Despite being around for centuries, roulette remains relevant in gambling establishments to this day. The game continues to thrive partially because both landbased and online casino operators are constantly reinventing it by introducing new and ingenious roulette variants.
One original version that immediately comes to mind is Mouse Roulette. It was available for a brief period at Reno’s Harold’s Club in the early 1940s. The game utilized a huge box containing a total of 50 holes with numbers.
Once patrons had placed their bets, the table staff would release a wood mouse from a cage nearby and put it on top of the numbered box. The winning number was determined as soon as the tiny rodent scooted in one of the box’s holes.
It did not take long for players to notice the game was flawed and easily exploitable. The creature would get startled and dart into the nearest hole as soon as someone produced a loud noise. On top of that, the rodent would repeatedly dive into the same numbered holes because they sensed the smell of previously used mice. Harold’s Club removed the game from its floors after a week or so because it was blatantly unprofitable for the house.
Mouse Roulette has been dead and gone as a casino game for over 70 years now but there are countless other variations that give this old game a new spin. We discuss some of the most original ones in the article to follow. Read on and you may find your next favorite roulette variation.
Unique Spins on a Century-Old Game
Standard versions like European and American roulette are fun to play but tend to get boring after a while. You are probably familiar with the differences between these two variants. If not, go further back into our roulette guide and check out the article on American and European Wheel Sequences.
To maintain the interest of players, many landbased casino operators take the fundamentals of the classic game and introduce inventive rules to give it an entirely different spin. Such is the case with the 6 unconventional landbased roulette variants we discuss below.
This bespoke variation appeared for the first time in 2007 at Las Vegas’ Fitzgeralds Hotel and Casino (rebranded as The D Las Vegas at the moment). Alphabetic Roulette does away with the numbers fans of the game are accustomed to seeing on the wheel and uses letters instead.
There are 24 pockets with letters A through X plus 1 pocket that contains the last two letters of the English alphabet, Y and Z. Unlike conventional roulette, Alphabetic Roulette uses not three but six colors, namely pink, orange, green, blue, red, and yellow. Each of the 6 colors is meant to represent 4 letters.
In this variation, players have the option to place bets on individual letters or groups of 2, 3, and 4 letters. If the game has not yet piqued your interest, it probably will when you learn it allows you to bet on letters that combine to form specific words and phrases, such as Party Pit (includes letters P, A, R, T, Y, and I) and Roulette (letters R, O, U, L, E, and T).
The game also supports dozen and column bets. The dozen bet in Party Roulette is made on one of two groups consisting of 12 letters each (A through L and M through X). Column bets also feature 12 random letters the way they appear on the layout. Alphabetic Roulette has a house edge of 4% which is still lower than that of double-zero games. Check how it pays in the table below:
|Type of Wager in Alphabetical Roulette||Casino Payouts|
|Straight Up bet on individual letters||23 to 1|
|Split bet on 2 adjacent letters||11 to 1|
|Top Line bet on A, B, Y, and Z||7 to 1|
|Four Way bet on 4 adjacent letters||5 to 1|
|Color bet on one of the 6 colors||5 to 1|
|Six Way bet on 6 letters (A to F, G to L, M to R or S to X)||3 to 1|
|Party Pit bet||3 to 1|
|Roulette bet||3 to 1|
|Dozen bet||1 to 1|
|Column bet||1 to 1|
Prime Time Roulette
Prime Time Roulette is offered by casinos in Nevada, so we take it in plays according to the American rules and features a wheel with both single and double zeros. One interesting aspect about this variation is that it offers an optional side wager on prime numbers, i.e. whole numbers that are divisible only by themselves and 1.
There are 11 prime numbers on the roulette wheel, namely 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17, 19, 23, 29, and 31. The side bet loses when the ball settles on a non-prime number. When a prime number hits, the dealer would place a marker that reads “1” on top of the Prime Time bets, which indicates the number has been spun once.
This is incremented again if a prime number occurs in succession during the next spin. The process continues for up to 5 or 7 consecutive spins (depending on the casino’s policies) that result in prime numbers. Only then would the dealer settle the payouts of the winning Prime Time side bets.
When a non-prime number occurs in between prime spins, it breaks the cycle and the Prime Time marker is removed. The bets are paid out according to the number of successive prime spins before the occurrence of the non-prime number. Keep in mind that you can post this bet only at the beginning of a new Prime Time session, either after a non-prime number has hit or after prime numbers have been spun successively to the allowed maximum of 5 or 7 times.
Below are the three types of available payouts for prime numbers that show on consecutive spins as listed by the Nevada Gaming Control Board:
|Number of Primes Occurring in Succession||Payout 1||Payout 2||Payout 3|
|1 prime||1 to 1||1 to 1||1 to 1|
|2 primes in a row||3 to 1||3 to 1||3 to 1|
|3 primes in a row||6 to 1||7 to 1||6 to 1|
|4 primes in a row||10 to 1||12 to 1||10 to 1|
|5 primes in a row||20 to 1||25 to 1||50 to 1|
|6 primes in a row||50 to 1||50 to 1||N/A|
|7 primes in a row||299 to 1||100 to 1||N/A|
Back 2 Back Roulette
Back 2 Back Roulette offers an exciting new twist to this old favorite with a side bet that gives players the chance to bag gargantuan payouts. The game is available in Reno and has been approved by the Nevada Gaming Control Board.
The Back 2 Back side bet is optional and earns players a payout whenever the previous winning number repeats on the next spin of the wheel. So in essence, you need the same number to occur twice in a row to win.
A random prize is awarded to the amount of 10x, 50x or 1,000x the winning bet. Other than that, Back 2 Back Roulette pretty much plays according to the game’s standard rules. It utilizes a double-zero wheel and supports the conventional inside/outside bets that yield their usual payouts.
Riverboat Roulette is offered at the Golden Gate Casino. This variation features a 38-pocket wheel and allows for all the standard inside and outside betting options. Conventional bets pay at their typical casino odds.
The layout consists of alternating red and black numbers (1 through 36) and two green zeros. The twist here results from the fact that each of the 38 numbers is assigned an extra color. The wheel’s inner pockets where the ball eventually settles are of different colors. The table below shows you all the numbers that belong to each additional color.
|Color||Numbers of That Color||Payout|
|Teal||5, 17, 32||2 to 1 ($2 per dollar bet)|
|Yellow||31, 18, 6||2 to 1 ($2 per dollar bet)|
|Pink||19, 8, 12, 29||8 to 5 ($1.6 per dollar bet)|
|Purple||20, 7, 11, 30||8 to 5 ($1.6 per dollar bet)|
|White||10, 27, 1, 13, 14, 2, 28, 9||7 to 2 ($3.5 per dollar bet)|
|Orange||23, 4, 16, 33, 21||7 to 5 ($1.4 per dollar bet)|
|Blue||24, 3, 15, 34, 22||7 to 5 ($1.4 per dollar bet)|
So essentially here you are presented with 7 additional betting options on the extra colors. The payouts for these bets are proportionate to the number of pockets that use the respective color. Thus, a wager on blue (5 pockets) has a higher probability of winning than one on teal or yellow (with 3 pockets).
The game bears a partial semblance to craps because bets made on the extra colors are sometimes resolved after multiple spins. The player does not immediately lose if the ball lands on a color other than the one they have chosen unless it settles in one of the white pockets.
To give you an example, assume you wager $10 on orange but pink hits instead. Your bet remains on the table. This is known as a push and also occurs when the ball finds its way into a green (0, 00), black (26, 35) or red pocket (25, 36). However, if the ball lands on white, your color wager is an immediate loser unless you bet on white.
There are three different options for the player when a push occurs. They can leave their chips on the layout for the next spin, take the bet down or even increase the wager by adding more chips. If you choose to let the push bet ride, the wheel is re-spun until your chosen color or white hits. The color bets can be posted at the table minimum as they are considered outside wagers. The Golden Gate Casino accepts bets from $5 to $2,500 per spin.
The overall house edge of the game is 5.26%, the same as that at all double-zero tables. The casino’s advantage varies for the color bets as follows: 5.26% for white, 4.21% for purple and pink, 2.63% for orange and blue, and 5.26% for teal and yellow.
Double Action Roulette
With this roulette variation, players get to enjoy twice as much action since the game plays on a wheel that has two rings with numbers instead of only one. The rings rotate in opposite directions and produce two outcomes on each spin. The player has the option to bet on the outer wheel, on the inner wheel or both. The game is available in a single-zero format as well.
The table uses a different layout that contains 6×6 sections instead of the usual 3 sections with 12 numbers each. When players are betting only on the inner or the outer wheel rings, they are paid at the standard odds for all wagers except for the 8-number and the 7-number bets.
The 8-number bet is available in double-zero games and features 0, 00, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6. The 7-number bet is made at the single-zero tables and covers 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6. Things get trickier when the player parlays their wager by betting both on the outer and the inner wheel.
To collect a payout, the bet must be successful on both wheel rings. Here are the payouts along with the probabilities of winning on both rings. These are accurate for Double Action Roulette with a single zero.
|Type of Double Action Bet||Payouts for Winning on Both Wheel Rings||Probability of Winning on Both Wheel Rings|
|Two red or two black numbers||3 to 1||23.66%|
|Two even or two odd numbers||3 to 1||23.66%|
|Two high or two low numbers||3 to 1||23.66%|
|Two numbers of the same dozen||8 to 1||10.52%|
|Two numbers of the same column||8 to 1||10.52%|
|Two numbers from the 7-number bet||25 to 1||3.58%|
|Two matching single numbers||1,200 to 1||0.07%|
The house edge in Double Action Roulette depends on whether you are playing on a double-zero or a single-zero wheel. It also varies depending on the type of wager you make. On a single-zero wheel, straight up bets with two identical numbers hitting yield a house edge of 12.27%. The outside wagers and the 7-number bet give the house an advantage of 6.94% and 5.33%, respectively.
Most people associate the game of roulette with its spinning wheel and tiny white ball. Well, guess what? There is no ball or wheel in Roulette-18. Yes, you read that correctly. This is a unique variation of the game where the outcome is determined by the toss of a 20-sided die. The die contains numbers 1 through 18 plus 0 and 00.
If the toss results in 00, the die gets rolled again, with bets neither winning nor losing. The game supports standard roulette wagers such as straight up, split, street, corner, double street, odd/even, red/black, and low/high bets. Instead of losing their entire wagers when the die shows zero, Roulette-18 players recover half of their original stakes on even-money propositions.
However, there is a reduction in the payouts for some bets to make up for the fewer number of possible outcomes. It makes sense the probabilities of the bets are different than those in standard roulette.
|Type of Roulette-18 Bet||Casino Payout||Probability of Winning|
|Straight up bet on single numbers 0 through 19||17 to 1||5.26%|
|Split bet on 2 numbers||8 to 1||10.53%|
|Street bet on 6 numbers||5 to 1||15.79%|
|Corner bet on 4 numbers||7 to 1||21.05%|
|Double street bet on 6 numbers||2 to 1||31.58%|
|Red/black (9 numbers for each color)||1 to 1||47.37%|
|Odd/even (9 numbers for each parity)||1 to 1||47.37%|
|Low (1-9) and High (10-18)||1 to 1||47.37%|
Roulette-18 is available at some Grosvenor casinos in the United Kingdom. The house edge for even-money bets on color, range, and parity is lower than that in single-zero roulette at 2.63%. The casino holds an advantage of 5.26% for all of the other available bets.
Spicing Up the Action with Unique Online Variations
Some roulette fans do not live in proximity to any landbased casinos and lack the resources to cover the traveling expenses needed for a gambling trip. Luckily for them, the game has made a smooth transition from landbased to online casinos. The latter give players a vast choice of roulette variations they can conveniently enjoy on desktop and mobile.
The tried and true variants like French, European, and American roulette are readily available at most online casinos. Dozens of original variants have emerged in recent years as casino software providers strive to capture a whole new audience of roulette players. Here are 6 bespoke online roulette variations you can play from the comfort of your surroundings.
Double Ball Roulette
Double Ball Roulette was first introduced at Las Vegas’ Tropicana Casino in 2014 where it played on a double-zero wheel. Later on, software supplier Felt Gaming adapted it for online play. This unique take on roulette offers players twice the excitement as it plays with two balls instead of one.
Felt’s version uses a single-zero wheel and largely follows the European rules. The use of two balls allows for additional betting opportunities. Players can launch the second ball themselves after the release of the first one.
There are three main peculiarities of this game. First off, inside bets win if any one ball lands in the designated pocket but there is a reduction in the payouts. If the second ball also produces a win, the player collects twice as high a payout. Here are the payouts for inside bets that win with one ball only:
|Type of Double Ball Roulette Inside Bet||Payouts for a Single Ball Hitting|
|Straight up bet||17 to 1|
|Split bet||8 to 1|
|Street bet||5 to 1|
|Corner bet||3 to 1|
|Double street bet||2 to 1|
Second, outside bets are successful only when both balls settle into winning pockets. For instance, an outside bet on even is a winner when the two balls land on even numbers. And finally, there is the Double Ball Jackpot, awarded on a spin that results in both balls settling on your chosen number. Chips for the jackpot bet are posted on the special racetrack layout. See the paytable for the outside bets in Double Ball Roulette below.
|Types of Double Ball Roulette Outside Bet||Payouts when Both Balls Hit|
|Black and red||1 to 1|
|Black or red||3 to 1|
|Odd or even||3 to 1|
|High or low||3 to 1|
|Two numbers of the same column||8 to 1|
|Two numbers of the same dozen||8 to 1|
|Any same number||35 to 1|
|Double Ball Jackpot||1,200 to 1|
No Zero Roulette
We have heard in the past about instances in which casinos would ditch the zero pocket for a limited period to boost attendance. This is probably where the idea of No Zero Roulette came from. The game can be found at BetVoyager Casino and is one of their most popular products.
This version of roulette has no house edge as such because the green zero is entirely removed from the wheel. The latter contains only 36 pockets, 18 black and 18 red. The standard payouts are awarded for winning bets which practically means the game pays at true odds.
You might wonder how does this gambling operator profit from one such roulette variation. Well, the casino deducts 10% of your winnings at the end of your betting session as a fee. In their defense, they are pretty transparent about this policy as it shows on the screen when the game loads.
No Zero Roulette is worth considering as the game itself does not have a house edge built into it. However, the 10% fee imposed on the profits is like a tax which works similarly to the house edge, in that the casino inevitably ends up winning in the long run.
Diamond Bet Roulette
The developers from the renowned software studio Playtech have taken the classic casino game and have given it a bit more sparkle in the form of an additional bet. Diamond Bet Roulette plays on a wheel with 38 pockets containing numbers 0 through 36 plus one extra special pocket for the Diamond bet.
Other than that, this version supports the conventional inside and outside bet types along with a variety of call bets such as Orphelins, Tiers, Voisins, and Neighbors. The outer rim of the wheel in Diamond Bet Roulette contains the following multipliers – 15x, 20x, 25x, 30x, 35x, 40x, 45x, 50x, 60x, and 100x.
The multipliers are picked randomly during winning spins but apply only to the Diamond bet. The winnings from regular bets are not multiplied. The house edge of the game ranges between 4.61% and 7.89%, which slightly takes away from its appeal.
Spread-Bet Roulette is yet another bespoke take on the classic game that comes from the Playtech studio. The variant follows the European rules but brings a broader range of betting options by introducing an additional golden inner wheel ring with numbers 0 through 36.
Apart from the conventional outside and inside wagers, the game enables players to experiment with spread bets. The golden inner ring of the wheel serves a two-fold purpose. First, it doubles the profits on zero. Second, it forms the foundation of the spread bet.
There are additional colored grids on the layout for the side wagers. When the ball settles in a pocket, the sum of the numbers on the inner and outer wheels determines whether the optional spread bet wins or not.
For example, suppose the ball lands on number 17 on the outer ring. It is situated above number 2 on the inner ring, which sets the spread at 19. You win at odds of 2 to 1 provided that you have posted a side bet on the 19-33 spread-bet range. Check out how the other spreads pay below.
|Spread-Bet Range||Casino Payout|
|0-1 spread||400 to 1|
|2-11 spread||15 to 1|
|12-18 spread||10 to 1|
|19-33 spread||2 to 1|
|34-54 spread||1 to 1 (even money)|
|55-67 spread||7 to 1|
|68-72 spread||80 to 1|
Spingo is a combination of bingo and roulette, created by supplier Microgaming. The game plays on a wheel containing a total of 25 pockets, 8 red ones, 8 yellow ones and 8 blue ones plus 1 green pocket. The center of the wheel contains a ball machine that spews out 1 of 21 numbered balls at a time, with 20 balls containing numbers 1 through 10 and one ball with 0.
Players have the opportunity to bet on one of the four colors, on individual numbers, on odd/even, low (1-5), high (6-10) or combinations of colors and numbers. The overall house edge of Spingo is 4.76% and results from the following payouts:
|Type of Spingo Bet||Casino Payout||Probability of Winning|
|Color (red, blue or yellow)||2 to 1||32.00%|
|Green only||23 to 1||4.00%|
|Zero||19 to 1||4.76%|
|A single number (1 to 10)||9 to 1||9.52%|
|1-5 or 6-10||1 to 1||47.61%|
|Odd/even||1 to 1||47.61%|
|Combination of numbers and colors||31 to 1||3.05%|
Players will notice this is no ordinary game as soon as they open Pinball Roulette by Playtech. The variant lacks almost all essential elements of roulette. There is no wheel or racetrack but the game still follows the conventional European rules.
Most of the screen space is occupied by the betting layout which contains the single zero plus grids with numbers 1 to 36. Below, you have a section that resembles a piano keyboard, with alternating red and black numbers. This is where you place your Neighbor bets.
In Pinball Roulette, you can make the same wagers as in regular roulette games. The difference here lies in how the outcome is determined. When you click on the Bet button, the layout shifts vertically to the side and gives way to a pinball field.
A small ball is shot out of what looks like a funnel and finds its way through the pins and flippers of the pinball machine. It eventually falls into one of the pockets of the sliding keyboard-like section. If you win, you can gamble your profits for the chance to multiply them up to 10x. Pinball Roulette has a house edge of 2.70% and pays at standard roulette odds.
Closing Thoughts on Landbased vs. Online Roulette Variations
As you can see, both online and landbased casinos offer a broad assortment of roulette variations that deviate from the standard set of rules. Both formats have their advantages and disadvantages.
Online casinos give you instant access to a range of intriguing roulette variants, available at your fingertips. You can play them in demo format if you wish or go for real-money payouts by depositing into your online casino account.
Playing roulette at landbased casinos is the preferred alternative of players who are looking for social interaction.
In online variations, players get to control the pace of the gameplay. The software often features either Quick Spin or Turbo Mode. This significantly decreases the waiting times between spins.
Many of the roulette tables in landbased casinos are crowded and have higher limits.
The risk of potential dealer mistakes is eliminated. When you play online, you can always rely on a fast and accurate settlement of the payouts, even with more complex multi-chip wagers.
Etiquette is another thing to consider. If you are unable to stick to proper table conduct, landbased roulette may not be the best alternative for you.
Let's not forget about the flexible table limits you can find online. Online casinos are geared toward the needs of both high rollers and roulette players on a shoestring budget. Some gambling sites offer limits that range from as little as a penny to thousands of dollars.
Landbased roulette plays at a leisurely pace and lacks the dynamics of its online cousins. Travel and accommodation expenses should also be taken into consideration.
If you insist on saving on travel and accommodation expenses as well as on the ability to play whenever you want, you are better off with online roulette.
If you are a recreational player who enjoys social interaction and is merely looking to have some fun, landbased roulette may prove to be the better option.