcomes and which numbers are hot/cold.


When you take a turn on Playtech’s Premium American Roulette tables, you’ll be treated to a number of impressive features. In the first instance, bets start from as little as £0.50 but can reach the heady heights of £500+ if you’re a high roller. Additionally, all tables show the recent results and the percentage of the board your bets are covering. Using this, you can refine your bets to make the maximum returns when you win.

Evolution Gaming

To play live American roulette, you really need to check out Evolution’s software. As well as employing the best croupiers around, this game provider takes the American theme to the max. In other words, the setting has a Las Vegas theme and you can get up close and personal to the action curtesy of multiangle HD webcams.

Is American Roulette For You?

Before you rush off and explore the American roulette tables on offer at our top-rated UK casino sites, we want to leave you with something to think about. Just because this game is hugely entertaining, it’s important to remember that it’s not the only roulette variant in town. Indeed, if it’s not for you, then our advice is to try something like French, European or Double Wheel roulette.

To help you decide, here are a few things to ponder:

American Roulette is for you if…

  • You enjoy high drama games
  • You like to have more betting options.
  • You want virtual, live, desktop and mobile options.

American Roulette isn’t for you if…

  • You’re a math-based player.
  • You want the lowest house edge possible.
  • You’re looking for £1 million+ jackpots.

American Roulette: Drama, Entertainment And Fun

If we leave the mathematics of the game aside, American roulette is hugely entertaining. The extra betting option creates an air of uncertainty that only adds to the excitement you feel as the ball gradually moves from one number to another. Add to this some unique betting options and plenty of clever features courtesy of the top casino software suppliers and it’s easy to see why this game is a community favourite. To dive into the action and play the American way, take a look at our partner casino sites today.