Besides being the oldest and classiest form of the game, traditional French roulette is also better value for money than any other version. Here’s our complete guide to la roue de diable, including everything you need to know about the bets, the layout, and why the house edge is lower than standard Australian roulette games.
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French layout and standard bets
Most modern-style real money roulette games use a single-sided layout where all the outside bets are grouped on one side of the table. This is for practical purposes, as it allows punters at land-based casinos to access all types of wagers without having to move from one side to another.
However, the standard European and American betting layouts are nowhere near as attractive as the original French setup. Instead of being grouped in one big cluster, the outside bets are arranged symmetrically on either side of the layout. This is much more pleasing to the eye (in our humble opinion), and has no practical repercussions when playing online casino roulette.
Otherwise, the French layout offers all the wagering options you normally find in European roulette. Black or red, odd or even, and high or low each pay 1 to 1 odds, while dozens and columns pay 2 to 1. Inside wagers on one or more individual numbers offer greater returns, ranging from 5 to 1 (six line) up to 35 to 1 (straight up).
Rouge – all the red numbers
Noir – all the black numbers
Pair – all the even numbers
Impair – all the odd numbers
Manque – all the low numbers (1 to 18)
Passe – all the high numbers (19 to 36)
Premier Douzaine (12P) – the first dozen numbers (1 to 12)
Moyenne Douzaine (12M) – the middle dozen numbers (13 to 24)
Derniere Douzaine (12D) – the last dozen numbers (25 to 36)
Columns – all 12 numbers in a single vertical column
Straight up – any single number
Split – two adjacent numbers on the layout
Street – three consecutive numbers in the same row
Corner – four adjacent numbers on the layout
Six line – six consecutive numbers in two adjacent rows
Trio – either Zero, Un and Deux, or Zero, Deux and Trois
Top line – Zero, Un, Deux and Trois
Numbers on the French roulette wheel
Like European roulette, the French version features a horizontal wheel containing 37 numbered pockets:
0 – Zero
1 – Un
2 – Deux
3 – Trois
4 – Quatre
5 – Cinq
6 – Six
7 – Sept
8 – Huit
9 – Neuf
10 – Dix
11 – Onze
12 – Douze
13 – Treize
14 – Quatorze
15 – Quinze
16 – Seize
17 – Dix-sept
18 – Dix-huit
19 – Dix-neuf
20 – Vingt
21 – Vingt et un
22 – Vingt-deux
23 – Vingt-trois
24 – Vingt-quatre
25 – Vingt-cinq
26 – Vingt-six
27 – Vingt-sept
28 – Vingt-huit
29 – Vingt-neuf
30 – Trente
31 – Trente et un
32 – Trente-deux
33 – Trente-trois
34 – Trente-quatre
35 – Trente-cinq
36 – Trente-six
The 36 pockets from Un to Trente-six are split evenly into red numbers and black numbers, so there are 18 of each. The Zero is usually green and is said to ‘belong to the house’.
La partage and en prison rules
What separates the best French roulette games from other variants are the old-fashioned ‘imprisonment’ rules. These come into play for even money wagers (red/black, odd/even, high/low) when the ball lands on Zero. In most roulette games, the player would lose their bet straight away; but with imprisonment, you can recover all or part of your stake. There are two versions:
En prison: If the ball lands on Zero, you can leave your stake ‘in prison’ for the next spin. If you win that spin, you get your initial bet back; if you lose, you forfeit the wager.
La partage: If the ball lands on Zero, the croupier will divide your initial bet in two and return half your stake.
House edge and payouts
This is where French roulette outshines its rivals. When you play even-money wagers with either la partage or en prison available, the house edge is only 1.35 per cent. That’s half the casino advantage on European roulette (2.70 per cent), and nearly four per cent less than double-zero US roulette (5.26 per cent).
|Bet type||Payout||House edge|
|Straight up||35 to 1||2.70%|
|Split||17 to 1||2.70%|
|Street (or trio)||11 to 1||2.70%|
|Corner (or top line)||8 to 1||2.70%|
|Six line||5 to 1||2.70%|
|Dozens and columns||2 to 1||2.70%|
|Rouge/noir||1 to 1||1.35%|
|Pair/impair||1 to 1||1.35%|
|Manque/passe||1 to 1||1.35%|
Rather than picking numbers according to colour, arithmetical range, or where they reside on the layout, you can instead choose to wager on certain sections of the wheel. These are known as call bets, or French bets, and can be made via the racetrack feature (or sometimes a pop-up menu) when playing real money roulette online.
Voisins du zero (neighbours of zero)
The 17 adjacent numbers from 22 through to 25, going clockwise (22, 18, 29, 7, 28, 12, 35, 3, 26, 0, 32, 15, 19, 4, 21, 2, 25). The bet requires a minimum of nine chips, arranged like so:
– Two chips on a 0-2-3 trio
– One chip on the 4-7 split
– One chip on the 12-15 split
– One chip on the 18-21 split
– One chip on the 19-22 split
– One chip on the 32-35 split
– Two chips on the 25-26-28-29 corner
Tiers du cylindre (thirds of the wheel)
The 12 adjacent numbers from 27 through to 33, going clockwise (27, 13, 36, 11, 30, 8, 23, 10, 5, 24, 16, 33). It requires a minimum of six chips, arranged into six different splits:
– One chip on the 5-8 split
– One chip on the 10-11 split
– One chip on the 13-16 split
– One chip on the 23-24 split
– One chip on the 27-30 split
– One chip on the 33-36 split
There is an extended variant known as ‘tiers 5/8/10/11’, which includes straight-up bets on Cinq, Huit, Dix and Onze.
Orphelins (the orphans)
The eight numbers which fall outside the voisins du zero and tiers du cylindre bets (17, 34, 6, 1, 20, 14, 31, 9). It requires a minimum of five chips, arranged like so:
– One chip on 1 straight up
– One chip on the 6-9 split
– One chip on the 14-7 split
– One chip on the 17-20 split
– One chip on the 31-34 split
Jeu zero (zero game)
Zero and the six numbers on either side from 12 through to 15, going clockwise (12, 35, 3, 26, 0, 32, 15). It requires a minimum of four chips, arranged like so:
– One chip on 26 straight up
– One chip on the 0-3 split
– One chip on the 12-15 split
– One chip on the 32-25 split
A series of five straight-up bets on any single number plus the two either side of it on the wheel. For example: voisins du Quatre includes straight bets on 15, 19, 4, 21 and 2.
A series of straight-up bets on every number which ends with a certain numeral. For example: finales du Trois features straight bets on 3, 13, 23 and 33.
Where to play the best French roulette games
Outside of continental Europe, traditional French roulette tables are extremely scarce. It’s hard enough to find a good single-zero layout these days in the brick-and-mortar casinos of Australia, let alone one which offers la partage rules.
For the best roulette odds, you have to play online at one of our trusted real money casino sites. We especially recommend Royal Vegas, which offers Microgaming French Roulette – one of the only online roulette games with a 1.35 per cent house edge on even money bets.