A Proven European Roulette Strategy That Works


Roulette can offer some of the best odds in the casino, provided a player knows how to exploit the rules and make disciplined bets.

While gamblers have attempted to develop winning roulette strategies since the game was invented in the mid 1700’s, only one strategy effectively reduces the house edge while also mitigating one’s long-term exposure to loss.

The first tenet of that strategy is:

Only make even-money bets—and only on a European roulette wheel.

Why You Should Play European Roulette

There are two types of roulette: European and American. It’s important to understand the difference between the two games, as it can represent a significant difference in the odds.

The smart player will avoid American roulette at all costs because the odds are tilted much more in favor of the casino. How is this achieved?

The main difference between the games is reflected in the two wheels pictured here:


Both wheels are numbered to 36. But you may have noticed the European roulette wheel on the left contains a zero, while the American wheel on the right has both a zero and a double zero.



That double zero is the first major difference between European roulette and American roulette. The reason for this disparity dates back to the 1600’s.

When roulette was invented in France in the 17th century, the original wheel contained both a zero and a double zero. But in 1843, casino magnate Francois Blanc tried to attract business by doing something novel:

roulette was invented in France in the 17th century

This man wants to save you money.

He removed the double zero from his roulette wheels, improving the odds for his customers.

By all accounts, this simple gambit paid off. His casino in small-town Germany was soon competing with the major casinos in Paris.

Blanc went on to found the famous Casino Monte Carlo in Monaco and the double zero quickly faded from European roulette wheels. But across the ocean, the American version of roulette remained unchanged.

So how much difference does that extra number make?

Odds For European Roulette

Depending on the rules, European roulette odds are between 2.56% to 3.91% more favorable to players than American roulette. That massive disparity could very well be the difference between an long, profitable stint at the table or a short, unsatisfying stay.

On an even-money bet, a European roulette wheel offers an 18 in 37 chance of winning.

For instance, if a player bets on red to win, there are 18 red numbers on the wheel. The casino would have the 18 black numbers and the zero, for a 19 in 37 chance of winning.

European Roulette Wheel: Even-Money Bets

Player Chances to Win



House Chances to Win



Total House Edge



As you can see, the house retains a 2.7% edge in European roulette.

But thanks to the extra pocket with a double zero, the American roulette wheel gives the house a 20 in 38 chance of winning, while reducing the player’s chances to 18 in 38. This nearly doubles the house edge to 5.26%!

American Roulette Wheel: Even-Money Bets

Player Chances to Win



House Chances to Win



Total House Edge




This disadvantage can be expressed mathematically as:

mathematicall expressed of roulette disadvantage

But it may be more simple to think of it like this:

Gaming houses in the United States have been exploiting this advantage for literally centuries. Walk into any American casino today and check the roulette table: you will almost always see a double zero.


No player in his right mind would knowingly agree to double the house’s edge before laying a bet.

This distinct disadvantage is one reason many savvy bettors refuse to enter brick-and-mortar casinos altogether and prefer to play European roulette online: because it is accessible, no matter what part of the world you live in.

But the single zero isn’t the only advantage of European roulette. Two rules particular to European roulette can reduce the house edge even more.

Important Rules of European Roulette Strategy


Another critical aspect of European roulette strategy involves a rule called “La Partage.” This beneficial rule is standard in French roulette, but it is also common in casinos across Europe.

“La Partage,” which translates to “the Divide,” is a rule that effectively cuts the house edge in half, from 2.7% down to 1.35%. Here’s how it works:

If the marble lands on zero, the house only takes half of a player’s even-money bet. For example:

● Player X bets $100 on red, but zero (green) comes up. Because the zero is neither red nor black, the casino only takes $50 and returns the remaining $50 to the player. Or,

● Player X bets $100 on even numbers, but zero comes up. Because the casino does not recognize zero as an even or odd number, the casino only takes $50 and returns the remaining $50 to the player.

Needless to say, American roulette is not as generous to its players.

Some European casinos also offer a slightly modified version of this rule, called “en Prison.” In this version, the player’s full bet is held for another spin. For example:

● Player X bets $100 on red, but zero comes up. Because the zero is neither red nor black, the casino locks down the original $100 bet for another spin, effectively putting the chips “in prison.”

● If the next spin comes up red, the player wins back his full $100 stake. If it turns up black, the player loses his $100.

● If the spin comes up zero again, house rules apply. Different casinos have different rules for this rare outcome. The house may treat it as a win, rule it a loss, return half the bet, or leave the full bet in prison for a third spin.


As with any table game, know the rules ahead of time. Whether you’re playing roulette online or bellying up to a table at the Casinò di Campione in Italy, you definitely want to avoid any confusion or embarrassment by not knowing house protocol when a zero turns up.

In fact, until you are more familiar with the various versions of La Partage, it may be helpful to find some sites where you can play free European roulette online and get in some practice spins.

Try to find online casinos that play the rule differently, so that you are comfortable with all variations when it’s time to start laying down chips for real.

The bottom line is that all versions of La Partage and en Prison trim the house edge to 1.35%. So regardless of how your casino interprets La Partage, this rule will represent a significant advantage for players and a valuable facet of a winning European roulette strategy.

The final piece of that strategy is to have an intelligent, disciplined betting system.


Use This Winning Strategy When Playing Roulette

A successful European roulette strategy will employ the Martingale System for bet placement. One of the oldest and most respected wagering systems, the Martingale is a progressive betting strategy which works best for even-money wagers, such as betting on red vs. black, or even numbers vs. odd numbers.

The logic is simple:

After each loss, the player doubles his last bet. For instance:

● Player X bets $50 on the even numbers, but an odd number wins. Player X loses his $50, so he then follows it with a bet of $100.

● If Player X wins this time, he is paid $200, meaning he just recouped his total investment ($150) and gained a profit of $50. If Player X loses instead, he simply doubles the last bet ($100), and continues this pattern until he wins.

As you can see, this progression allows the player to continually protect his losses by covering those deficits with the next bet. As soon as Player X wins a single wager, he makes all his money back (plus a profit equal to his original bet), and restarts the progression.

Because the Martingale System is a multi-bet strategy, players should determine their long-term loss tolerance and budget accordingly. In other words, how many losing spins in a row can the player endure? He should determine this ahead of time and set his initial bet accordingly.

Players with a high loss tolerance (i.e., a fat bankroll) often prefer the Martingale System as a European roulette strategy because those players have the luxury of enduring longer streaks until a single winning bet replenishes their stack. But the system can be scaled to any budget.

When using the Martingale System, a little patience and a little planning will go a long way in maintaining one’s confidence and chip stamina at the table, regardless of any cold streaks that may occur in the short-term.

After all, the more rounds you’re able to play, the greater your chance to profit from multiple wins.

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