French roulette is a game you may have noticed in the casino lobby once or twice, but never actually played. Even though it's the third most popular variant of roulette, you decided to pass on that unfamiliar table design and all those bet names you didn't understand.
But it's not as unusual as you think.
French roulette is a little different to American and European roulette, but it's essentially the same game at heart. So hopefully it won't seem so strange after this quick guide to playing French roulette online.
Online casinos with French roulette.
|No casinos available :(
What is French roulette?
French roulette is essentially European roulette with a different table layout.
Honestly, if you just took a European roulette table and shifted the placement of a few of the betting areas around you would be left with French roulette.
Most of the outside bets have also been renamed to their French alternative, but they all work in exactly the same way. For example, the first "dozen" bet is referred to as "P-12", which stands for "Première 12" or "the first 12" in English.
The main addition to most French roulette tables is the racetrack betting area. This betting area can occasionally be found on European tables, but it's native to the French version of roulette.
Note: Some online casinos offer a "French roulette" table, yet they keep the same table layout as the European tables. This just goes to show how European and French roulette are the same on a structural level. The only reason they call it "French" is because they have added the racetrack bets on the side.
French roulette vs. European roulette table layout.
Here are screenshots of a French roulette table and a European roulette table. Notice how both of the wheels are exactly the same (you can't see it from these screenshots, but trust me); the only difference is in the layout of the betting area:
Bets, odds and payouts.
If you've played roulette before, you'll be familiar with all the different types of bets and their payouts already. The only thing you need to get used to with French roulette is the alternative layout and a few different naming conventions.
Here's a table of the differently named outside bets in French roulette and the corresponding American/European bet names.
|Low (1 - 18)
|High (19 - 36)
|P-12 (Première 12)
|1st Dozen (1 - 12)
|M-12 (Moyenne 12)
|2nd Dozen (13 - 24)
|D-12 (Dernière 12)
|3rd Dozen (25 - 36)
Note: The red/black and column bets have symbols or icons instead of names, so there's no need for any translations on these outside bets. The same goes for the inside bets.
The racetrack (call bets).
This is a just a brief introduction to the racetrack in French roulette. For a more thorough guide, check out call bets.
They key feature of any good French roulette table is the racetrack betting area. It looks a little something like this:
So what's it for?
The racetrack allows you to place bets that cover various sections of the roulette wheel.
There are three main bets on the racetrack. And surprise, surprise – they're in French. With a quick translation though they make more sense:
- Voisins du Zero (neighbours of zero)
- Covers the 17 numbers surrounding (and including) the 0.
- Orphelins (orphans)
- Covers the remaining 8 numbers between the two other call bets.
- Tiers du Cylindre (thirds of the wheel)
- Covers the 12 numbers roughly opposite Voisins du Zero.
Easy enough. The other type of bet you can place using the racetrack is a "neighbours" bet. This is where the actual racetrack comes in handy:
- Covers 5 neighbouring numbers on the roulette wheel.
So if you place a chip on the number 1 on the racetrack, you will bet betting on the numbers 14, 20, 1, 33, 16 adjacently on the wheel. That means you'll be betting 5 chips in total.
This kind of bet is perfect if you want to quickly cover a specific section of the roulette wheel without having the manually place each bet on the table yourself, and you don't want to cover as many numbers as the other call bets.
Note: Racetrack bets are sometimes referred to as "call bets" as you have to "call" or "announce" them at the table when playing French roulette in a live casino.
French roulette house edge.
French roulette is just like European roulette but with a different table layout, so they both have the same starting house edge of
La Partage / En Prison rules.
Some online and offline casinos offer the la partage or en prison rules on their French roulette tables. Both of these rules halve the house edge on all evens bets from
If these rules are in place, they will come in to effect when you have placed an evens bet (e.g. red/black, even/odd) and the ball lands on 0:
- La Partage – You get half of your even-money bet wagers back.
- En Prison – Your evens bet is held "in prison" for one more spin. You will either win or lose this bet on the next spin as normal – it's just like you're getting another chance.
Online roulette casinos with either the la partage or en prison rule.
Unfortunately, not all online casinos with French tables offer either of these rules. In fact, very few of them do.
Here are the ones I know of that offer either La Partage or En Prison:
|No casinos available :(
Which is best; European, American or French roulette?
Well first of all, American roulette is basically European roulette with a house edge that is almost twice as bad (
5.26% as opposed to
2.70%), so that's American roulette out of the question.
It's between European and French roulette. If a European table comes with the La Partage rule, both games are as good as each other.
If you're making inside bets then both games offer the same house edge. It's only when you're making even-money bets that the La Partage rule native to French roulette comes in to help you out.
Tip. The La Partage and En Prison rules are sometimes found on European Roulette, but pretty much always found on French Roulette.
I'm sure the majority of people will prefer the more familiar design of European roulette. Plus, it's not as though those racetrack bets are exclusive to French roulette tables only, as they're found on a bunch of European tables online these days too.
Tip. Racetracks can be found on both the French and European version of roulette.
I'd say there are two main reasons why you'd want to switch to playing French roulette:
- You prefer the layout.
- You're patriotically French.
Personally I think it's a cool alternative to European roulette, and I like playing it for a change of pace.