Generally speaking, when people speak of roulette variations, they’re referring to the different boards used in Europe and North America. The reason the difference between the two is significant is because the European roulette board has an advantage that benefits the player vs. the House, due to the presence of a single extra zero; as opposed to the American board, which has an extra single zero, as well as a double zero, which hedges the chances in favor of the House. This difference might initially seem small, but the fact is it makes American roulette less competitive than every other table game in the casino; whereas the European board becomes just as competitive as every other table game – and this explains the premier popularity of roulette in Europe.
More specifically, the single zero and the double zero together endow the American version of roulette with a House advantage of %5.26%; which means you lose more than $5 for every $100 bet placed on each number. This is double what you’re giving up in just about any other table game, whether its blackjack or poker or craps. In the European version, the 2.63% average House edge suddenly brings Roulette back into a competitive space; and since it is generally acknowledged as one of the most fun table games around, this accounts for how well-received you would find the game if you traveled to a European casino.
Other Roulette Games
It’s important to realize that the basic rules of roulette are the same no matter where you play. The differences, where they exist, are small – other than the decided House advantage given by the American variant. For example, in a real casino with a physical address, you can call out bets – usually – even while the roulette wheel is turning; only when the dealer says ‘stop’, is the current game round closed to betting. This was once very popular; but has since waned in popularity as people have successfully snuck computers in to try and predict what quadrant will eventually capture the ball, thereby drastically reducing the probability in favor of the player. In online roulette; this is very rarely an option anyway; the nature of an automated computer system is such that all bets must be placed before the wheel is set to spinning.
The European roulette has a variation that borrows from slot games, using a progressive jackpot instead of a static one. This so-called Roulette Royale has a huge possible ending jackpot, which is released to the lucky player that can get the same number five times without an interruption in the string.
The Original Roulette
Easily the most lucrative version of the table game, French roulette suffers in popularity precisely because of this attribute – the House doesn’t have the marked advantage over players that it does in the other roulette variations. Online casinos and brick-and-mortar casinos alike avoid offering this one because of the favorable player odds and poor House advantage. With no double zero slot, the French roulette variations also have a lower House edge than the European version, in addition to game rules that prevent you from losing all of your money on even bets that land on zero. In a sense, it treats zero as a real number – or at least meets it halfway – whereas zero isn’t treated as a real even number in either the American or European roulette variations.
You can play any of these roulette variations for free to play and see what strategy works best for you, by either downloading a casino games package, or simply logging on to an appropriate mirror and playing flash roulette in your browser of choice.