If we asked you to dance with the Devil, you’d probably decline the offer for fear his hands or point hooves might cause an injury. However, if we said would you like to take a spin on the Devil’s Game, you might be slightly more intrigued. For those not in the know, roulette is otherwise known as the Devil’s Game on account of all the numbers in play adding up to 666.
Now, while that might imply it’s a wicked game, the truth is that roulette is globally loved. Ever since Blaise Pascal started experimenting with perpetual motion and devised a game featuring numbers and a spinning wheel in 1796, the game has evolved into a global pastime. Indeed, wherever you find a casino, you’ll find roulette tables of all shapes and sizes. Given the impressive rise to prominence of the game over the last few centuries, it’s hardly surprising there are various variants of the game now in existence. In fact, even in the early days of roulette, people were only too happy to tinker with the system in the pursuit of even more action. Louis Blanc added the now infamous 0 in 1842 before American gamers added the 00 a few years later.
Today, when you survey the roulette landscape, there are almost a dozen options, each with the own subtle twist.
Take, for instance, the roulette lobby at https://www.sunbets.co.uk/casino/ with its ten options. Some of the games will differ markedly from the assumed “standard”, while others offer maybe one or two little nuances. To cut a long story short, roulette have evolved massively since Pascal’s early innovation and, what’s more, this forward momentum is showing no signs of stopping. Thanks to the internet and our ever-increasing desire for different options, developers are constantly dreaming up new ways for us to spin with the Devil. Of course, to know where we’re heading, you need to know where we’ve been and how things stand right now.
So, with this in mind, we’ve picked out some of the main variants you’ll now find offline and online. Although the main premise of picking the right number/combination of numbers/colour remains the same, the options you have will differ from game-to-game.
The Casino Classics
European Roulette: Often seen as the starting point for all forms of roulette, this version of the game is marked by a single 0. In total, there are 37 numbers on the betting board/wheel ranging from 0 to 36. In addition to placing straight up bets on a single number, you can bet split two numbers, cover three numbers (a line) or wager a single chip on a corner (four numbers). Additionally, outside bets such as rows, columns, odd/even, red/black and 1 to 18 and 19 to 36 give you the chance to cover a large group of numbers with one bet. From a payout perspective, 35:1 is the most you can win by betting on a single number, while the even money shots such as red/black payout at 1:1.
American Roulette: This variant is virtually identical to European Roulette, except it has a double zero (00) in addition to the single zero (0). Besides this difference, everything else, from the flow of betting to the payouts you’ll receive, are identical. However, and this is the big difference, American Roulette favours the house more. Even though there is an extra number in play (i.e. 38 total numbers instead of 37), your returns in this game will be the same as they are in European Roulette. In mathematical terms, the chances of picking a correct number are 38:1 instead of 37:1, but the payout is fixed at 35:1. In reality, this means the house edge in American Roulette is 5.25% on a single number, while it’s just 2.7% in European Roulette. This trend continues across the betting options, which demonstrates that it’s actually a better move to play European Roulette.
French Roulette: Again, like the above two examples, French Roulette features the same flow of action. However, this game has more of an affinity with European Roulette because it only has the single zero. Beyond these similarities, the standout features of French Roulette are the group bets. When you look at the betting board itself, you’ll see some of the betting boxes are laid out in a slightly different way. Moreover, you’ll be able to cover between four and nine numbers using a single group bet such as an Orphelins. Finally, and this is the real reason you should play French Roulette, the house edge on even money bets is just 1.35% because of something known as La Partage. Put simply, if you place a bet on an coinflip such as red/black and zero spins in, you’ll receive 50% of your stake back!
Enter the Internet
If the three variants above are classified as “traditional” forms of roulette, then the following list is a brief overview of the game’s modern options. Largely a result of the online casino world, these games typically use the European format but bring an extra something to the table:
Progressive Jackpot Roulette: Much like progressive jackpot slots, these games have an additional prizepool that’s always increasing. Options such as Age of the Gods Jackpot Roulette allow you to place a bet on a special symbol and win a jackpot capable of topping £100,000 if it lands.
Immersive Roulette: Essentially a standard form of European roulette but projected in a more intimate way, these games use live dealer technology to make online gaming more realistic. The major selling point for Immersive Roulette is that you’ll get multiple camera angles that help you see more of what’s going on.
Money Back Roulette: Available at certain online casinos, Money Back Roulette is essentially French Roulette on a European Roulette table. Whenever zero rolls in and you’ve made an even money bet, you’ll get part of your stake back. Simple.
Mini Roulette: As its name suggests, Mini Roulette is a scaled down version of the traditional game. In general, Mini Roulette has 13 numbers ranging 0 to 12 and the expected long-term return is 96.15%.
Pinball Roulette: The final innovation you’ll often see online is Pinball Roulette. Aside from looking like a cross between a pinball machine and roulette, this game only features 36 numbers instead of 36 or 37, so your chances of winning are actually much better when you take a spin on this game.
So, there you have it, that’s roulette. Although there may be some more variants out there and, importantly, more to come in the future, the above options are the most common. Naturally, it’s up to you to find a format that suits you, but if you want our advice, we’d steer clear of anyone offering you a game of Russian Roulette.
Dan Smyth is a seasoned casino, poker and sports betting writer with almost a decade’s worth of experience in the industry. After starting out as a poker player, he’s since used his talent for words to create content spanning the full spectrum of gambling endeavours.