How the European Roulette Works: Full Guide

Full Guide on European Roulette

8 min

Our casino experts made an in-depth guide that includes the true meaning of European Roulette and many other important facts.

Learn the European Roulette basics with a gambling specialist guide that knows how to pick only relevant information. We also cover the European wheel design and origin, so no question remains unanswered.

What’s European Roulette?

A game of chance where players try to guess in which compartment a small ball will land on a revolving wheel. There are 37 numbers inscribed on the European wheel where the small sphere can land. This would be a standard definition for the European Roulette for the UK market.

Since its creation, this game has become a popular and iconic casino option. Most brick-and-mortar casinos and all live dealer casinos from the UK market include European wheel games.

The game’s origin

Roulette was around since the 18th century when two brothers Francois and Louis Blank, launched the single zero roulette in 1843. Today this is the critical difference that sets it apart from other versions.

The word roulette comes from French and means “little wheel”. It’s widely believed that the Italian game Biribi was the inspiration for the roulette game we know today.

European Wheel Design

European roulette wheel - table layout - number distribution

The European wheel had many design variations over the years, mainly from the materials used to make it. Manufacturers are usually encouraged to create new designs without altering the game or the randomness.

The UK market has rules to make sure the machine cannot be rigged and maintains fairness.

For example

In brick and mortar casinos the materials used to make a European wheel and the ball must not have magnetic properties. Policies like this ensure no tampering is possible that can create unfair advantages.

Roulette wheel number distribution

The number distribution is a critical feature of the European Roulette. The 37 numbers go from 0 to 36. Half the numbers have the colour red, and the other half is black. Furthermore, zero has the colour green.

Number allocation

Starting from zero and going right the numbers are distributed as follows:


The red and black on the European wheel alternate, so no two numbers with the same colour are next to each other. Considering their distribution shown above, 32 is red, 15 is black, and so on. One of the critical factors that define the game is that zero has red and black adjacent numbers. Thus creating the perfect balance.

Suppose you draw a straight line from the number zero on the European wheel, separating it into two halves. One side will contain all the low black and high red numbers, and the other is reversible.

European Roulette table layout

The table layout features all the numbers inscribed in the European wheel. However, putting the numbers aside, there are other betting options there.

There are specific segments on the table for placing different bets that encompass more than one number.

Outside bets

Two portions are dedicated for bets on all the numbers with one of the two colours, red or black. The same as colours, there are two sections for betting on odd or even numbers. Another two parts are dedicated to betting on high numbers (19-36) and low numbers (1-18).

Also, the numbers are split into three categories of 12. Each represents the first, middle and last 12 numbers in the European wheel in ascending order. Lastly, the table has the option of betting on three specific horizontal rows of numbers, and they are inscribed with 2:1.

This table layout strictly follows the definition behind the European Roulette. It is featured on the best online casinos from the UK market with table games, live dealer games or both.

What’s the difference between European, American, and French?

What’s the difference between European, American, and French

Some essential differences that set apart the European Roulette when comparing it with the other two. Each one has its perks and disadvantages.

  • French

The table and wheel layout are identical. But the thing that distinguishes the French option from the standard European Roulette is mainly related to the rules. These are two playing options specific to French roulette that are not found in its counterparts, the “la partage” and “en prison”.

Both rules apply to outside bets, meaning any wagering option inscribed on the table that is not in the section where the 37 numbers are shown.

Thus, outside bets refer to table inscriptions that encompass large groups of numbers like colour, for example.

“La partage”

It means that if you place an outside bet and the ball lands on zero, you can get back half of your wagered sum.

“En prison”

It implies that you could have a second try if you placed an outside bet and the ball landed on zero. However, if the second wheel spin is not successful, you lose the entirety of the wagered amount.

These two rules that benefit the player are the only differences that deviate from their European counterpart. However, since they give the gambler an advantage, the house edge is lower in French roulette than its counterparts. The house advantage it’s generally considered to be around 1.35%.

  • American

This version has three main differences that deviate from European Roulette. However, the UK market has these options present as well.

The online Roulette American guide shows that it features two zero pockets. Thus, raising the total numbers to 38. This extra figure changes the layout when comparing it with the European wheel.

The second zero or double zero raises the house edge to 5.26%, significantly higher than its European and French counterparts.

How to play European Roulette

The whole idea of the game is to guess where the ball will land. You can increase your chances by wagering on groups of numbers that have something in common.

Combine the betting knowledge you get from our guide with the best European roulette online casinos UK. Thus, you’re increasing your chances and you’re one step closer to achieving a roulette session that’s virtually indistinguishable from a land-casino game.

The players place their bets until the croupier says “no more bets” before the wheel rotates or after it starts spinning. In some land-based casinos, each player receives chips with specific colours for better distinguishment of wagers.

In UK online Roulette sites, the rules for every game can be accessed after joining. There you will see everything including how to play the European Roulette.

Betting Options

Apart from those inscribed, there are few different options for placing bets, each with its name and odds.

Betting Options for European Roulette

  • Split Bet – It consists of wagering on two neighbouring numbers at the table by placing the chip between the lines separating them. This can also be placed on zero and its adjacent numbers 1, 2, or 3.
  • Corner Bet – Represents putting the chips at the point where four numbers meet in the table, thus wagering on all four of them.
  • Street Bet – This means placing a wager on three numbers that form a vertical row at the table. An example would be 22,23,24 since they are in the same column.
  • Line Bet – It involves putting a bet at the end of a line that separates two vertical columns. By doing this, the player wagers on six numbers at the two neighbouring vertical rows.

French bets

The French bets encompass multiple numbers and are based on specific European wheel sectors. Each sector comprises adjacent numbers clustered together under a particular name to make placing bets on them more accessible.

It is noted that not all brick-and-mortar casinos from the UK market allow this kind of bet. As for iGaming platforms, it depends solely on each game since some have those wagering options and others do not.

  • Bets that involve zero Zero Game (Jeu zero) means placing split bets on numbers near zero 12-35-3-26-0-32-15 as follows: one chip on 0-3, 12-15, 32-35 splits and one on the number 26.
  • The Neighbours of Zero (Voisins du Zero) are the 17 numbers between 9 and 17 on the European wheel. Their distribution is 22-18-29-7-28-12-35-3-26-0-32-15-19-4-21-2-25. The wagers are one chip on 12-15, 18-21, 19-22 and 32-35 split, two chips on 0-2-3, two-chip on 25-26-28-29 corner.
  • Bets that do not contain zero – A third of the Wheel (Tiers du Cylindre) or Tiers as they are more commonly known represent the 12 opposite numbers of zero. Their sequence is 27-13-36-11-30-8-23-10-5-24-16-33. The idea is to place one chip bets on 5-8, 10-11, 13-16, 23-24, 27-30, 33-36 splits.
  • Orphans (Orphelins) are what’s left between the neighbours of zero and the tiers. Two series comprise 1-20-14-31-9 and 17-34-6. The bets allocate one chip on four splits 6-9, 14-17, 17-20, 31-34 and on number 1.
  • The bet that can be placed anywhere – Neighbours Bet indicates four numbers adjacent to one specific number and places a one-chip bet on each one of them. For example, you can choose the number 22 on the wheel.

This means that you will bet one chip on it and another four chips on 18, 29, 9, 31 each. Considering all four numbers are neighbours of 22.

Apart from the betting options, there are different strategies that UK market gamblers use to play more efficiently. The most popular are the roulette Martingale system and the Paroli betting system. which are easy to understand and apply.

European Roulette Payout

European Roulette Payout

The game has a specific house edge of 2.63%, which results in an RTP of 97.3%. This can differ between games and casinos, but usually, it stays between those margins. The best online casinos that payout have a similar RTP or even higher.

However, scientists have applied different techniques to measure the probability of different outcomes when playing roulette. The conclusion of using their measurement methods demonstrated some biases that can be exploited, raising the player’s return to 18%.

RTP or return to player is a fundamental factor to consider since it shows players’ returns over a long period.

Online casino advantages

The differences between land-based casinos and online ones are few, apart from the obvious physical and digital. Since the house edge is mostly the same for both, iGaming platforms have an advantage. Considering they are easier to access and provide the same game with the same odds.

Another vital factor to consider is that many UK market online casinos have dedicated apps for desktop, phone, or both. These applications make accessing the platform more straightforward, simple and provide improved visual effects. Thus, making roulette games more user-friendly and optimised on UK market casinos.

Final thoughts

This guide brings together our gambling expertise to better understand the UK market casino game that’s a steadfast symbol in the industry. An essential aspect that must be considered is that any gambling endeavour must always be coupled with disciplined behaviour.

After carefully analysing every necessary detail, we concluded that it’s one of the casino games in the UK market with the highest returns topped only by blackjack. However, this high payout is a platform’s average, and each game can have a fluctuating RTP.

Cosmin Brehoi
AuthorCosmin BrehoiAuthor & Editor at CasinoAlpha

Since forever a student of life and writer at his core, he loves to gamble on football matches in his spare time. Combining the art of prediction and a rigorously trained intuition, he has joined the iGaming world to promote a responsible and data-driven approach to sports betting.

Tudor Turiceanu
ReviewerTudor TuriceanuCEO & Chief Editor at CasinoAlpha

Tudor Turiceanu uses his multiple systematic skillsets to oversee and coordinate the CasinoAlpha project. He assists the authors in creating a transparent gambling niche for users. As a CEO and Chief Editor with broad knowledge, Tudor knows the importance of transmitting confident advice.