A game with countless variations, European and French roulette might just be the two most popular in the world. They only perceptible difference between the two is the style of table: the rules, payouts and strategies are completely identical.
Fundamentally, roulette is a game of chance where intelligent strategy can be used to boost your odds of winning, without quite guaranteeing you victory. Both variations are available to play at virtually all online casinos, and if you’ve never played before, you probably don’t realise just how fun roulette can be.
Since there are so many popular variations of roulette, it can be tricky to keep track of what they all mean. People start looking for the “normal” or “regular” version – sadly, that game doesn’t really exist!
Roulette was developed in France over a period of centuries, eventually forming what’s known as French roulette; in time, this migrated across the pond to the USA, hence American Roulette was born. To the casual observer watching the games played on TV, they look exactly the same: big wheel, green betting table, lots of shouting.
The roulette wheel has 37 numbered slots in non-numerical order, 0-36. This is known as Single Zero Roulette. American roulette has two zeroes. The zero is green, while the other numbers alternate between red and black. You’ve probably heard of people “putting it all on black”, right?
The objective is to predict where the ball is going to land. You can place bets on the exact number, the colour, groups of numbers and potentially a few other things besides. Naturally, the more specific your bet, the higher your return. If you bet on a single number, you’ll get odds of 35:1; however, betting on black vs red gets you 1:1.
That’s all there is to it! If you win, you get a payout. If you lose, your money is taken by the casino. You can place as many simultaneous bets as you like per spin.
There’s a rule in roulette called La Partage. This rule is most common in French roulette, however it can be played in the European game too. Basically when a player bets on red vs black (the statistically safest bet in the game), and the ball lands on the zero, they normally lose their bet. La Partage, however, allows them to recoup half of their bet back, i.e. it lowers the house edge.
Otherwise, the roulette wheels of European and French are stylistically quite different, but their contents, build and functionality are entirely the same.
The exact setup and interface will vary from brand to brand, but playing roulette online is usually pretty simple. Somewhere on your screen you’ll have:
In order to place a bet, you should just have to click on the betting table. For example, if you want to bet on the number 2, click that part of the table. Each click will add a chip. Once you’ve placed all your bets, simply hit the “spin” button and the dealer will release the ball.
Once the ball stops, the dealer will announce the result and either pay you your winnings or sweep your cash from the table. You can usually then “re-bet” the same amount, on the same numbers, or start over. It’s pretty simple, and there will be a help button to explain everything to you if you get stuck.
In European roulette, the house edge is 2.7%. This means that on average, for every $100 spent at the table, playing perfectly, your return will be $97.3. Check out Roulette Geeks for a comprehensive breakdown on the odds of winning certain bets.
Naturally, betting on either odd vs even or red vs black offers the safest bet. Because there’s only a single zero, your odds of winning would be 48.65%. Conversely, betting on a single number gives you odds of 2.7%, or a 35/1 payout.
Now, it’s important to understand that roulette can be a vastly complex game in terms of strategy. There’s heaps of mathematical analysis and countless different approaches to take, so we can’t cover them all here.
If you don’t yet have any understanding of strategy, bear the following in mind:
For more casual players, consider the following:
You can’t practise roulette without ever actually playing the game; at the same time, playing without experience is likely to be a costly venture. Luckily, the vast majority of online casinos which offer European or French roulette will let you play the game for free using demo funds.
The mechanics of the game will be identical to the real-money version, but you’ll get to wager and practise your strategies without losing a penny. Once you’re feeling more comfortable and are ready to put your training to the test, there’s always a “Play for Real” button nearby. Register, go back to the game and start winning real cash!
There’s a reason why European and French roulette are two of the best-loved casino games ever created. They’re great fun, hugely dynamic and unpredictable – however, with a polished strategy, you can significantly increase your odds of winning. If you’ve followed our explanations, then once you’ve learned a bit of strategy using the free roulette games it’ll be time to put your money where your mouth is.
Good luck – we hope you make a killing!