French Roulette

French Roulette was invented by the French mathematician Blaise Pascal in the 17th century and is the oldest casino table game.

It’s rare to come across a French Roulette wheel in casinos nowadays; you can only play it in certain high-end casinos in France. The same goes for online French Roulette, which is only accessible on certain sites.

Everything you need to know

  • The roulette wheel has 37 numbered pockets: numbers 1 to 36 and a single Zero
  • The wheel and the betting table are the same as European Roulette
  • The house edge is 2.7% for outside bets and 1.35% for inside bets
Online casino French Roulette

The rules of French Roulette

French Roulette is a casino table game that is fairly easy to play. The aim is to beat the casino by guessing which number (or combination of numbers) the ball will land on. Of course, French Roulette is a game of luck, but many players believe that it’s possible to develop winning strategies with a little knowledge and skill.

Where can I play French Roulette?

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The Zero at French Roulette

The Zero pocket in French Roulette comes with a special gameplay rule. Usually, when the ball lands on the Zero, all bets are lost. However, in French Roulette, there’s still a chance to win certain outside bets, including Red/Black, High/Low, and Even/Odd.

Players have two choices:

  1. The Zero – «Le Partage» – Recover half of the bet
    Players can recover half of their initial bet. A popular choice for those who prefer to play it safe.
  2. The Zero – «En prison» – Make or break
    Players agree to leave their bets on the table, locked «in prison» until the next game. If they win the next round, players recover 100% of their initial bet. On the other hand, losing bets belong to the house.

If the ball lands in the Zero pocket twice in a row, all bets «En prison» are lost.

The betting layout

The image below describes the table layout with different boxes for inside and outside bets.

Betting at French Roulette

Betting chips on the table

There are two different types of bets at French Roulette: Inside bets and Outside bets. Also, there are several different combos to bet on which add an extra twist to the game.

Inside bets are riskier but offer higher payouts. In fact, straight-up bets can win you 35 times your initial bet! The least risky and most popular bet is the pocket colour, so would you choose Red or Black? Actually, it’s almost a coin flip with 18 chances out of 37 to win – that’s 0,97/1!

Roulette betting limits

As with all table games, there are betting limits. The lowest bet you can make at French Roulette is £1. However, maximum bets depend on the casino’s size: the bigger the casino, the higher the betting limit. In the UK, the maximum bet is currently set at £10 000, and this also applies to online Roulette. Each Roulette game indicates betting limits on a display board, so make sure to check before you get started.

Betting limits are set for good reasons, but they’re usually much higher for VIP tables. High-stakes Roulette is reserved for wealthy players with minimum bets starting at £100. Bets are also limited to avoid wild winning streaks! Although it may seem impossible, strategic players with the guts to go all-in could actually break the bank.

How to play French Roulette?

  1. First of all, the croupier makes the following announcement «Place your bets! ».
  2. Once the call has been made, players can place bets until the croupier calls, «No more bets!»
  3. Then, the croupier spins the wheel in one direction and tosses the ball in the opposite direction.
  4. After a few seconds, the ball lands into a numbered pocket. Payouts are made to all winning bets while the house collects all losing bets.
  5. Once all payouts have been made, the game starts over again.

French Roulette and the 36 number wheel

The numbers on a Roulette wheel are completely random and do not follow suit. However, this was not always the case, and back in the day, clever players would study the wheel’s movements to predict the ball’s outcome. Since then, small cleats were added to the wheel to deflect the ball’s trajectory. Instant-play games use random number generators, which makes it impossible to predict the winning numbers.

In reality, the chances of winning at each round are the same. No matter which number you play, you can never guess the outcome in advance; otherwise, the casino would go bankrupt.

Different types of bets

Betting at French Roulette is the same as any other Roulette game as both the betting options and the payout system are identical. The betting table has the same layout, with squares for risky Inside bets and rectangles for the safer Outside bets, such as Red/Black and Even/Odd.

Outside bets

Outside betting is definitely less risky. There are only two different types of bets that either double or triple your money. Outside bets that offer 1:1 odds can be played on red, black, even, odd, 1-18, and 19-36.

Betting chart

Bet Payout
Straight-up 35:1
Split 17:1
Street 11:1
Corner 8:1
Double-street 5:1
Bet Earnings
One number The highest payout: 35 times the bet! Risky but worth it!
Two numbers Place your chip on the line that seperates your split numbers. Pays 17 times the bet.
Three numbers Place your chip on the edge of the line. Pays 11 times the bet.
Four numbers Place your chip at the intersection of your 4 numbers. Pays 8 times the bet.
Six numbers Place your chip on the edge of the rectangle, between both lines. Pays 5 times the bet.

Inside bets

Although they come with a high level of risk, Inside bets are far more exciting and profitable. The King of all bets is the straight-up bet on a single number which comes with a 35:1 payout that can earn you a nice stack of chips. The «Double-Street» is the safest bet with a choice of 6 winning numbers and a 5:1 payout, which is still pretty high!

Betting chart

Bet Payout
Red/Black 2:1
Even/Odd 2:1
Low/High 2:1
Column 3:1
Dozen 3:1
Bet Earnings
18 numbers Double your bet. Black or Red?
18 numbers Double your bet. Can you guess if it’s Even or Odd?
18 numbers Double your bet. Will you bet High or Low?
12 numbers Triple your bet. Which is the winning row?
12 numbers Triple your bet. Easy! Which dozen will you bet on?

Blaise Pascal

We owe the invention of the Roulette wheel to 17th-century French mathematician, Blaise Pascal. As a child, he enjoyed playing with numbers and inventing new board games. It was his passion for motion devices that led him to create the Roulette wheel with 36 numbers. Gambling did not really exist at the time, so the Zero pocket was never part of his invention.

Blaise Pascal wanted to invent a game where the chances of winning and losing were completely equal. It wasn’t until the 18th century that Roulette became a gambling game played by the King of France and his Court at the Palace of Versailles. After the French revolution, Roulette was introduced into casinos and became the game as we know it today.

Winning strategies

French Roulette is the best choice for strategic players because the «En prison» rule makes winning strategies more effective. Strategies such as Martingale and Paroli are some of the winning formulas for Roulette enthusiasts.