Roulette 101: American vs. French

Fun fact: Roulette is derived from a French word that means ‘little wheel’. This game remains to be one of the most popular casino games around the world. Both high rollers and casual players love to bet on roulette because of its easy mechanics.

This game’s origins has many versions. The most popular version revolves around the French mathematician Blaise Pascal. In the 17th century, roulette was said to be invented when Pascal tried to create a perpetual motion machine.

The wheel travelled to America in the early 19th century. Players were unsatisfied by the single zero wheels of the French version so they made their own—the double zero wheel.

At present, two of the most popular roulette versions are American and French. They have notable differences when it comes to wheels, tables, and rules.

American vs. French Roulette: Wheels

When discussing American vs. French roulette, the difference between their wheels always comes up. American and European are the only types of roulette wheels. French roulette uses the European wheel. 

The wheel layout between the two is different. Their numbers do not have the same order placement because the American wheel has 38 slots while the French wheel has 37 slots.

This difference between American and French roulette lies in the number of green zeroes. The French wheel has one zero—the single zero. Meanwhile, the American wheel has 2 green zeroes. They are the single and double zero.

American vs. French Roulette: Tables

There is a slight difference between American and French roulette tables. Generally, American tables have a faster game pace than French tables. Like the wheels, the American table has 2 green zeroes while the French table has one. 

You can see the tables’ different dimensions in land-based casinos. French tables are usually longer and larger. There are double-length French tables as well offered by some casinos.

American vs. French roulette also involves different positions between players and dealers. In French tables, two dealers sit around the wheel while players sit on the other side of the table. In American tables, the dealer is standing next to the wheel. Players sit opposite the dealer.

All outside bets are on the same side of the table in American roulette. On the other hand, French tables split the outside bets between two sides of the table.

American vs. French Roulette: Talk about the Rules

The difference between American vs. French roulette is emphasised by their rules. In American roulette, all outside bets are completely lost if the ball lands on the green zero. The opposite happens in French roulette. You do not completely lose your bets, instead, one of its two rules applies. These rules are En Prison and La Partage.

’ En Prison’ literally means ‘in jail’. This rule holds your bet if a green zero appears. Your bet is held until the wheel respins. You lose your bet if the green zero comes for the second consecutive time.

‘La Partage’ means ‘splitting’. This rule means you lose half of your bet if the green zero appears. The other half is returned and you can use it in the next round.

American vs. French Roulette: House Edge

The house edge determines the casino’s profit from the players’ wagers. Lower house edges mean better advantages for players. In American vs. French roulette, their house edges largely differ.

Better winning odds are guaranteed by French roulette. It only has a 2.7% house edge. Meanwhile, American roulette has a 5.26% house edge. This percentage is a result of having two green zeroes in the wheel’s layout.

American vs. French Roulette: What to Play First?

If you are a new player, knowing the difference between American and French roulette helps in choosing what to play first. Long-time players advise new and casual players to try French roulette first because it offers greater winning odds.

You can start having fun by playing roulette in Slots.io. You can choose from a wide range of games including Classic Roulette and Golden Chip Roulette. In the end, everything comes down to your lucky charms.