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For fans of roulette’s crazy history and different variations, there are always intriguing adaptations of the world’s greatest table game to enjoy, but Bauernroulette has to be on the most charming and super easy to play.

As you’ve probably guessed from the name this is a roulette variant exported from Germany where locals still go crazy for it!

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Despite its name, Bauernroulette, or “poor man’s roulette”, this looks like a very, very distant cousin of the John Huxley roulette wheel that we all know and love. The only part of the “wheel” that even moves is a spinning top- think a charming folkloric wooden board and you’re half-way there! Be warned though- this game still has a roulette house edge, some things never change!


This is a game beloved of its rustic roots. Its name refers to bauer or “farmer” – those who would have been amongst the early players of the game, these farm workers would never have been able to afford to take a twirl on a real roulette wheel which was the game of the wealthy.

This is a simple game, and a great way to get your head round some speedy adding up, but this game is far from complex which must be part of its enduring popularity with children playing it too! And the board’s small size must have lent it to its use on the farms of Germany in its early days.

While the board is traditionally a four cornered affair, modern games are sometimes played on an octagonal board, but the principals remain the same.

The aim of the game is to be the first person to reach a score of one thousand and balls are used to earn points.

To kick off the action you spin a wooden top which then spins into six balls (1 red, 1 green and 4 white) which then in turn are hopefully pushed into a variety of divots in the board, these holes are all worth a different value, as are the balls with red balls earning double points if they land in a hole but the green ball, working against you, by removing the points it earns from the round’s total.

In each corner is a pocket linked to the main board through a hole and these areas are the hardest to land (if balls fall off the board you earn no points.) These are the most sought after holes for their points value, and the skill level required to actually land a ball into these hard to reach chambers!

At the end of the spin or round you add up your points. If you have managed to be lucky or skilled enough to place all the balls in pockets or divots then you get to spin again to begin the next round.

Many fans of roulette would question just how close this variant is to the purist game but it has to be said that there is a certain charm about this game. Bauernroulette has been played by generations of ordinary people in Germany and is still popular enough to be commonly played; only now you don’t just find people crowded around a wooden board in a field!