How Is French Roulette Different From American and European Roulette?

Casino Roulette Wheel Spinning

Roulette is familiar even to those who’ve never set foot in a casino. It is depicted throughout pop culture, and referenced in movies, songs, and television shows. that feature casinos. Remember when Fred Sanford, the main character of the show Sanford and Son, once quipped, “Always bet on the black?”

What many novices don’t realize is that there are a few different roulette games, including American, European, and French variations. Most of us just think of this as a solitary game but understanding the differences between the three is important if you want to give the game a try.

Wheel and Table Layouts

Different roulette versions feature a different layout of the table and the wheel itself. In European and French Roulette, there is only one zero (0) to go along with the numbers from one to 36. This is not true in American Roulette. While American Roulette contains the same 37 numbers, a double zero (00) is added to the wheel.

Because of that additional number, the table layout is slightly different as well. There is a 00 section to the American table layout, something that isn’t present on the European or French tables.

There is one other difference that I wanted to mention about the table layout. In the French Roulette game, the words on the table are always displayed in French. It doesn’t matter where the game is played or if French is even spoken in the country, the table layout remains in French regardless.

The additional number in the American Roulette is a very subtle difference. For most, this doesn’t seem like a particularly big deal, but it adjusts the odds of you winning, and not in your favor.

For ExampleIf you choose to bet on either the red or black, you have gone from a likelihood of winning 18 out of every 37 spins to one where you are likely to win 18 out of every 38 spins.

A small difference, but still one that needs to be considered.

If you’re playing a single number, it is no longer a one in 37 chance that you win. Now it is one in 38. The sad part about this is that I have found that the reduced odds of winning do not typically increase the payout should you win.

It would seem logical that if the odds are stacked against you, when you do win, you should receive more of a payout, but that is not how American Roulette works. All that this game has done is give the house a bigger edge with no penalty.

Giving You Some Dimensions

If you are at a land-based casino, you will find that the dimensions of the table itself are considerably different between American Roulette and its French counterpart. The American table is typically about 2.9 m x 1.7 m. The French table is larger, with dimensions of 3.3 m x 1.8 m.

The increase in size changes the role of the dealers as well. In American Roulette, there is one dealer who stands on the side next to the wheel while players sit on the other two sides. In French Roulette, there are two dealers, referred to as “croupiers.” Each holds a 60 cm croupier’s rake that is used to pull in the chips at the end of each round.

In addition, you’ll see an elevated chair behind the wheel that looks over the table. In this seat is the table umpire. His or her job is to ensure that the game is being played fairly and to handle any form of dispute. Players sit on three sides of the table.

Note:In some instances, you will find that French Roulette tables are twice the size I mentioned above.

In this case, the wheel is in the center and there are betting squares on each side of the wheel. This is usually found in casinos where large numbers of people will gather to play roulette.

The Look of the Wheel

Besides the additional number on the American Roulette wheel, the pattern in which the numbers are laid out differs from that of both the European and French Roulette wheel. The American wheel displays numbers as follows:


The European and French wheels display differently. Starting from zero, the numbers go as follows:


There is something that both wheel styles have in common, though. In any five groupings of numbers on the wheel, excluding where the 0 (or 00 on the American wheel) appears, there is a distribution where there will be either three odd numbers and two even ones or three even numbers and two odd ones. For example, on the American Roulette wheel, it starts with 28, 9, 26, 30, 11. As you see here, there are three even numbers and two odd numbers.

The same pattern is true on the European wheel as well. The major difference is that it begins with three odd numbers out of the first five numbers on the wheel.

Differences in Rules

There are a few differences in rules between the different roulette versions as well. One major difference I want you to be aware of what happens when the ball falls on zero. In the American Roulette rules, when zero comes up all outside bets are considered losers for the players.

This means that no matter if you bet on odd, even, red, black, high, or low, you lost. This is not necessarily true in French Roulette.

In French Roulette, and in European Roulette as well, all outside bets are not completely lost should zero come up.

Instead, one of two rules is applied. The first of these is called “En Prison,” which means “in jail.” In this instance, the bets are not lost, and they stay on the table for the next spin. If zero comes up a second straight time, then you lose. However, if any other number appears, then winning or losing depends upon whatever number, color, or other choice you bet on.

The second option is called “La Partage.” In this rule, you lose half of what you bet. The remainder is returned to you for you to use on another wager or to keep if you choose.

Obviously, both rule options benefit the player.

Using an Online Casino

If you prefer to play casino games online, different variations on roulette may appear in your favorite online casino. There are great options for websites offering casino-style games, many equipped with live dealers.

Whether you are playing American, French, or European Roulette online, the tables will display much in the same way that they would if you were playing at an in-person casino. This makes it easier for players to be able to follow along with the game and enjoy it fully. The experience is very much like being there at the casino, simply without the noise and large crowds.

As with any online casino, I encourage you to take the time to do the proper amount of research on the site itself.

Important:Make sure that you can trust their connection. Ensure that payment platforms used are secured and that your accounts cannot be hacked.

Also, look for bonuses and programs that offer you additional ways to win. Sometimes, online casinos may offer bonuses that match the amount of funds that you deposit in your account initially. They may also offer free spins or free plays, or other types of bonuses. If you’re looking for best online casinos, you’ll find that there are some great options for you that make it worthwhile for you to play on their site.

Roulette is a lot of fun to play both online and in-person. Now that you know the rules and differences between these three variations, you should be able to enjoy yourself more fully.

Petko Stoyanov
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About Petko Stoyanov
My name is Petko Stoyanov, and I've been a gambling writer for more than ten years. I guess that was the natural path for me since I've loved soccer and card games for as long as I can remember! I have a long and fairly successful history with English Premier League betting and online poker, but I follow many other sports. I watch all big European soccer leagues, basketball, football, and tennis regularly, and I keep an eye on snooker, volleyball, and major UFC events.