Many researchers assume that roulette is one of the oldest casino games that was introduced in France. Its origin can be traced back to the mid-17th century and the famous mathematician Blaise Pascal is the man responsible for inventing the first roulette wheel. In fact, he was trying to create a perpetual motion machine. As the years rolled by, roulette has changed significantly to become the game we know today.
Being among the most popular games, many online and land-based casinos implemented it. If you visit an online casino, you will be treated to a cornucopia of roulette titles. Limited space in land-based gambling establishments means that you will find fewer roulette tables. However, you will most likely find French Roulette as it is often the center of attention.
Differences Between French and European Roulette
French Roulette is a unique version of the game. A trained player’s eye would immediately notice the difference between French and European Roulette. Even though both variations of the game use the same wheel with 36 numbered pockets alternatively colored red and black and one green zero pocket, they differ in terms of the table layout.
In land-based casinos, the French roulette wheel might be placed in the middle of the table and the felt might be red;
In European Roulette, the felt is always green and the wheel is placed at one end of the table;
The boxes for placing even-money bets in French Roulette are located on both sides of the number grid;
The boxes for placing outside bets in European Roulette are positioned on one side of the number grid;
French Roulette features special rules, and more precisely “La Partage” and “En Prison”, reducing the house edge to 1.35%. These rules apply only to even-money bets.
Some European Roulette tables offer the “La Partage” and “En Prison” rules;
French Roulette offers announced bets and an additional betting area – the racetrack.
Some European Roulette tables feature racetracks, thus providing players with the opportunity to place announced bets.
The names of the bets are written in French. However, some casinos offer English translation below the French names.
French vs American Roulette
Comparing French and American Roulette, one of the main differences between these two variations is the number of pockets on the wheels. American Roulette uses a wheel with 36 numbered pockets, a zero, and a double-zero pocket. The addition of a second double-zero pocket significantly increases the house edge to 5.26%.
Furthermore, the layout of the American Roulette table is very similar to the one of the European Roulette table. However, you will not find a variation of American Roulette that offers the “La Partage” or “En Prison” rule. In addition, roulette fans who prefer to play the American version of the game will not be able to place announced bets which we will discuss later in this article.
Another important thing to mention is that the number sequence on the American Roulette wheel is different from the number sequence on the European and French Roulette wheel.
- American Roulette (clockwise): 0, 28, 9, 26, 30, 11, 7, 20, 32, 17, 5, 22, 34, 15, 3, 24, 36, 13, 1, 00, 27, 10, 25, 29, 12, 8, 19, 31, 18, 6, 21, 33, 16, 4, 23, 35, 14, 2.
- European and French Roulette (clockwise): 0, 32, 15, 19, 4, 21, 2, 25, 17, 34, 6, 27, 13, 36, 11, 30, 8, 23, 10, 5, 24, 16, 33, 1, 20, 14, 31, 9, 22, 18, 29, 7, 28, 12, 35, 3, 26.
Special French Roulette Rules
Talking about the house edge of the game, we have to mention that French Roulette has two special rules that can further reduce the house edge to 1.35%. The first rule is called “La Partage” and it allows you to get back half of your wager provided that you place an even-money bet and the ball happens to land in the zero pocket. Of course, this comes at a price – the house will keep the other half of your original stake.
“En Prison” is the other rule that many French roulette tables offer. It allows players who lose their even-money bets because the ball landed in a zero pocket to try to win their wagers back by leaving their original bets on the same spot on the table for the next spin. Winning bets are returned to the players while losing wagers are claimed by the house.
These two rules stack the odds in the player’s favor and that is why many experienced roulette fans prefer playing French Roulette. We have to inform our readers that they might come across European roulette tables that feature these rules.
How to Play French Roulette
If you know how to play European Roulette, you will not encounter any difficulties in playing French Roulette. The reason is that French Roulette is no different than the European version of the game in terms of rules. To win, you have to guess in which pocket the ball will settle. If you decide to visit a land-based casino to enjoy French Roulette, you have to comply with the roulette etiquette.
Online French Roulette
To play French Roulette at an online casino is extremely easy. The first thing you have to do is to find a legitimate web-based casino that offers this variation of the game. You may come across many different variations of French-style roulette, but they all follow the basic rules of the game. However, the different variations of the game have various betting limits. So, make sure to find the table that corresponds to your bankroll. Do not forget to also pay attention to the chip denominations.
When playing software-based French Roulette, you have to know that the outcome of the game is determined by a special piece of software called a random number generator (RNG). In other words, no croupier is manning the table.
Popular French Roulette Variations Among Online Players
Some of the most widespread French Roulette variations include Microgaming’s French Roulette Gold, Playtech’s Premium French Roulette, and NetEnt’s French Roulette. If you happen to try any of them, you will certainly not regret your choice as they feature remarkable graphics and an easy-to-use interface.
Live Dealer French Roulette
Online casinos also offer live dealer games for all those players who are nostalgic over the land-based casino experience. Live French Roulette plays out as in a land-based gambling establishment. You have to find a seat and make a bet when the croupier announces “Place your bets”. The game commences when the dealer spins the wheel in one direction and tosses the ball in the opposite direction.
While the wheel is in motion, roulette enthusiasts can still place bets until the croupier announces “No more bets”. Then, you have to wait for the ball to come to a halt which will determine the winning number.
French Roulette Bets Explained
French Roulette features the same bet categories as European Roulette, and namely inside and outside bets. Inside bets are placed on a specific number or a group of numbers. The risk associated with inside bets is higher, so is the payout. As the name implies, outside bets are placed on the outside section of the betting layout. These offer better odds of winning but a lower payout. Let us look at the different types of bets:
- En Plein (Straight-Up Bet) – a bet on a specific number. Its payout is 35:1.
- En Cheval (Split Bet) – it is placed on two adjacent numbers (for example 14 and 15). Players have to place the chips between the two numbers. Winning bets are associated with a payout of 17:1.
- Carre Simple/Transversale (Street Bet) – roulette fans can bet on a row of three numbers (for example 16, 17, and 18). The chips have to be placed on the line at the end of the row. Street bets have a payout of 11:1.
- Carre (Corner Bet) – often referred to as a square bet, it covers four numbers (for example 5, 6, 8, and 9). If you want to make a corner bet, you have to place chips at the corner of the selected four numbers. This bet comes with a payout of 8:1.
- Sixain (Line Bet) – this bet covers two rows of three numbers each (for example 1, 2, 3 and 4, 5, 6). Chips are placed between the two rows along the side of the betting area. Winning line bets are paid out at odds of 5:1.
- Colonne (Column Bet) – the number grid is divided into three columns, each consisting of 12 numbers (for example 1, 4, 7, 10, 13, 16, 19, 22, 25, 28, 31, 34). Its payout is 2:1. To make a column bet, you have to place chips at the end of the selected column.
- Premier Douzaine (P12) – this bet covers the numbers from 1 to 12. Its payout is 2:1.
- Moyenne Douzaine (M12) – it covers the second dozen of numbers, and more precisely 13 – 24. The payout is 2:1.
- Derniere Douzaine (D12) – it covers the third dozen of numbers – 25 to 36 and winning bets are paid out at odds of 2:1.
- Rouge (Red) / Noir (Black) – a bet placed on all red or black numbers. Since there are 18 red and 18 black numbers on the French roulette wheel, this bet covers 18 numbers. It pays out 1:1.
- Impair (Odd) / Pair (Even) – players can place a bet on all odd or even numbers. It means that the bet is made on 18 numbers. Its payout is 1:1.
- Manque (Low) / Passe (High) – the numbers on the roulette wheel are divided into low (1 to 18) and high (19 to 36) numbers. Roulette players can bet on all low or high numbers and if they win, they will collect a payout of 1:1.
Bets are typically placed on the betting layout. However, most French Roulette tables and some European variations of the game offer a special betting tool that allows you to place bets covering different sections of the wheel (announced bets). It is called a racetrack due to its oval shape. It can be found next to the main betting area. Let us discuss the different types of announced bets and how to place them:
- Voisins du Zero (neighbors of zero) – this bet covers 17 numbers, including 22, 18, 29, 7, 28, 12, 35, 3, 26, 0, 32, 15, 19, 4, 21, 2, 25. If you look at a single-zero roulette wheel, you will notice that these numbers are close to the zero pocket.
It is one of the most complex bets and it requires a total of 9 chips of equal denomination (two chips on the 0, 2, 3 trio; two chips on the corner 25, 26, 28, 29; one chip on each of the following split bets – 4/7, 12/15, 18/21, 19/22, and 32/35). Depending on the winning number, the payout may reach 17:1.
- Orphelins (Orphans) – this bet covers two sections of the wheel that are not connected. The numbers it includes are 9, 31, 14, 20, and 1 on one side of the wheel and 17, 34, and 6 on the other side of the wheel. If you want to make an Orphelins bet, you have to place one chip on the following splits: 6/9, 14/17, 17/20, 31/34, and a straight-up bet on the number 1. The maximum payout associated with this bet is 35:1.
- Le Tiers du Cylindre (third of the wheel) – it covers a total of 12 numbers, including 5, 8, 10, 11, 13, 16, 23, 24, 27, 30, 33, and 36. This bet requires a total of 6 chips as one chip is placed on each of the following split bets: 5/8, 10/11, 13/16, 23/24, 27/30, and 33/36. Winning Le Tiers bets are paid out at odds of 17:1.
- Jeu Zero (zero game) – this bet covers the numbers closest to zero on the wheel. These include 12, 35, 3, 26, 0, 32, and 15. The bet is a combination of three split bets (0/3, 32/35, and 12/15) and one straight-up bet on 26. The maximum payout associated with this announced bet is 35:1.
- Les Finales (final digits) – this is an interesting type of announced bet that allows players to bet on all numbers ending in the same digit. In its essence, it is a combination of straight-up bets and thus, the payout is 35:1.
If you want to bet on the numbers ending in 0 to 6, you will have to place 4 chips on the betting area as there are 4 numbers on the French roulette wheel ending in one of these numbers. The other option is to bet on the numbers ending in 7, 8, or 9. Then, you will need a total of 3 chips.
The Difference Between Call and Announced Bets
Many roulette fans believe that announced bets are synonymous with call bets. However, there is a slight difference between these two terms. Players do not have to place any money on the table if they make call bets. Roulette fans simply have to announce the bet they wish to make and the croupier marks it on the betting area.
Since call bets are made on credit, these are illegal in many countries such as the UK. On the contrary, roulette enthusiasts who place announced bets have to immediately place money on the table.