French roulette is a variation of roulette similar to European roulette in wheel layout, with 37 coloured pockets of numbers 0 to 36 – lacking the double-zero which makes American roulette unfavourable in house edge for online and offline gamblers.
The la partage and en prison rules are unique to French roulette games, and are far more common online than they are offline at land-based casinos. This article will detail exactly what the rules entail and how they impact the house edge.
What are the la partage and en prison rules?
The la partage and en prison rules are only applicable to what are known as roulette even money wagers – that is, red/black, even/odd and high/low outside bets which payout at 1:1. The rules are very rarely used in brick and mortar casinos outside of Monte Carlo, but are available in almost all online French roulette variants.
When playing European or American roulette, the latter of which should be avoided due to the extra zero slot (00) and an increase in house edge from 2.7 per cent to 5.26 per cent, if the ball lands on a zero pocket, all wagers which do not include 0 or 00 are lost, and that includes all even money wagers. However, with the la partage and en prison rules in place, there is some respite for the player who makes an even-money bet when the ball comes to a stop on a zero.
A player can choose to reclaim half his of her bet if the ball lands on zero and forfeit the other half – this is also known as the ‘half back’ rule, and reduces the house edge of a single-zero French game from 2.7 per cent down to 1.35 per cent.
The player can otherwise choose to ‘imprison’ the even-money wager if the ball lands on zero, thus leaving the bet as is to play the very next spin. If the ‘imprisoned’ wager wins on the very next spin, the player recovers his or her stale, without adding any additional winnings (the bet has paid for itself). If the ‘imprisoned’ bet loses the next spin, the chips are taken by the house. However, if zero is spun again on the subsequent spin, different casinos will impose different rules – the bet may be considered a win, a loss, or set up with the la partage or en prison rules again.
The en prison rule also halves the house edge from 2.7 per cent to 1.35 per cent. Both rules are very favourable for the player as even-money wagers already hold more than a 48% chance of winning, and in the case of zero being spun, the player gets another bite of the cherry.
Why you should always play French roulette
La partage and en prison benefit the player dramatically; if the lowered house edge isn’t enough, just the fact you get an extra chance or half your wager back from what is automatically a mistake in any other form of roulette is just too good to pass up.
While not common at live casinos, French roulette is abundant on the Web. Many of our recommended online casinos offer the variation, so take advantage of the flexibility of playing on your computer as well as the unique French rules to get the best possible house-edge for your roulette bets.