French roulette is French to the core, right down to its literal translation of ‘little wheel’. Roulette began quietly back in 1655 with a French mathematician, physicist and inventor's quest for a perpetual motion machine. It evolved over time, especially when King Charles III introduced it to the masses in his Monaco casino, even adding a zero to the european roulette wheel to improve its house edge to help his struggling kingdom profit.
Modern day roulette can be played in three variations - American, European and French. The American version and its additional double zero pocket consequently spiked its house edge to 5.3% while European and French roulette house edge sit at 2.7%. However, as you’ll soon learn, two French rules can roll that house edge right down to 1.3%. Patience, we’ll get into this!
If you’ve got a passion for the French wheel, read on as we can take you on our own tour de France, roulette style.
European and French roulette share the same 37 pocket wheel and payouts. Where the French go rogue, is with the addition of two rules and the opportunity to place French or Call bets.
Let’s start with the two rules. Limited to French roulette games, En Prison and La Partage become active when the ball drops on zero.
When this occurs, En Prison will hold your bet captive until the next round. Should the ball strike zero again, it will be lost, but hey, at least you got a free round!
La Partage returns half your bet to you should the ball drop to zero. All in all, when these two rules come into play, the house edge drops to 1.3%. Merci beaucoup, indeed!
French or Call bets are unique to French roulette as well. They work with a system that breaks the wheel into sections and play on collections of numbers working numerically or around distinct segments of the wheel. They’re not complicated, but they are manually placed across a series of numbers, usually using a mix of techniques like splits, corners and three-number bets.
As a bonus, they cover quite a large chunk of the grid and can improve your chances to recoup your wager or at least part of it each round.
The beauty of this game is that it's both wildly entertaining and incredibly simple to learn. Your one and only goal is to guess where the little ball will land. Sounds easy, right? Well, it is.
When it comes to placing bets, there’s many to choose from. Everything from a single-number bet to a simpleblack or red choice can be placed with ease. Once you’ve got a few of the basic bets under your belt and get a feel for the wheel, try branching out to different bets that cover more of the board, or are one shot bets for multiple numbers like a Corner or Dozen, sorry Douzaine.
Only in French roulette can you try French or Call bets. These unique bets give you the opportunity to cover whole sections of the wheel and increase your chances per round. Don’t worry, we’ll get into these below - you can bet on it!
French roulette uses the European wheel. That’s good news if you’re tracking the house edge. The European wheel and its single zero pocket sits at 2.7%, while its double zero American counterpart is much higher at 5.25%.
We’ve established that online French roulette and European roulette share the wheel but taking a look at the table layout, there’s a few differences to note. For starters, it’s in French. Not to worry, most of these translations are quite literal and easy to pick up. Afterall, numbers are numbers. Onto the grid, which for French roulette players is positioned horizontally and outside bets surround the number grid, rather than lie at the bottom. In particular, High-Even-Black sit on the top, while their counterparts Low-Odd-Red lie on the opposite side at the bottom. Separated by numbers, but they’ll survive!
The crème de la crème of roulette betting is the straight up bet. Simply, it’s a single number bet that pays 35:1.
Like siblings you can’t choose between, a Split bet covers two adjacent numbers. Easy to make, simply place a chip on their connecting line and you’ll be paid 17:1 if either hits.
Look at the grid as a series of three-number rows to get the essence of this bet. Streets are sequential, starting with 1-3, 4-6, 7-9 and so on. To bet, drop a chip on the outer line on the lowest of the trio. Just one in the group needs to hit for an 11:1 payout.
A block of four numbers, but the four have to be connected. To place a bet, drop your chip in the centre where all four intersect and you’ll be set for an 8:1 payout should any in the quad hit.
You’re already familiar with a Street Bet. A Line bet is two side-by-side streets. A chip placed on the outer grid at the insertion of the two will grab you 5:1 if any of the six hits.
When you can, have a look at the table and slice the number grid crosswise. You’ll find three columns and when making a column bet, you’re banking on any one of those 12 numbers to hit. They’re not numerically sensicle like its cousin the Douzaine, but it offers a similar 2:1 payout.
Focus, all this dozen and French is making us hungry for croissants. A ‘douzaine’ is a 12 number bet and there’s three numerical sets of 12 to choose from. On the betting grid, you’ll see them marked on outside squares labelled in French as P12 (Premiere dozen - first) for 1-12, M12 (Moyenne Douzaine - middle) for 13-24, and D12 (Derniere douzaine, or last) for 25-36. Pays 2:1.
Look at us, learning French! This is a simple bet banking on the winning number falling in a red/rouge or noir/black pocket. There are 18 numbers per colour, but keep in mind it’s not quite the 50/50 coin flip you may be craving (remember that green zero)! Pays 2:1.
Quite simply, odd or even. Given you’ve got 37 pockets, 18 are odd & 18 are even and one is neither (0) which is why it’s not a straight 50/50 flip. It actually sits at 48.6% for a 2:1 payday.
Manque/low covers numbers 1-18, while Passe/high takes care of 19-36. Similar to our other even money bet even/odd and red/black so called ‘even money’ bets, it pays 2:1.
This bet isn’t a one chip wonder, it’s part of a collection of bets called French bets. This series of bets divide the wheel into sections. Easily placed when using a racetrack or oval form the grid, it’s still doable on a regular felt table. However, these ‘announced bets’ require you to manually cover numbers with a series of chips placed. This one takes care of 17 numbers sitting closest to 0 - 27,13,36,11,30,8,23,10,5,24,16, and 33. You can do it with 5 chips using a combo of split, three-number and corner bets for a max payout of 17:1.
Unique to the European and live French roulette wheel, it's part of the betting system that breaks the wheel into sections and not numerically or by colour. Six chips are required to cover these 12 numbers opposite Voisins - 27, 13, 36, 11, 30, 8, 23, 10, 5, 24, 16, and 33. All are split bets, paying 17:1.
A mini Voisins du Zero, you’re covering numbers on the wheel that surround zero. Two to the right and four to the left, that’s 12, 35, 3, 26, 32 and 15. Pays up to 35:1. Why ‘up to’? You’ll be using a combo of straight-up and split bets, so since 26 is alone in this series, it garners the top payout of 35:1, while splits pay 17:1.
By looking at the wheel with our french glasses, this bet covers orphaned or leftover numbers not included in Voisons or Tiers. This is an 8 number bet requiring 5 chips in a mix of straight up and split bets on 17, 34, 6, 1, 20, 4, 31 and 9. Pays up to 35:1.
Even without grade 8 French, an easy translation - final. Only available on the single zero wheel, this one bets on the final digit. Let’s use an example. A final 5 bet means you’re hoping any number ending with a 5 (5, 15, 25 and 35) hits. These are placed as straight up bets, paying 35:1.
Learn more about these and other roulette bets in our separate guide.
The key to success in roulette is remember that it’s a game of chance and pure luck! With that in mind, there are a few popular strategies that can help you along in your roulette game play. In French roulette and all roulette variations for that matter, the Martingale strategy tops the list. Every time you lose a bet, double your wager. The idea is that when you win, you’ll recoup those losses and start fresh again with your original wager amount on the next bet. Simple, right? Just note that if you happen to hit a losing streak, you’re going to need a bankroll to sustain this system!
When in Rome…or France…you may pull in a French favourite only found in French roulette. Playing neighbouring numbers, this French strategy entails covering 5 numbers that sit next to each other on the wheel (note they neighbour on the wheel, not the roulette table betting grid!).
There’s also the Reverse Martingale for smaller bankrolls. As the name suggests, you do the opposite of the Martingale. Every time you win, double your bet and cut it in half with a loss. The goal here is to latch on to any potential lucky streak and ride it as hard!
Quite generally, always remember that roulette is a game of chance. Just like the song sings ‘don’t go chasing waterfalls’, don’t go chasing wins either. Now, let’s talk about playing French roulette specifically. If you’ve made the choice to play en francais, over European or American, then make use of the French bets.
French bets cover a collection of numbers and are a way to work the wheel! They offer a reasonable means of covering a fair chunk of the board. Due to sheer numbers in play, French bets give you a solid shot at recouping at least a portion of your bet or winning. Plus, they’re just plain ol entertaining and fun. Also, be sure to seek out the French rules En Prison and La Partage that make the sting of a zero less bee-like and more butterfly-esk.
Newbies to the game may take our recommendation to start outside and work your way in. By that, we mean start with ‘even outside bets’ like red/black, odd/even, and high/low as these offer a 2:1 payday, but a 48%+ chance of hitting. Good luck!
French and European roulette play on the same single-zero wheel and therefore offer the same house edge of 2.7%. A couple of French roulette rules, however quietly push French roulette a favour of the player. It’s true. En Prison and La Partage ease the pain of the zero pocket.
Should a ball drop into 0, En Prison keeps your bet in play for the next round, while La Partage delivers half back to you.
When this specific scenario occurs, the house edge drops to 1.35%. All in all, a far cry better than American roulette’s 5.25% house edge!
At LeoVegas you sure can! Our den is packed with French roulette tables and within each one, there’s a free demo mode. They’re the perfect place to try out strategies, test your skills, and get a feel for the wheel without spending a single loonie.
Live-streamed in HD quality, live croupiers await in LeoVegas live casino games like French Live Roulette. You’ll feel like you’ve been transported to a brick & mortar casino, yet you’ll be saving on gas and relaxed in your own home. It’s already a win-win.
What does better mean to a gambler? More entertaining? Better chances? Since we all want to win, the French can be the more desirable choice. Here’s why. Those two French rules, En Prison and La Partage take away the sting of a zero. They also drop the house edge by over a full percent should the zero rules come into play. So, for that reason, we’re siding with the French!
French roulette uses the European wheel which has 37 pockets for numbers 1-36 + zero. The American wheel has an additional pocket that houses a double zero. This one extra pocket spikes the American roulette house edge to 5.25% in comparison to Europe’s friendlier 2.7%. Beyond the wheel, the French roulette table is privy to two key rules, En Prison and Le Partage, that push or return half your bet should the ball drop into the zero pocket.
How sophisticated! The French roulette rules also get complicated (well, if you’re new to roulette) with a series of French bets or Called bets that cover sections of the wheel and a mix of straight up, split, corner and three-number bets.
Quite simply, if you have the choice between the two, we’d take French any day of the week.
We always recommend a little inward reflection when it comes to strategy. Take into account your bankroll, the likely length of your gaming session, and your knowledge of roulette. If you’re starting out, the Martingale strategy is simple and easy to follow.
It's a pattern whereby you double your bet every time you lose, and drop it back down when you win.
The goal is to recoup your losses when a win comes your way, but as you can imagine, in any game of chance there are swings.
Can you bankroll sustain swings with this strategy? Get knowledgeable! Learn about all your strategy choices, try them out in one of our many free demo modes, and hit the tables only when you’re comfortable.
Other beginning strategies favour starting with outside bets. Sure, they offer smaller paydays but they’re a great way to get acquainted with betting rounds and get a feel for table trends.
Every roulette wheel, American, French and European, all have the same roulette numbers, 1 thru 36. But, while both European and French have a 37th pocket for a zero, Americans have to deal with a 38th pocket and it’s a double zero. Heads up! You may even find a THREE zero American roulette wheel somewhere lurking around an American casino. Oh, the horrors!
The biggest differences between these two games lie in a table. The box on the table indicates the pockets on the wheel have red stripes. Furthermore, words and numbers are written in French, while European versions are written in English.
Learn more about roulette in other guides: