Which Version of Roulette is Best for Your Bankroll?

A screen broadcasts a virtual roulette table. AFP PHOTO VALERY HACHE.

Roulette is one of the most popular games at the online casinos that have been launched across the United States in recent years. It is a fun, fast, and varied game, so it is easy to see why so many people love spinning the virtual roulette wheel.

However, beginners may fall into the trap of playing a roulette variant with an inferior RTP (return to player ratio). That can seriously damage your chances of earning a profit, so we have broken down the various roulette games to help you find your perfect match.

American Roulette vs. European Roulette

You are probably aware of the basic mechanics of roulette. You place your chips on certain numbers, or on side bets like red/black, odd / even, or high/low, and then you spin the wheel and hope the ball nestles into a favorable pocket.

On a European roulette wheel, there are 37 pockets (0 to 36), and each number pays out at 35/1. Eighteen of the numbers are red, and 18 are blacks. Therefore, you have an 18 in 37 chance of success if you bet on red or black. It means that the theoretical RTP on a European roulette wheel is 97.3%. That is better than most online slots.

A team member at the ‘Grosvenor Casino Leo’ prepares a roulette table for play. Photo by OLI SCARFF / AFP.

American roulette differs from European roulette by adding in an extra pocket – the double-zero. That means your chances of success on a side bet are 18 in 38. It brings the RTP down to a far less attractive 94.74%.

It may feel patriotic to play American roulette as opposed to its European counterpart, but your chances of success will be diminished. The only time it ever makes sense to choose American roulette is if you are offered a specific, attractive bonus to do so – something that increases your expected value (EV).

French Roulette

French roulette is even more appealing than European roulette, because of a rule called la partage. It means you get half your stake (bet amount) back if the ball lands on zero. The wheel is identical to a European roulette wheel, with numbers 0-36, but the half-refund when it hits zero ensures that the RTP on French roulette increases to 98.65%.

That makes French roulette one of the best casino games for anyone seeking a high theoretical RTP. It is not particularly common, but it is always worth hunting for French roulette, as you get all the excitement of European roulette, but with a better chance of overall success.

Ekectronic table game for roulette at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. Ethan Miller/Getty Images/AFP

Alternative Forms of Roulette

Most people play virtual roulette, which is run by a Random Number Generator (RNG) algorithm. It throws up random results, which dictate where the ball lands. RNG software is used for all slots and virtual casino games, and it is regularly tested by external adjudicators from licensing authorities to check its fairness and reliability.

However, many players prefer to see a real-life dealer spin the wheel. They find it reassuring, more immersive and more sociable. You can sign up for an online casino with live dealer games and connect with a croupier in a dedicated studio or a land-based casino to play roulette, with European and American variants generally offered.

Software studios are also growing increasingly creative in a bid to keep players entertained. You can now find a wide variety of themed roulette games, including double ball roulette, lightning roulette, auto roulette, mini roulette and much more. You should be able to see the rules and the RTP before deciding whether to play one of these games. If the casino does not highlight the RTP, you can contact customer service, or visit the website of the software provider.