Roulette is one of the most classic games in the casino. It’s been around since the late 1700s and is still a hit among gamblers.
This game provides a great gambling experience in land-based casinos. However, it’s just as fun to play on real money gambling sites, too.
In fact, you can typically enjoy more favorable variations at online casinos. But how do you find these games?
I’m going to discuss various steps you can take to play roulette variants with the lowest house edges. But first, I’ll cover the differences between roulette games and which ones offer the best chance to win.
What Are the Different Roulette Games?
Several roulette variations exist in the gaming world. These variants are mainly distinguished by how many numbers they feature on the wheel.
However, they can also differ based on special rules. Below, you can see the various roulette games and their most notable qualities.
American Roulette features a wheel with 38 numbers, including 1-36, a single zero, and a double zero. The single and double zero are notable, because they give the house an advantage on most wagers.
Here’s an example on how these pockets favor the casino:
- You bet on “low” in the high/low wager.
- 18 pockets on the wheel will give you a win (1-18).
- 20 pockets will cause you to lose (19-36, 0, 00).
- 18 / 38 = 47.37% chance of winning
- 2 (zero pockets) / 38 = 5.26% house edge
A 5.26% house advantage is bad in the overall scheme of casino gambling. Only a few games feature worse odds than this.
European Roulette is played on a wheel with 37 numbers, including 1-36 and a single zero. The key difference between this game and the American version is the lack of a double zero.
As explained before, both the single zero and double-zero pockets favor the house. Therefore, you benefit by playing on a wheel with one less house-friendly number.
Here’s another example to illustrate how this helps your case:
- You bet on black in the red/black wager.
- 18 pockets on the wheel will provide a win.
- 19 pockets will cause you to lose (0 is green).
- 18 / 37 = 48.64%
- 1 (zero pocket) / 37 = 2.70% house edge
A 2.70% house advantage makes European Roulette one of the best bets in the casino. Furthermore, it’s decidedly better than American Roulette.
The only problem is that the European wheel isn’t available in as many casinos. You normally won’t find this game featured outside of online casinos or Europe.
French Roulette is also played on a European wheel. However, it offers one key rule change that separates it from European Roulette.
The French version has the “la partage” rule. This rule pays half back on even money bets that lose due to the ball landing on zero.
Here’s an example on how la partage improves your chances of winning:
- You bet on “odd” in the odd/even wager.
- 18 pockets on the wheel will deliver a win.
- 19 pockets will cause you to lose.
- 18 / 37 = 48.64% chance of winning
- ([1 / 37] x 0.5 (la partage) = 1.35% house edge
With a 1.35% house advantage, French Roulette is the best roulette variation. It’s also one of the top casino games overall with regard to your odds of winning.
Mini Roulette is the most unique variation of all. It’s played on a wheel with 13 numbers, including 1-12 and a single zero.
Here’s an example that shows why Mini Roulette should be avoided at all costs:
- You wager on “low” in the high/low bet.
- 6 pockets on the wheel will give you a win (1-6).
- 7 pockets will cause you to lose (7-12, 0).
- 6 / 13 = 46.15% chance of winning
- 1 (zero pocket) / 13 = 7.69% house edge
The 7.69% house advantage is absolutely atrocious. But it isn’t always this bad of a wager if it features the la partage rule.
Assuming this rule is in place, the mini roulette house edge drops down to 3.85%. This house advantage still doesn’t give you a great chance to win, but it’s at least better than the average American Roulette game.
Tips for Finding Good Online Games
If you’re looking to win with roulette, then you obviously want to avoid American and mini wheels. The first step to accomplishing this goal is to play at online casinos.
The benefit to online roulette is that you can more easily find the best games. Contrast this to land-based casinos, where you often have to visit Europe to find European and French Roulette.
The next step is to figure out which software providers offer the French and European versions. Software developers provide their games across a broad range of casinos.
Therefore, you can just visit any casino that offers a certain supplier’s roulette games. Casinos usually list their software developers at the bottom of their homepage.
You’ll find that most gaming sites offer European Roulette. So, you can almost always enjoy a 2.70% house edge regardless of which casino you choose.
Online French Roulette, on the other hand, isn’t as available. But you can still find it by playing at sites with Microgaming or RealTime Gaming (RTG) games.
Microgaming is found at many European and South American-facing online casinos, while RTG is available to almost every country and territory (including the US).
Of course, you can also check out the wheel itself to distinguish between American and European Roulette. Again, the American wheel has 38 numbers while the European version has 37 numbers.
Finally, American roulette isn’t always such a bad game to play. It sometimes features the la partage rule, which drops the house edge from 5.26% to 2.63% on even money bets.
Don’t Forget to Take Advantage of Online Roulette Bonuses
Aside from looking for the best internet roulette games, you should also consider bonuses as well. Most casinos offer some sort of deposit bonus to new players.
Of course, most of these deals are geared towards slots players. But you’ll still see plenty of offers that are available for table game players as well.
For example, your first deposit might be eligible for a 100% match bonus up to $1,000. If you were to deposit $500 under this deal, then you’d be playing for a $500 bonus.
Besides the bonus size, terms and conditions are the biggest separator between offers. Favorable terms give you a stronger chance to win money without taking on heavy losses.
Wagering requirements (a.k.a. playthrough) are especially worth noting. Playthrough, which is expressed as a multiple of the bonus, determines how easily you’ll be able to unlock a bonus.
Here’s an example:
- You qualify for a $100 table-game bonus.
- Roulette has 200x wagering requirements.
- 200 x 100 = $20,000 must be wagered.
$20k sounds like an awful lot to wager just for a $100 bonus. However, it’s not so daunting when you’re facing a low house edge.
Other important terms to know include how long you have to claim a bonus, how long you have to meet playthrough, and what games are restricted. Sometimes French and European Roulette don’t qualify for bonuses, which is definitely something you want to know beforehand.
Quality roulette games exist in both online and brick and mortar casinos. However, you’ll have a more difficult time finding the best games in land-based venues.
In most cases, European and French Roulette are only found in Europe. Unless you already live on this continent, you’ll have few chances to play these variations.
But online casinos give you another outlet for playing the most favorable variants. Certain providers (e.g. Microgaming and RTG) offer French Roulette at a number of casinos.
The European version is even easier to find online. The majority of online casinos feature this game. Roulette really doesn’t offer any substantial strategy beyond looking for the best odds, so it makes little sense to play the lesser versions.
Mini Roulette does feature a unique wheel and look. But once you get past the novelty effect, it’s the worst roulette game available (up to 7.69% house edge).
I’m not saying that you should never play at a land-based casino with inferior roulette games. These may well be the only brick and mortar options in your area.
But if your goal is to win, then online roulette offers an easier path towards doing so.