Roulette Variations: How the Differences Change the Odds
Given that, by the looks of it, roulette is a pretty simple game, it’s amazing how many variations can be played in your local casino and online. From European, French and American to Double Ball, Multi-Wheel and Mini Roulette, there truly is a version of this classic game for everyone.
Each of these variants has its own unique rules, and in most cases that actually changes the player’s odds of winning with each number, color and sequence that appear on the wheel. It’s essential that you know this information a) prior to choosing which roulette variant you wish to play, and b) before you place a single bet.
An appreciation of the odds will help to increase your chances of profitable long-term play, so let’s take a look at the three main variations to get you started:
With American roulette, there are 38 pockets on the wheel: the standard 0-36 numbers, plus the addition of the 00 pocket that is unique to American versions of the game.
Fundamentally, your odds of achieving a winning spin when betting on single numbers is 38 to 1. Of course, many roulette players opt to place combi or sequence wagers, with the simplest of all being the red/black or odd/even splits. The addition of the 00 actually decreases the player’s chances of winning any bet: Remember, this double zero is green and does not count in odd/even wagers.
The actual probability of a so-called “even money” wager landing in American roulette is 47.37%—less than that of European roulette and other variations. You could bet on the Line or Corner sections of the gameboard, but again the win probabilities are decreased: these 5 to 1 and 8 to 1 payouts are likely to succeed in 15.79% and 10.53% of spins, respectively.
In essence, the double-zero of American roulette hurts the player’s chances of winning but also offers new opportunities with your wagers.
The original and most common form of roulette, this is a game with numbers 1-36 and a single zero, which equates to 37 pockets and a 37 to 1 chance of a winning spin when betting on a single number.
This stacks up favorably to the American version when considering your winning probabilities. The chances of an even money wager landing increase to 48.65% with no double-zero to scupper your hopes. As for the Line and Corner bets mentioned above, the win ratio increases to 16.22% and 10.81%, respectively.
In most cases your odds of winning are increased marginally, but every opportunity you get to minimize the house’s edge—no matter which casino games you play—should be taken. The house edge in European roulette equates to 2.7%, while in the American version of the game the house’s edge gets bumped up to 5.27%.
Many online casinos offer French roulette in their library, and by and large it’s essentially the same as the European version. But there’s one key difference: the “La Partage” rule dictates that the player is able to cut the house’s edge even further.
La Partage translates to “the sharing”, and it’s an apt name because if you place an even money wager in French roulette and the ball lands on zero, your stake is returned as a sort of consolation prize.
So, while the player’s chances of winning aren’t higher in French roulette, their odds of losing are decreased when placing 50:50 style wagers. A rarity in casino gaming, there is no house edge in his instance: your odds of winning/losing are literally 50% with 18 red and 18 black pockets, 18 even and 18 odd pockets, and so on.