California roulette

What is California Roulette?

When we mention the casino game with roulette, you probably think about lavish surroundings with a table and a roulette wheel, surrounded by smartly dressed players. And all under the professional and watchful eye of the dealer. Within the game of roulette, there are a few variations that are well-known, including the European, French and American versions. But in California, there’s an interesting type of roulette game few gamblers have ever heard of. This came about because casino games that use dice and wheels are forbidden by the California state government. The game of California roulette is similar to American roulette. It uses 38 cards along with 38 numbers. They use a different colour for each number. And it’s these numbers that will determine how the game plays out.

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Gambling Games Not Allowed in California


In 2004, a new California law stated that all games that don’t require any skill, are in fact, straightforward gambling. In a traditional game such as roulette, the dice is in charge of the gameplay. As you know, the little ivory ball lands on a number or in a pocket and that’s the reason why the game is banned under state law. But it wasn’t the only game to fall foul of the new California law. Below is a list of all games that came to an end in 2004 in California.

  • Fantan
  • Hokey-pokey
  • Twenty-one
  • Rouge et Noire
  • Faro
  • Seven-and-a-half
  • House-banked
  • Monte
  • Lansquenet
  • Rondo
  • Tan
  • Roulette

Of course, playing traditional roulette was a very popular game both online and off. So as you can imagine, the whole casino gaming industry was thrown into disarray. The American state decided that it was illegal to drop a ball into a pocket in order to determine a winning number. After all, that would then constitute gambling and a game of chance. But the state did give permission that California roulette could be played with cards in order to decide on a winning number.

If you’re looking at the above list and have never heard of some of the games then don’t worry. You’re not alone. Nevertheless, in 2004 the state law saw the end of the road for all these games. Today, almost 20 years later, very few people remember or know how these games function. A quick search of the internet will show you all the rules and gameplay. Though they don’t have California roulette, one of our favourite casinos, 22Bet Casino, has a vast array of roulette options including some excellent live dealer games.

The Definition of California Roulette


First thing’s first. It may be difficult to get your head around the fact, but Californian roulette does not feature a roulette wheel. By any definition, without a roulette wheel, how can it still be called roulette? Nevertheless, it does use identical numbers that you would find on an ordinary roulette wheel. It’s essentially a game of cards. An automatic shuffler machine will shuffle the cards for the dealer. Depending on the card colours and the suits that show, your bets will either win or lose. Once you know the rules of the game, you’ll see it’s incredibly simple and is super easy to play and win.

Approach any normal casino gaming table in any casino across the US and you’ll find a roulette table and board. Up to 8 players will be playing against the casino itself with an En Prison rule that will give the lowest house edge. In fact, it’s this rule that gives American casinos an advantage for the player. It makes them very popular in this context. This is in spite of the wheel having an extra zero. But the card game of California roulette will give the player an even greater advantage over the house.

You’re probably wondering what is the En Prison rule? It’s a unique and important factor in helping the player have a greater edge over the casino itself. Essentially, you can withdraw your bet, or half the money, if the wager is zero. Mind you, you can only do this once. You’re not able to withdraw a second time. 

Is There a Specific Strategy For Playing California Roulette?

California roulette

There is some basic strategy to learn here if you’re going to be playing against your friends. These jackpot winning tips and tricks will help you take home some winnings. It’s not of importance whether they are playing at a land-based casino or online, as you’ll still need to learn some strategies before you place your first bet. It’s also important that you understand how the payouts work. Each and every casino will have differences in this context. So before you jump in and start playing, we suggest that you take the time to learn each casino’s betting rules, along with their different payout techniques.

It’s super important that you are absolutely familiar with all the bets. Otherwise, you could find yourself sitting at the games table with zero ideas of the gameplay or how to place your wagers on the table. Once you’re familiar with the betting structure, you’ll be able to make bets on a single number with a possible result being 36 or 37 to 1 in odds. We suggest that you make an effort to combine your betting fractions. This will then give you a bigger chance to increase your jackpot winning chances every time you play your turn. Another factor that will help you win is a nice welcome bonus. 22Bet Casino offers all new players 122% up to €300! This will certainly stretch your bankroll nicely.

Types of California Roulette Bets

A good example would be when you do splits, as this will only increase your chances of winning the bet. But do keep in mind that if you do splits frequently, then, though your chances are increasing in value, they are actually decreasing. In other words, when you bet like this, the money you could win will not be the same as if you were betting on a regular outcome. This means that when you bet, the number of chances you have of winning, and the total amount of money that can be won, will always remain equal.

Another good bet is to bet all the numbers that have two numbers with black and red colours on them and two stripes. These will offer the best odds and the choices will give you a constant and consistent number of wins. Before you place your bet, take your time to study the paytable carefully. Also, before the dealer closes the table for final bets, you will have a specific time frame in which to choose the bet you wish to go forward with.

Where to Play California Roulette?


There are many online casinos to win the jackpot. These sites will offer any number of different versions of the casino table game of roulette, but you may struggle to find California roulette. Because it doesn’t make use of the board and wheel, obviously many online casinos are reluctant to offer it. In truth, it’s not seen as a real and viable form of roulette. But if you happen to be in California, then there are a couple of land-based casinos which offer California roulette.

Viejas Casino

This casino is in the Alpine of California. Not only do they offer this variant of roulette, but also a huge number of variations of poker, and your usual fare of casino slot games.

Pala Casino Spa Resort

This is a luxury resort that has everything a gambler could ever want. From a relaxing spa to having fabulous food. The roulette here is played with a traditional deck of 38 cards. Of course, the casino hosts all your usual casino jackpot games. But being a spy resort also offers other amenities where you can relax and have fun.

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Conclusion: The Enigma of California Roulette

The fact that the game is called California roulette and yet doesn’t feature a spinning wheel or a betting board is slightly disturbing for any gambler. Then we have the fact that it’s a card game. This only adds to the strangeness of the whole idea. Like having said that, this is a game with probably one of the lowest house advantages for the gambler. One thing we will add is that it’s imperative you learn the rules and gameplay. After all, there’s no point in playing a game with the lowest house advantage, if you start placing stupid bets.