Why the Surrender Rule Makes American Roulette Worth Playing

American Roulette Table

American Roulette is the predominant roulette variation in North American casinos. It’s also available at numerous online casinos.

Many gamblers play American Roulette without a second thought. However, those in the know realize that this game is the worst of all roulette variants. After all, it features the highest house edge at 5.26%.

But this game can actually be quite worthwhile if the surrender rule is available. Below, you can read why surrender is so great along with more information on American Roulette.

Basics of American Roulette

American Roulette features a wheel with 38 pockets, including 1-36, zero, and double zero. It’s the only game that features a double zero.

Considering that American Roulette offers more pockets than French, European, or mini roulette, it also provides more available bets. After all, you can include the double zero in some wagers.

Nearly every wager carries a 5.26% house edge. It doesn’t matter if you bet on a single number like 23 or a line or column or on black or odd. Every one of these wagers has the same 5.26% edge for the casino.

The basket bet, however, features an atrocious 7.89% house advantage. The basket is a blanket bet that includes the zero and double zero slot as well as slots 1 to 3.

You place a basket bet on an American Roulette table by placing a chip or chips on the corner at the top of the number lay out on the “3” space. In other words, place it on the top-right corner of the “3.” You win this bet when the ball lands in any of the five slots covered by the wager.

Why Is the American Wheel Terrible?

Again, American Roulette is the only variation with a double zero. This is exactly where the game’s downfall begins.

The zero and double zero pockets both favor the house on most wagers. If you bet on “red” (red/black), for example, then 18 of the pockets will result in a win while 20 cause you to lose. By doing the math (18/38), you can see that you’ve got a 47.37% chance of winning this wager.

Online Casino Roulette Screenshot

Contrast this scenario to the European wheel. European Roulette features 37 pockets, including a single zero. Assuming you make the same red bet on the European wheel, then 18 pockets will give you a win and 19 will cause a lose. Based on the math, you now have a 48.64% chance of winning the exact same wager.

You don’t even need to use any complex strategy to enjoy better odds with European Roulette—you just have to find and choose this game over the American version. Its wheel is more favorable due to the fact that it only features one zero pocket.

What Is the Surrender Rule?

Up until now, you can see that American Roulette is inferior to the European variation. However, the surrender rule can level the playing field.

Surrender awards half your bet back when the ball lands on either zero or double zero. Seeing as how you get half your wager back in this situation, the house edge is halved as well.

You’ll only face a 2.63% house advantage when surrender is in play. In this case, American Roulette isn’t such a bad game.

Other Helpful Roulette Rules

Surrender isn’t the only rule that can boost your odds of beating roulette. Two other such rules are available, including “la partage” and “en prison.”

Here’s a brief explanation on how each works:

  • La partage – You receive half of your money back when the ball lands on a single zero. You must place even-money wagers to take advantage of this rule.
  • En prison – When the ball lands on zero, your bets will be kept “in prison” and decided in the next round. You need to place even-money bets to benefit from this rule as well.

Either la partage or en prison can be available on a European wheel. When either rule is present, then the European house edge is halved from 2.70% to 1.35%.

It also becomes a different game altogether. Most people refer to European roulette with the la partage rule as French Roulette.

What’s the Difference Between Surrender and La Partage?

As you’ll notice above, surrender and la partage are awfully similar. Both of these rules give half of your bet back when the ball ends up in a zero pocket.

How do you tell them apart? The key difference is that the surrender rule applies to both single and double zero. This is simply due to the fact that American Roulette features two different zero pockets.

French Roulette, meanwhile, is played on a European wheel. Therefore, la partage only applies to a single zero because the double zero isn’t even available.

Roulette Ball on Red 36

In summary, surrender and la partage are nearly identical. The difference between them is the makeup of their respective games/wheels.

American Roulette Can Ultimately Be Better Than European Roulette

As covered earlier, American Roulette is typically viewed as the worst variation. It features a 5.26% house edge, which means that it has worse odds than most casino games.

You should avoid the American wheel whenever possible. Instead you want to play European Roulette, which offers a 2.70% house advantage.

Assuming the surrender rule is available in American Roulette, though, then you’ll actually benefit more from playing this game. Its 2.63% house edge is slightly better than what the European game offers.

Of course, you’re splitting hairs when it comes to this tiny advantage. But if you play lots of roulette, then any small boost can help.

Here’s a look at how much you figure to make by playing American roulette with the surrender rule:

Example #1 With the European Wheel

  • You wager $10,000 over the course of a week on this game.
  • House edge is 2.70%.
  • 10,000 x 0.027 = $270 in theoretical losses

Example #2 With the American Wheel (with surrender)

  • You wager $10,000 over the course of a week on this wheel.
  • House edge is 2.63%.
  • 10,000 x 0.027 = $263 in theoretical losses

Where Can You Find the Surrender Rule?

Most casinos don’t advertise when they feature the American wheel in combination with surrender. This is a shame when considering that they could draw more roulette players in this manner.

In any case, you can find the surrender rule in popular land-based gambling destinations and at online casinos.

If you’re in the mood to play at brick and mortar casinos, then you should check out Atlantic City or Las Vegas. Both gaming hubs feature the surrender rule in certain casinos.

You can also locate this rule at many gaming sites. After all, online casinos want to encourage you to try both their American and European Roulette games.

Closeup of a Casino Roulette Wheel

French Roulette Still Reigns Supreme

You can see that American Roulette is a good game to play under the right circumstances. However, nothing is better than the French variation.

As discussed before, French Roulette combines two elements that make it superior to any other variant:

  • The European wheel
  • La partage

These two factors combine to give French Roulette a 1.35% house advantage. You can’t do much better than this anywhere else in the casino.

French roulette is mostly available in European casinos throughout France, Germany, and Monte Carlo. You can also find it online at RealTime Gaming, Microgaming, and Live Dealer Roulette Online casinos.


American Roulette isn’t the most appealing game on the surface. Its 5.26% house edge makes it almost unplayable to knowledgeable gamblers.

However, the American wheel doesn’t have to be so terrible. It’s actually worth playing when the surrender rule is available.

If surrender is present, American Roulette only has a 2.63% house advantage. It’s even better than European Roulette in this case.

Of course, you can give yourself the ultimate chance of winning by playing French Roulette. In this case, you’ll only be looking at a 1.35% house edge. But if you can’t find this game, then American Roulette with surrender makes for a nice fallback plan.