Introducing French Roulette

It's a favorite of players worldwide, even those who have never stepped foot in France. The French roulette table layout is the only one so many want to see when visiting a casino (online or on land). The reason? An extremely low house edge of just 1.35%, thanks to a couple of quirky rule changes. If you're looking for the best places to play French roulette online, and more information about how to play, you’re in the right place!

How to Play French Roulette

Step 1

Get familiar with names of French roulette bets

As well as call bet names like orphelins and voisins du zero, French roulette uses different terminology to refer to even/odd (pair/impair) and 1 to18/19 to 36 (manque/passe). The 1.35% house edge makes it worth spending some time getting used to these new names!

Step 2

Place your bets

From outside bets like red/black or pair/impair, to riskier bets on individual numbers, there are plenty of different ways to score a French roulette payout. The key is to work out the size of bets your bankroll can handle, then try to gradually win yourself some serious cash. You place bets by clicking chips and placing them on the table.

Roulette Table
Step 3

Don’t spin until you’re ready

In a real venue, and in live dealer casinos, you’re at the mercy of the croupier for getting your bets in on time. When you play French roulette online, you can take all the time you need to place your bets and hit spin. Click the Spin button when you're ready (normally this is not translated into French).

Spinning the wheel
Step 4

Plan your next move

In online roulette, French variations included, payouts and losses are handled automatically so this isn’t something you need to do manually. You might, however, want to take some time between bets to check on your bankroll or whether you can spot any streaks. When you're on a losing streak though, stop playing.

Roulette Result

Special Rules of French Roulette

The biggest difference between American/European and French roulette is the latter’s inclusion of en prison or la partage rules. These both change the way outside bets are resolved when a zero comes in.

En Prison translates as 'in jail'. This rule means your outside bet gets kept on the table (jailed, if you will) for an extra spin when zero lands. If zero comes in again the bet is lost. Otherwise, it wins or loses as normal.

La Partage translates as 'the share'. You lose half your outside bet if a zero appears. The rest of it is returned to you so you can place another bet on the next spin.

Whichever rule is used, the player enjoys the same mathematical advantage over the odds of European roulette.

French Roulette Call Bets

You won't need to worry about these online usually, but might hear these terms when playing live dealer French roulette or in a casino.

french roulette call bets
  • Voisins du Zero translates as 'neighbors of zero'. It refers to the 17 numbers on the wheel from 22 round to 25. The zero is in the middle of this stretch, so all numbers around this pocket are the 'neighbors'.
  • Tiers du Cylindre translates as 'thirds of the wheel'. This call bet refers to a specific third at the bottom of the wheel. The numbers in this betting group go from 33 to 27.
  • Orphelins translates as 'orphans'. These are two small segments of the wheel taking in eight numbers. It's the numbers left over from Voisins du Zero and Tiers du Cylindre groups. The numbers covered are 17, 34 and 6 on one side, and on the other it's 9, 31, 14, 20 and 1.

What's Unique About French Roulette Odds and Payout?

As French roulette has so much in common with the European version of the game, it makes sense that player odds (and payouts) are much the same. This is of course until a zero gets involved and en prison or la partage rules come into play.

Bet Type Player Odds Payout
Straight (single number)
Player Odds 2.7%
Payout 35 to 1
Split (two numbers)
Player Odds 5.4%
Payout 17 to 1
Street (three numbers)
Player Odds 8.1%
Payout 11 to 1
Corner (four numbers)
Player Odds 10.8%
Payout 8 to 1
Player Odds 32.4%
Payout 2 to 1
Player Odds 32.4%
Payout 2 to 1
Player Odds 48.6%
Payout 1 to 1
Player Odds 48.6%
Payout 1 to 1
Player Odds 48.6%
Payout 1 to 1

Free Roulette Reference Chart – Download Yours!

While the rules of American are similar to French roulette, you'll see on our chart that the table layout is quite different. You can observe further differences when playing online, such as the use of impair/pair instead of odd/even, and manque/passe for 1 to 18/19 to 36. Our chart doesn’t directly compare French roulette vs American roulette, but covers all you need to know.

Get Your FREE GUIDE to Online Roulette Reference Chart! download now

Comparing Roulette Variants (at a Glance)

Roulette game feature French American European Mini 3D
French 37
American 38
European 37
Mini 13
3D 37
Double 0
Highest payout
French 35/1
American 35/1
European 35/1
Mini 35/1
3D 35/1
Lowest payout
French 1/1
American 1/1
European 1/1
Mini 1/1
3D 1/1
La partage
European Sometimes
En prison
European Sometimes
Free play
Live dealer
House edge
French 1.35%
American 5.26%
European 2.7%
Mini 3.85%
3D 2.7%

Other Roulette Variants You Can Play

Playing French Roulette on Mobile

With a slightly more compact table layout than its American and European cousins, French roulette (free or for real money) is great on mobile devices. You can of course play on iPhone/iPad and Android devices. You'll find it on a wide selection of dedicated apps for smartphones and tablets, or in-browser mobile casino sites.

The difference between the two access methods is now very minimal in 2022. It’s far more important to choose somewhere safe and secure, than to worry about whether you choose an app or a mobile site.

Many mobile casinos offer free-play practice modes, which you should take advantage of. It's helpful to get used to the way the game performs on your device of choice. Plenty of software developers have created mobile-friendly games for French roulette payouts on the go, but you might find gameplay fiddly at first.

Be aware that the graphics of mobile games may not measure up to playing French roulette online on desktop. We don’t think you’ll be disappointed, as long as you have realistic expectations based on your device.

Playing French Roulette on Mobile

French Roulette – Top Strategy Tips

Learn special rules before you play

This may seem like a no-brainer, but the added quirks of French roulette (plus using French language at the table) can be tricky. Even if you’ve played American or European roulette before, you need to get familiar.

La partage or en prison?

The mathematical benefits of these rules may be, statistically, the same but it’s likely you’ll have a preference one way or the other. Once you’ve chosen, find French roulette online software that offers your rule of choice.

Watch out for streaks…

…but don’t get obsessed with them! Each spin of a roulette wheel is independent, and the result of the last spin has absolutely no bearing on the next. That doesn’t, however, stop lots of players betting with or against streaks.

Don’t let well-known strategies bankrupt you

Strategies like the Martingale system are interesting in theory, even if they can’t dictate success every time you play. However, they can be very costly if you get swept up in them then have a run of bad luck. Verdict

If American is the jack and European is the queen, then French is the undisputed king of the roulette world. French roulette odds are better for players than any other variation available. The way I see it, there’s no reason to play the others if you’re trying to protect your bankroll. Whenever I set foot in a casino, wherever it might be, I always look for French roulette!

J.M. Gola
Game Expert, Roulette

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