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3 Games in the Roulette Family and Their Odds

Alongside dice and a deck of French playing cards, the roulette wheel is perhaps one of gambling’s most iconic symbols. Playing games with a spinning wheel, or some makeshift version of one, is nothing new. That’s why you can still find games today that look and play a lot like roulette but go by a different name.

Ruleta sign

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Boule

Not to be confused with the metallic boules used to play bowls sports, la boule is an obscure 18 pocket version of roulette that you aren’t likely to find at your local casino. However, the internet is a great resource for finding games that fell out of fashion on the casino floor. Through iGaming, there are hundreds of websites featuring thousands of games online. They include real-time livestreams where players take part in online roulette games hosted by people. Today, boule is a rarity in most casinos, though there are digital simulations available elsewhere on the internet.

The boule wheel is split in two ways. First, its 18 pockets are numbered from one to nine. This means that every one of those numbers is represented twice on the wheel. Then numbers are labelled with black (1, 3, 6, 8), red (2, 4, 7, 9) and yellow (5) colours. As you probably guessed, the five is equivalent to the zero in roulette, making bets void unless you bet on it.

To play this game, you bet on if the chosen pocket will be red or black, even or odds or low (1-4) to high (6-8). Five isn’t counted as part of the odd group, due to its acting as a zero. Taking any of these places you at even odds to win or lose. For odds that pay out more, you’ll want to bet on numbers. Betting on two or more numbers pays out at a 3:1 ratio while betting on one number pays 7:1, while staring down 18/1 odds.

Jeu de Course/Petits Chevaux

Boule is often considered the replacement, or upgrade of a different game known as jeu de course, petits chevaux, or rösslispiel in German. Meaning ‘little horses’, petits chevaux uses a more sophisticated mechanism that moves 3D horse models in concentric circles. The circular board is decorated with green felt and painted jockeys atop their horses, with circular tracks cut beneath them, attaching the horses to an underlying spinning mechanism.

Half a gambling game and half a decorative piece, these games can look closer to dioramas at first glance. They have a murky history with no certain origin, though they are still discussed on enthusiast forums. Players stake on their horse, choose a marked goal and, when they’re done spinning around the track, the horse closest to the goal wins. Player count starts at two and ends when the diorama is out of horses, so the specific odds and payouts depend on how many people are playing. Since players bet on their own horse, it’s an easy calculation to make.

A working petits chevaux game is an antiquity, though you can see a restored version in the video below. In Vegas, similar games exist as mechanical slots – most notably the Sigma Derby.

Le Multicolore

Like boule, le multicolore is a French variant of roulette that also gets played in Catalonia. The action takes place in what looks like a brass plate, which has a lowered centre to keep the ball inside. A ring of 25 cups rest at the centre of the plate, decorated by five colours. Four colours are distributed across six pockets, those colours being white, yellow, green and red. The last colour is blue, with just one pocket. As the name implies, players bet on which colour the ball will find.

The pockets are also labelled with numbers. So, the six main colour pockets will each be labelled 4-3-3-3-2-2. That number on the pocket dictates the odds paid to whoever chose the winning colour, from a 2:1 to 4:1 ratio. The exception is the blue pocket, which has 24/1 odds but a better payout.