California Roulette – What It Is and Where You Can Play It!
California Roulette is a special type of roulette that makes use of cards instead of a ball. While regular American Roulette is what’s usually offered online, California Roulette is an interesting variation worth knowing about. Read on to find out more!
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Why California Roulette Exists
California Roulette was created in response to restrictive gambling laws placed on the so-called Golden State. These regulations forbid any game that determines the outcome through a ball or dice – of course, roulette falls squarely in the first category. That fateful ball is the whole point for most players!
As a result, Californians with a penchant for roulette had to come up with another game. Something which drew inspiration from the roots of classic roulette, but that was also completely legal in their state. A challenging situation indeed.
Luckily though, in 2004, it was eventually ruled that the specific version of roulette known as California Roulette was allowed. However, while a new variation on a classic is always welcome, it can make things a little confusing. Worry not, though – whether it’s live, table or slot games, we’ve got your back with our definitive list of casino games.
How California Roulette Works
California Roulette is played much the same as American or European Roulette. A player places a bet on a particular number or group of numbers which they predict will win on the spin. If they predict correctly, they will be paid out depending on the type of bet they placed. If they lose, they forfeit the bet (unless specialty rules are in place, which we’ll cover later on). Check out our roulette strategy guide to give yourself an edge when playing the first round of any roulette game!
As you might imagine, the biggest change-up is how winning numbers are determined. Gone is the classic and much-beloved spinning ball, and in come the cards!
Cards aren’t regulated as stringently because Californian laws view card games as being more skill-based. California Roulette takes advantage of this view, substituting the ball and 38 pockets with a deck of numbered cards. These will also generally be coloured red and black, to mimic the colouring of the classic wheel’s pockets.
The deck will then be randomly shuffled, with a card chosen and turned over. This substitutes the ball falling into a specific numbered pocket. This may take some getting used to, but keep in mind that it’s the legality that matters most here.
In some versions of California Roulette, there might even be a specially made card-holding roulette table with a little pointer on it! This will then spin, with the pointer choosing out the winning card, closely resembling to the classic roulette feel!
What’s the Difference Between European Roulette and American Roulette?
The California Roulette layout is based on American Roulette. You’ll find the additional ‘00’ pocket, represented in the deck. This differs from European Roulette, which has slightly better odds at since it doesn’t have that additional house pocket.
American Roulette – and by extension, California Roulette – hold a 5.26% house edge. If you bet on the ‘The Basket’ (00, 0, 1, 2, 3) this will increase to 7.69%, so stay out of there! Keep in mind that in all variations of Roulette, the ‘0’ and ‘00’ pockets will favour the house.
California Roulette has a couple of optional rule additions which may come into play, though. These are designed to make the odds a little more favourable to the player, more in line with European Roulette.
California Roulette With ‘La Partage’
Our first optional, additional rule is La Partage, which literally translates to ‘the sharing’. It’s a fitting name too, as with this rule you’ll be able to take back half of your losses on even money bets. This lowers the house edge to 2.63% – nice! It also limits your betting options, but lessens a lot of the frustration that comes with a loss.
California Roulette With ‘En Prison’
Another rule which might surf into play is En Prison. With this rule, a lost even bet will be held ‘in prison’ until the next round. This’ll reduce the house edge to just 1.35%! If the player wins, they’ll get back their money in full. If they lose, they forfeit the money. This can be thought of as a variation.
Where Can You Play California Roulette?
Sadly, this innovative roulette variation is not very popular with online games providers. This means that you might only get the chance to play it if you find yourself roaming those sun-soaked California streets. However, there is a similar version of roulette online known as card roulette.
That version uses a standard 52-card deck and has Joker symbols instead of the ‘0’ and ‘00’. It varies quite a bit from any other variation of roulette, but bears a resemblance to California Roulette purely due to the cards.
We recommend giving American Roulette a spin instead! It has all the same rules and a lot of added excitement since it’s fully featured, with the spinning ball, numbered pockets, and all! Check out our best live dealer roulette guide for our expert recommendations on the best site for your next game! Or maybe you’re just after the best live dealer casinos in general, in which case, we’ve got you covered too.
Not necessarily after live dealers and just want to play with real money? We recommend our guide to the best real-money roulette sites. It’s worth checking out!
The Pros and Cons of California Roulette
- Interesting take on a classic game
- Californians can play legally
- Adds to variety
- Rarely available outside of California
- Difficult to find online
California Roulette is an interesting and creative take on roulette. As they say, necessity is the mother of invention. And we’re not speaking about the Frank Zappa group here! Although weirdly, they were California-based.
While there aren’t any specific advantages to California Roulette, it does offer a way for Californians to enjoy some semblance of the original game. We’re of the opinion that if you can’t have your cake and eat it, you might as well enjoy half of it if you can!
On the other hand, if you’re after this specific variation for some reason, you’ll only find it in California! Most other land-based casinos have no reason to offer this instead of the classic. Online casinos similarly haven’t taken much interest in it either. We personally don’t think it’s worth travelling out west just to play it though, just in case any of you were thinking of doing that…
So where does this leave us? California Roulette is worth knowing about simply because of its interesting backstory. It assured us that where players have a will, they’ll find a way! In the meantime, for the rest of us, there’s always the classic version of roulette. Check out some of our recommendations above for the best online casinos where you can play a few rounds!
California ruled that games that determine winnings using spinning balls or dice are illegal.
California Roulette is a card-based variation of roulette, born as a response to the state’s restrictive laws.
Playing Card Roulette is a variation of roulette that utilises cards instead of a spinning ball. California Roulette is a type of Card Roulette.
La Partage is a specialty roulette rule that gives players back half their losses for even bets.
En Prison is a specialty roulette rule that allows players to take back their previous even bet loss upon a win.
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