Understanding The Variants Of Online Roulette


1. Introduction To Roulette Variations
2. The Most Common Roulette Variations
2.1. European Roulette
2.2. French Roulette
2.3. American Roulette
3. Format Variations
3.1. Land-Based Roulette
3.2. Online And Video Roulette
3.3. Live Dealer Roulette
4. Live Dealer Roulette Variations
4.1. Lightning Roulette
4.2. Speed Roulette
4.3. Double Ball Roulette
4.4. Auto Roulette
4.5. Multi-Wheel Roulette

Introduction To Roulette Variations

Roulette is one of the most popular table games in land-based and online casinos. It’s also one of the longest established. Given its heritage, it’s not surprising that we see many variations of this iconic, as industry leaders bring us new innovations and twists to keep things fresh and exciting.

There tend to be two camps when it comes to roulette variations – classic variants and modern variants. The classics include the three main types of roulette that we’ve come to love. The modern-day variants have been designed to alter the way the numbers pay out, different speeds and setups and some give you more than one roulette wheel to bet on.

Within our in-depth guide to roulette variations, spanning those played in brick-and-mortar casinos as well as state-of-the-art online roulette sites, we will explain the differences between the most common games as well as the interesting features of the newest roulette variants to enter the casino.

The Most Common Roulette Variations

Let’s begin by comparing the most popular roulette variations available for players at most casinos. European Roulette is regarded as the original form of this table game, followed by French Roulette, while the American variant was developed later to give casinos across the pond a greater house edge.

European Roulette

The roots of the original setup of the game, the European roulette wheel, date back to the 17th century when French mathematician Blaise Pascal is believed to have devised the mechanism behind the wheel. He’d attempted to build a perpetual motion machine – a physics concept we now know is impossible.

The European roulette wheel is designed with a single zero pocket, in addition to one pocket each for the numbers 1 through 36. This results in a house edge of 2.7%, meaning that for every €100 players as a whole wager, the house is statistically likely to make €2.70.

The biggest possible payouts at a European Roulette table come from straight-up bets on individual numbers, which pay 35:1. Other inside bets on clusters of two, three, four, five or six numbers can also be profitable. There are also many outside bets you can place on the number’s colour and whether it is odd or even. These outside bets pay out 1:1 for each winning selection. The single zero is the only green pocket on a European roulette wheel. The first number to the right of the zero is 32 red, while in some other roulette variants it is 28 black.

French Roulette

On the face of it, it’s hard to tell the difference between a European game and a French one. The wheels are identical, with French Roulette also adopting a single-zero wheel with the same numerical sequence we mentioned above. However, there are several clever nuances in French roulette that could help tip the odds more in your favour.

When you play at a French roulette table, you’ll spot that several of the outside bets are displayed on the table in French.

If you’re used to playing at a European roulette table, the French outside bets are translated as follows:

  • Manque/Passe
    In English, these bets are known as the Low/High bets and allow you to choose either 1-18 or 19-36.
  • Pair/Impair
    In English, these bets are known as the Odd/Even bets.

  • Douzaine
    In English, these bets are known as the Dozen bets, in which you choose either the first, second or third dozen of numbers.

  • Rouge/Noir
    These are the Red/Black bets and allow you to choose either a red or black number.

Beyond the naming of these bets, the biggest difference between French and European roulette is that players of French roulette games get a second chance when they place even-money outside bets.

Whenever the ball lands on the green single zero pocket in French roulette, players get a chance to redeem some of their stake in one of two ways, depending on the rules designated for that table:

  • En Prison Ruling
    In the event that the player loses their even-money bet, their stake remains on the table for the next spin.
  • Le Partage Ruling
    In this ruling, the stake is halved between the player and the house.

There are also five additional “announced bets” available to place at a French roulette table. Although they might sound extravagant, given their French names, they are very easy to use once you get the hang of them.

  • Voisins du Zero
    This is a bet that covers all numbers on the wheel between 22 and 25. You’ll need to place chips spanning all nine numbers, including a split, corner and trio bets. These are known in English as the “neighbours of zero”.
  • Jeu Zero
    This bet covers the six numbers each side of the single zero, as well as the zero itself. This requires you to place three split bets and a straight-up bet on number 26.
  • Orphelins
    This bet covers all numbers on the wheel not included in the Jeu Zero or Le Tiers du Cylinder bets. It requires four split bets and a straight-up bet on number 1.
  • Finales
    This bet allows you to stake on numbers ending in a specific digit e.g. 8, 18, 28.

In French Roulette, the inclusion of either the En Prison or Le Partage rule cuts the game’s house edge from 2.7% to just 1.35%. So it’s a table worth keeping your eyes open for!

American Roulette

American Roulette tables look like European roulette tables at first glance but, once you delve a little deeper, you’ll realise there are some differences.

The main one is that the American wheel has an additional pocket. It might be subtle to the eye, but it makes a big difference to the game.

The additional pocket is a green double zero. This means that American roulette wheels have 38 pockets instead of 37. Accordingly, the odds of winning when wagering on individual numbers is extended from one in 37 to one in 38 – almost doubling the casino’s house edge from 2.7% to 5.26%. It goes without saying that European Roulette is a better option for any roulette player seeking a variant that will make their bankroll last longer. It’s believed that the Americans incorporated an additional double zero pocket because casino owners disliked the low house edge of European roulette when it was exported to the States in the early 20th century.

Format Variations

In recent years roulette’s accessibility as a casino game has increased tenfold. Traditionally, roulette was known as a table game reserved exclusively for high-end casino floors, but more recent technological advancements have made it possible to play your favourite roulette game from the comfort of your settee or even on your daily commute.

Land-Based Roulette

Most brick-and-mortar casinos will operate a couple of roulette table games, often spanning all the European, French and American roulette variants. These establishments tend to offer strict minimum and maximum bets for each spin. The minimums at land-based casinos are usually much higher than you’ll find at an online casino.

Online And Video Roulette

As the technology evolved, it became possible for online casinos to provide virtual roulette games in a digital format. The creation of random number generators (RNGs) and decentralised algorithms enables digital roulette wheels to provide random and provably fair outcomes. Gameplay is often faster with video roulette compared to land-based roulette, and its minimum bets can be much cheaper too.

Live Dealer Roulette

The latest advancement in roulette gaming has been live-streamed tables. These games are hosted in professional studios, managed by trained dealers and transmitted to players’ devices via high-definition streams. You can bet and communicate in real-time, just as you would at a land-based casino. The other major benefit of live dealer roulette is the chance to get involved with a growing number of new versions of roulette.

Live Dealer Roulette Variations

Live casino game technology has allowed for the rise of several new variants of roulette. Let’s take a look at some of the most prominent.

Lightning Roulette

Lightning Roulette is played using a European roulette wheel. It’s very similar to a European roulette game, except for one significant feature. Before each spin, up to five random numbers on the wheel will be ‘struck’ by lightning, multiplying their potential payouts by anything from 50x to 500x. Combine this added winning potential with a random number generator and stunning game interface, it’s easy to see why lightning roulette has become a hot topic. 

Speed Roulette

This latest super-fast version of roulette could be right up your street. If you like to play before bedtime or during your daily commute, Speed Roulette can give you a faster roulette experience on your desktop, smartphone or tablet. Speed roulette games take no more than 25 seconds between spins!

Double Ball Roulette

Why not really mix this up with two balls in play at a time? With Double Ball Roulette, there’s no way that the balls can collide on their way around the wheel, as compressed air keeps them a set distance apart. The biggest feature in this game is the chance to bag payouts 1,300:1 if both balls land in the same pocket! Aside from the double ball prize, you can place all the classic inside and outside bets as any other roulette game.

Auto Roulette

If you’d rather play a live roulette game that doesn’t involve a human dealer, you can try live automatic roulette games. The wheels are fully automated, with the ball sent spinning by an internal mechanism as opposed to a human dealer. It’s still possible to interact with the other players at the table via the live chat box, while you can play your bets as normal on the racetrack betting table.

Multi-Wheel Roulette

Probably the most action-packed variant of roulette you’ll find online. Giving you the ability to bet on three roulette wheels at once, players have the chance for added winning potential. All inside and outside bets are available to play. Multiple camera angles make it easy to keep on top of the results of all three wheels simultaneously.

Play Diverse Online Roulette Variants At LiveRoulette

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