Roulette Royale is a unique variant of the classic French-born casino game designed by gambling software producers Microgaming. Available only at Microgaming-powered online casinos, the rules of Roulette Royale are similar to traditional European game rules, except that this particular variant requires an additional side wager of one credit per spin and offers a series of four jackpots when the wheel repeats a winning number. The largest of these prizes is progressive, making Roulette Royale the first online game of its kind to come with an ever-increasing top payout.
The top jackpot grows in size the more members at gambling websites running Microgaming software place bets on the game. Like any progressive top prize, a big part of the game’s appeal is that players can watch the amount of the progressive win tick up higher and higher as gamblers place the additional side bet and set the wheel in motion. Unlike progressive pokies, table games with this type of top prize don’t get nearly as much action – pokies and other online versions of machine games generally bring in more wagers, so the progressives on poker machines are often above the six-figure mark. Evidence of Roulette Royale’s smaller audience is the fact that the record win on this game is around $450,000, won in 2005 not too long after the game premiered.
Gamblers familiar with the rules of Euro roulette are well-prepared to play Royale. Like Euro games, this title is played on single-zero wheels, meaning thirty-seven numbered slots are available for wagers. In double-zero (also known as American) games, thirty-eight slots make up the wheel, which sets the odds slightly more in the casino’s favour.
Like traditional roulette, Royale players start the game by laying wagers on different spaces on the game’s table. The idea is simple – place a wager on a spot on the table that matches the number, colour, or position of the space the wheel lands in and you’re a winner. Royale offers the same bets as traditional Euro games, and besides the four special jackpots, the payouts on Royale are identical to single-zero games. That means a winning wager on any single number pays 35:1, winning bets on column spaces pay 2:1, and a bet placed on an outside “even-money” proposition that wins (such as a bet on red or black) pays 1:1, etc. Bettors are not limited to just one wager at a time; laying multiple bets on any one spin of the roulette wheel is common, though gamblers still have to follow minimum and maximum wager sizes according to the rules of the virtual table you play on.
Good news for Roulette Royale players – European Roulette is by far the better of the two standard game rules options – double-zero wheels give the house an edge over 5% on most bets, while the single-zero wheel (like the one used in Roulette Royale) establishes a house edge of a little over 2%.
Before a bettor sets the wheel in motion, it’s important to understand a few aspects of this variant from Microgaming. First, every spin in Royale requires the one-credit side wager. Players don’t have the option of playing without paying into the progressive prize. The side wager is placed by the software by default for each round of Royale played.
The additional one-credit wager pays out a different amount depending on the outcome of each spin. The amount a player wins is based on the number of times (in a row) that the ball lands in the same slot. A nice feature of this side wager is that the bettor doesn’t have to have a wager placed on the winning slot in order for the repeat outcomes to pay off.
If the outcome is the same twice in a row, the player wins fifteen credits. For the same outcome three times in a row, the payout is 200 credits. Four repeated outcomes hands the gambler a prize of 3,000 credits. If a player is lucky enough to see the same decision repeated five times, he or she wins the total of the progressive jackpot amount at the time of the repeated wins.
Like any progressive payout, the top jackpot in Roulette Royale is put together little by little from the single-credit side bets of other players. Because the network of Microgaming-powered Internet casinos is large, the game sometimes produces big jackpot amounts for that elusive top prize.
Available wager sizes depend on the casino a gambler does business with – generally, the minimum bet is $1 (plus the additional single credit side bet) while the maximum is set at $5, though the side bet will always be just $1. A bet range allowing total wagers of just $2 and up to $6 is fairly common for Microgaming’s table games, though poking around at some of their member casinos it’s clear that some games allow wagers as high as $10 with a minimum of $5. In any case, the side bet is still just $1.
Some gamblers may not think of table games as allowing much room for strategy – besides games like blackjack that involve player skill, many table casino titles are based entirely on luck. The same is true for any variant of roulette – it’s a low percentage game (even on a Euro wheel) and the game’s designers and casinos that host the game are counting on the appeal of the progressive prize to draw in business from people who may not otherwise be tempted to play a luck-based game where the house edge is near 3%.
The fact that a $1 side bet is required for each spin means players burn through their bankroll at an even faster rate – paying into the progressive jackpot means spending more cash every time the wheel is set in motion. Microgaming was the first company to make an online table game with a progressive jackpot, hoping it might attract attention from the crowds that gather around pokies, a popular casino game on which progressive prizes are commonplace.