Roulette Rules Options

When you walk up to a casino game it is very important that you scan the table and any posted signs to get an idea of what rules are in play. This is true for slot machines and video poker, where studying the payout schedule can lead you to titles that offer you better odds, and for table games like blackjack and roulette, where rule variations affect the odds of the game a great deal.

Roulette wheels come in two distinct varieties: wheels with one green zero space and wheels with two green zero spaces. In general, you’ll find more single zero wheels in Europe and Asia and more double zero wheels in America. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, and many casinos in America (especially in Atlantic City) offer a single zero roulette wheel. The same goes for Europe, where you can find the occasional American-style double zero wheel.

The other rule option in roulette is called either ‘en prison’ or surrender, depending on where you’re playing the game. Surrender rules are most commonly found in American casinos, specifically in Atlantic City. A similar rule exists in many European games, where the rule is called ‘en prison.’

Surrender & ‘En Prison’ Rules

‘En prison’ is French for ‘in prison.’ In America, this roulette rule option is called surrender. Both rule variations are designed to allow you to keep or save part of your bet in certain game situations.

If you’re playing European roulette with ‘en prison’ rule in effect, or at an Atlantic City casino offering the surrender rule, you have a shot at keeping part of a losing bet. Under ‘en prison’ rules, if you make an even-money bet like a bet on even or odd, black or red, or high or low, and the roulette ball lands on the green zero space, your bet is not an automatic loss. Instead, your bet is placed “en prison,” remaining on the board for the next spin of the wheel. If you win your original bet the next time the wheel spins a decision, you can get that bet back, without any additional winnings. If, on the other hand, you lose your bet the second time, you lose your wager. In the rare case that the green zero space wins again, your bet remains in prison until a winning or losing spin occurs.

Understanding ‘en prison’ rules will help you pick the best possible European roulette game. That’s because the house edge on even money bets with ‘en prison’ rules in place is just 1.35%, making that bet one of the best on the casino floor in terms of odds.

So what about this surrender rule? Many Atlantic City roulette tables use the surrender rule, which treats even-money bets differently than all other bets. Under surrender rules, when you lose an even-money bet because a green 0 or 00 space win, you lose only half of your bet.

If you’ve been paying attention, you know that that this rule impacts the casino’s edge on these even-money bets. The Surrender rule reduces the house edge on even-money bets from 5.26% to 2.63%, nearly 3 percentage points. The surrender rule at Atlantic City roulette tables turns even-money bets at American style roulette wheels into bets that offer nearly the same roulette odds as wagers on single zero European style roulette wheels.

Roulette Rules Options Breakdown

Here are the two basic rules options for roulette:

1. How many zeroes does the wheel have? (Either one or two, depending on if the wheel is American or European-style.

2. Can you retain some of your bet in certain gaming situations? (You can if you play at a table with ‘en prison’ or surrender rules.)

These two rules options mean that four types of roulette games exist:

1. A game played on a wheel with two zeroes where you can’t retain any of your bet under any circumstances. This is standard American-style roulette, giving the house a 5.26% edge.

2. A game played on a single zero wheel where you can’t retain any of your bet under any circumstances. This is European-style roulette without ‘en prison’ rules, giving the house a 2.7% edge.

3. A game played on a wheel with two zeroes where you can retain some of your bet under the right conditions. This is American-style roulette with the surrender rule in place, usually only found in Atlantic City. The house edge on even-money bets is 2.63% and 5.26% on all other bets.

4. A game played on a wheel with one zero where you can retain some of your bet under the right playing conditions. This is European-style roulette with ‘en prison’ rules in effect. This game of roulette offers the best possible odds, giving the house a 1.35% edge on even money bets and a 2.7% edge on all other bets.