The game of roulette dates back to the late 18th century. The original game is called, today, “European roulette.” The French roulette variation is favored by many advanced players who want a more exciting and rewarding gaming experience.
European roulette is the classic version of the game of roulette and that’s the game with which most players are familiar. The majority of players are also familiar with American roulette which differs from European roulette based on an extra zero pocket (“double zero”) that is found on the American roulette wheel. There’s a third variation of roulette, French roulette, which isn’t well-known. This is the preferred version for many gamers-in-the-know.
French roulette differs from European and American roulette in that it has a unique table layout. There aren’t many casinos that offer French roulette because the house edge in French roulette is considerably lower than that of American or European roulette. In French roulette the house edge is reduced to 1.35%
How to Play French Roulette
To play French roulette you should first familiarize yourself with the wheel and the table. French roulette can be played on a standard European or American wheel. European wheels have 36 numbered pockets and one zero pocket for a total of 37 pockets. American wheels have 36 numbered pockets, one zero pocket and one OO pocket (double zero) for a total of 38 pockets.
All the numbered pockets on the French table are white. The position of the outside betting field of a French roulette table is split in two and located along both sides of the table layout. The names of many of the bets display on the table in French. On some tables, you can see the translation in English right below the French name of the bet.
As with European and American roulette, the objective of French roulette involves predicting into which numbered pocket the roulette ball will fall after it is tossed into the spinning wheel. Players make bets on a particular number and then the dealer turns the roulette wheel in one direction while spinning the roulette ball in the opposite. Payouts are made to players who made correct predictions.
French Roulette Rules
When you’re playing French Roulette, all outside bets (odds, evens, blacks, reds, highs, lows) are not lost completely when the ball lands on a zero pocket. Instead, either the en prison or the la partage rule applies.
- En Prison rule: en prison means, as you can guess, “in jail”. When this rule is enacted the player’s money is not lost. The bet stays (is “jailed”) and remains in effect on the next spin, on the same outside bet. The bet wins or loses as it would normally do EXCEPT if it lands on zero again – in that case, you lose the bet.
- La Partage rule: la partage means splitting. When this rule is enacted the player loses half his bet and rest is returned to be re-wagered on the next spin.
Experts say that, regardless of which rule is in effect, the benefit is mathematically the same for the player. As with non-French rules, the higher house edge is given to the American wheel so the best option that a player has is to play French roulette on a European reel. It’s not easy to find such a game but there are some casinos that offer the option.
Roulette tables’ betting layout is divided into two sections – group bets and bets on individual numbers. When you play French roulette you can take advantage of these two main categories of bets, also terms “outside” and “inside” bets.
Inside bets are made on either one single number, on adjacent numbers or on small groups of numbers. Outside bets involve larger groups of numbers. The definition of inside and outside bets are similar to those in other roulette variations and include:
- Straight-Up Bets can be placed on any single number, including the “0” or “00”. The payout is 35 to
- Split Bets which feature two adjacent. The payout is 17 to 1.
- Street Bets where the bet is placed on 3 numbers in a row. The payout is 11 to 1
- Corner Bets in which the wager is placed on a group of 4 numbers that are on a corner of the roulette table. Also called a “corner bet”. The payout is 8 to 1
- Line Bet of six numbers (or two rows of 3 numbers. The payout is 5 to 1.
Columns bet is a bet placed on an entire column. The payout is 2 to 1.
- Dozens Bets features a group of 12 numbers. On a French table the boxes are marked as “12P” (Premier Douzaine, numbers 1 to 12), or as “12M” (Moyenne Douzaine, numbers 13 to 24), and 12D (Dernière Douzaine. Numbers 25 – 36). The payout is 2 to 1.
- Color bets which allow you to bet on the ”Red” (Rouge) diamond or the ”Black” (Noir) diamond. The payout is 1 to 1.
- Odds/Evens bet in which the player has the option to bet that the number that will come up will be a “Pair” even number or an “Impair” odd number. The payout is 1 to one.
- High/Low bet to bet on the group of high numbers (19-36), called “Passe” on a French table, or the group of low numbers (1-18), called “Manque” in French roulette.
The en prison rule takes effect when a player places an even-money outside bet and the winning number is 0. Now, the player either receives 50% of the bet or imprisons the entire wager. If he chooses to imprison the bet and on the next wheel spin the bet wins, the bet is released and the player recovers the original bet. If the ball lands on zero on the next wheel spin, the player loses the entire bet.
The la partage rule takes place when an outside bet is placed and the winning number is 0. In that case, la partage can be put into play and the bet is divided by 2. 50% of the bet is returned to the player and 50% is held by the house.
Both of these rules lower the house edge to 1.35%.
Mix and Match
French roulette can be played with an American or a European roulette wheel. But for those players who do enjoy the extra interactive element, roulette is the preferred table game to play.