French scientist Blaise Pascal is thought to be the pioneer of the modern wheel which finally saw a 0 added in 1842.
For this reason, many consider French Roulette to be the oldest version of the game.
When it spread to the USA, casinos there added a second 0 giving them a better house edge, but French Roulette has always stuck with just the one 0 the same as the European version.
The biggest difference between the French and European versions is that players can make a number of ‘called’ bets in the French version as long as they have enough chips available.
Many players take advantage of the ease of these bets to cover several numbers at a time instead of manually placing chips on individual areas.
Basics of French Roulette and Rules
Before we look at rules specific to French Roulette, let’s take a brief look at the standard rules of Roulette.
As with all other types of Roulette, the aim is to guess the result of a spin of a wheel and which of the 37 numbers will come in.
French Roulette, the same as European Roulette, goes from 1 to 36 with one 0 as well. The 0 is treated differently to the other 36 numbers for all except one type of bet – this is how the casino has their ‘edge’.
Above you will see the standard layout for a French Roulette wheel and betting area.
You will notice that this aspect is the same as European Roulette, with one 0 and areas to place chips on even money bets such as Red or Black, High or Low and Odd or Even. There are also Column Bets which pay 2 to 1, Single Number bets that pay 35 to 1 and Corner Bets that pay 3 to 1.
You will also see the options in the bottom right for Neighbour Bets and Announce Bets. We will go through these in more detail later on.
When placing your bet/s, the first thing to do is choose the value of each chip. You can change it from one bet to another and each table will have minimum and maximum limits for each type of bet – the smaller the odds, the more you will be able to bet – so when you choose which table to play at, ensure the table limit is suitable for you.
The standard type of bets that can be placed in the French version of Roulette, as well as European and American Roulette, are as follows:
Types of Inside Bets
Straight Up Bets: This is a bet on a specific number to come in such as 4 or 18. There are 37 numbers to choose from in total – including 0 – these pay out 35 to 1.
Split Bets: These are bets placed between 2 adjacent numbers such as 23 and 24 or 14 and 15. The chip needs to be placed between the 2 numbers and pays 17 to 1 if either of those numbers come in.
Street Bet: These are placed at the end of the selected row and pays out 11 to 1 if any of the numbers from that row is a winner. An example would be the row containing 16, 17 and 18. Place a chip half covering the line to the left of the 16 and if any of those 3 numbers win, you get 11 to 1 on your total bet.
Corner/Four Bet: These cover four numbers – as you would expect – and need to be placed in the corner of a number and covering four numbers in total. In the example above, place a chip over the bottom left of the 11 and it would cover 10, 11, 13 and 14. You would win 8 to 1 if any of these numbers come in.
Line Bet: This is a bet on 6 numbers covering 2 rows of 3. The chip/s need to be placed to the left of the row, covering half of the left-hand side number and the number below. For example, in the image above, to place a Line Bet for the first 2 rows – so 1, 2, 3 and 4, 5, 6 places a chip covering half the line to the left of the 1 and half the line to the left of the 4. If any of those 6 numbers come in, you win at odds of 5 to 1.
Column: These are placed at the bottom of one of the 12 columns and pays out 2 to 1 if any of the numbers from that column is a winner. Look at the right column in the image above – numbers 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 21, 24, 27, 30, 33 and 36 are all present, therefore a bet on this column would pay 2 to 1 if any of those 12 numbers win.
Even Money Bets
These are essentially 50/50 coin flips and will double your money if you win.
You can bet on whether the number will be Red or Black, Odd or Even or High (19 to 36) or Low (1 to 18).
It is worth reiterating at this point that is if a 0 comes in, any Even Money Bets, Column Bets, and Street Bets these will all lose. Line Bets, Corner/Four Bets, Split Bets or Straight Up bets will win if 0 was covered.
Some versions of French Roulette can refund half of the bets on Even Money Bets or leave the bet for the next spin so it is worth checking this before you decide where to play. Details of these can be found below.
Above you will see an example of all different types of bets and how/where to place them.
French Roulette Specific Bets
The main difference between French Roulette and its European counterpart is the extra bets available to players in the French format.
These have some very French-sounding names as you may expect and each one is completely different.
Voisins du Zero Bet Translated to English, this translates as “Neighbours of Zero” and therefore is fairly explanatory as to what kind of numbers it covers.
Going from 22 which is 9 to one direction past zero and 25 which is 9 to the other side, this bet is for 9 chips and is a combo of Splits and Corner Bets that cover those numbers.
Above you will see an example of the Voisins du Zero bet, note that 2 of the bets are 2 chips, the other 5 single chips giving a total bet of 9 chips.
Le Tiers du Cylindre Bet The English version on this saying is “Thirds of the Wheel”. It covers 12 numbers opposite the 0, from 27 round to 33. The bet consists of 6 Split Bets covering each of the 12 numbers.
The above is an example of a Le Tiers du Cylindre bet, a Split bet covering all 12 numbers opposite 0 on the wheel.
Orphelins Bet Translated as ‘Orphans’, this bet is made up of the 8 numbers that are not covered by the 2 bets above.
The total cost is 5 chips made up of 4 Split bets and a single chip covering 1.
The number 1 has its own chip as none of the other numbers are connected to it, the other 7 numbers are all covered by at least 1 Split bet – the 17 is covered twice.
Even Money Bets when 0 lands
As we mentioned previously, some versions of French Roulette have different rules for Even Money bets when 0 lands.
En Prison – If this rule is in play, your bets will remain for the following spin when 0 rolls in. This is the best version of French Roulette as far as the player is concerned as you do not lose any of your bet, you simply get another chance to win on the next spin. If 0 comes in again next spin, the chips will remain until a spin where 0 doesn’t occur, at which point it will either be paid as a winner or a loser.
La Partage – If the casino you are playing French Roulette has this rule, if 0 rolls in, you will get half your chips back on any Even Money bets but lose the other half. Although this isn’t as good for the player as the En Prison, it is better than losing all of the stakes.
French Roulette Strategy
Whereas some casino games such as Blackjack have an element of skill to them, Roulette – as with Slots – is quite simply a game of chance, nothing more, nothing less.
Therefore, despite what people may tell you, there is no strategy, which can increase your chances of winning on individual bets. You can try using betting strategies, which may help you improve your chances, where you may do better for your overall playing sessions.
French Roulette Tips
Always ensure you bet within your means and if you start to feel unhappy then walk away. Don’t go chasing any losses as this is a sure-fire way to lose funds that you cannot afford.
There are 3 slightly different bets within French Roulette – Voisins du Zero, Le Tiers du Cylindre, and Orphelins, these offer simple ways to cover a lot of numbers and give yourself a reasonable chance of getting a return, even if it may not always cover your initial stake. Consider these if you want an easy and fun way to play.
The lower odds bet such as Even Money Bets like Red/Black, Odd/Even and High/Low give you the best chance of getting a return so consider playing these which should ensure you have a good amount of play for your money. Wherever possible play at a casino that has the En Prison rule which means you don’t lose on these bets when 0 comes in, you simply have them again next spin.
The next best thing if you cannot find a casino that offers the En Prison rule then it is best to find one that offers the La Partage rule – therefore, you lose only half your stake on Even Money Bets as opposed to all of it.