Roulette is a casino classic that’s been enjoyed across the globe for several centuries. With origins in 18th Century and close ties to Blaise Pascal and his attempts at inventing the perpetual motion machine, Roulette has evolved over the years to become one of the most played casino games online.
The name Roulette is derived from the diminutive of the French word “little wheel” and is believed to be a fusion of games such as Hoca, Biribi, Roly-Poly and Ace of Hearts. These games were played across Europe and all played a role in creating the game we know and love today.
Often considered to be the classic version of the game, European Roulette features the iconic black and red wheel, with its one green zero numbered pocket. There are a total of 37 numbered, coloured pockets on the wheel, starting at 0 and going up to 36.
European Roulette is the most popular variant of the game online, partly because it’s the easiest to understand and play, but also due to its low house edge of 2.70%. This game has been enjoyed across the globe and it remains one of the most elegant, sophisticated forms of table entertainment, despite its ridiculously simple premise.
Predictably the American version of Roulette originated in the US when the French wheel, which at that stage had a double zero, made its way from Mississippi to New Orleans and then westward. Due to rampant cheating by the casinos and games room operators the wheel was placed on top of the table and the betting layout was changed and simplified.
The American Roulette wheel underwent several changes, at one stage having only 28 pockets, and at another having an Eagle on one of the slots. Eventually, the game evolved into the form we know today, where the wheel has 38 numbered pockets, with the extra pocket being a double zero. This double zero has often seen the game earning itself the moniker of Double Zero Roulette and has increased the house edge to 5.26%, making this variant the most challenging to play.
Perhaps the variant of the game that’s undergone the most changes, French Roulette is essentially the original game that was first played in the courts of the Kings, Queens and nobleman in France, before being banned and making its way across the world.
French online roulette has the same house edge as its European counterpart and it also has the same number of coloured pockets on the wheel. What makes French Roulette really different is that it has 2 additional rules that can reduce the house edge even further.
The en prison and la partage rules both offer players a chance to claim back some of their bet, or to wager the same amount again and increase their chances of winning.
Contemporary Roulette Games
With the advent of the Internet a number of adaptations have been made to the game of Roulette and there are some rather non-traditional games available.
Progressive jackpot Roulette has been a huge hit, as it features an accumulating jackpot that grows in size with every game played, whilst multi wheel and multi ball games allow for players to increase their chances of winning over a reduced period of time. For beginners there’s also mini Roulette, a game that features a smaller wheel and less betting options.