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Online Casino Roulette Variants

July 29, 2009

Roulette is one of the most popular land based casino game and is therefore popular in Internet casinos as well. The advantage of playing at Internet casinos is that most if not all the roulette variants are usually available at each Internet casino.

The most common variants of online roulette are European Roulette and American Roulette. As their names suggest, the rules of these games are based on the rules of the land based casino roulette games in those areas. European Roulette is prevalent in the land based casinos of Europe and American Roulette is prevalent in the land based casinos in the United States. There is one fundamental difference between these two variants of online roulette. The European Roulette wheel has 37 numbers. These are the numbers 1 to 36 and 0. The 0 provides the house edge. All bets, except those on 0, lose when 0 is called. This gives European Roulette a house edge of 2.7%.

In contrast American Roulette has 38 numbers on the wheel. These numbers are 1 to 36, 0 and 00. Therefore in American Roulette all bets, except those on 0 or 00, lose when 0 or 00 are called. This almost doubles the house edge of American Roulette to 5.26%. It is for this reason that American Roulette is less favorable to the player. Since most online casinos offer both American Roulette and European Roulette, players naturally prefer European Roulette and American Roulette has much lower traffic.

A third online roulette variant is French Roulette. It has 37 numbers just like European Roulette. This variant includes the La Partage Rule prevalent in some French land based casinos. When 0 is called, some relief is given to the players who have placed the even money bets. These bets are Black or Red, Even or Odd and First 18 Numbers or Last 18 Numbers. Players who have placed these wagers get half their wager back if 0 is called. This reduces the house edge to even less than that in European Roulette and makes French Roulette the most favorable online roulette variant. Unfortunately not all Internet casinos offer French Roulette. Despite the advantage in the house edge, French Roulette is not very popular with new online players. There are two reasons for this. The text on the layout is in French. The more important reason is that layout has a green background and does not differentiate between red and black numbers. Therefore players find it difficult to tell which numbers are red and which are black. Regular roulette players usually remember this by rote and are not inconvenienced.

There is one online roulette variant offered at some Internet casinos that players need to be cautioned against. It has an excellent packaging but a horrendous house edge. This is Mini Roulette. This variant has 13 numbers that are the numbers 1 to 12 and 0. Since one out of thirteen numbers voids most bets (as compared to one out of thirty-seven in European Roulette) the house edge is three times as high. One of the attractions offered is that there is no maximum wager limit. However this is really a disadvantage because placing high wagers on a casino game with a high house edge would be a foolish thing to do

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