Roulette is both one of the oldest and most popular casino table games and you are guaranteed to find a roulette table in whichever casino you visit, both online and offline. However, you might find European, French or American roulette tables, or all three, at online casinos and there are some subtle differences between the games that you should be aware of.
The most common type of roulette table, and the one we can probably refer to as simply ‘roulette’, at least on this side of the pond is European roulette. This wheel has 37 pockets in total, split between red, black and green colours.
American roulette wheels on the other hand, whilst also split between red, black and green pockets, have a total of 38 with the number running from 00 to 36, adding an extra edge to the house. This means that faced with the choice between a European roulette table and an American roulette table it probably makes more sense to play the European table as your odds of winning are ever so slightly better.
French roulette wheels have the same 37 pockets as the standard European table but does not have the colour differentiation and all the pockets are red. There are also some other distinctions that players should familiarise themselves with before playing on a French roulette table, such as the La Partage rule.
In La Partage play if the ball lands on the zero all even-money bets are automatically divided in two, with half of the wager returned to the player. This reduces the house edge on even-money bets to just 1.35 percent, which is why French roulette is popular with many fans of the game.
Another more complicated twist to French roulette is the En Prison rule. In ‘the prison’, when a zero comes up on the spin the dealer freezes all even-bet wagers by placing a marker on them. The player then has another chance for the wager to come up on the subsequent spin, though if it does only the original wager is returned. Practically speaking this means that with the first spin the player loses half the wager, rather than the whole of it and has the chance to come out even on the second spin when in standard roulette the wager would already have been lost. En Prison gives the player the same narrowing of the house edge as would be the case in La Partage but many players prefer La Partage due to its simplicity.