Understanding the En Prison Rule

Everyone who is familiar with roulette knows that there a few variation of the game, and more specifically knows the difference between the American and European versions. The basic idea of roulette is for players to make predictions on which numbered pocket the white ball will land up in, with various betting options that balance out risk, giving players a reasonable chance of making at least some money back, if failing to make a more accurate prediction.

The zero pocket, however, is not included in any of the broader betting options, and requires a player to specifically bet on it in order to receive any payouts. Since this is very unlikely, the zero pocket is considered the house edge in roulette, or statistical chance by which the house will always make some profit. This is, of course, necessary, since a casino is not in the business of giving away money. In the American version of the popular game, an extra zero pocket is added, raising the house edge from around two and half percent, up to nearly five percent. It may not seem like a big difference, but this percentage change is a world of difference in the gambling world.

En Prison Rule

An additional rule in European roulette is known is the en prison rule, which offers players an additional helping hand. If the zero pocket is landed, and the player has their money on the evens bet, the player has the decision to lose half the bet and leave the rest where it stands, or lose the bet completely. This en prison rule provides a fair chance for some players to make a profit out of a zero pocket.

In the American version of roulette the en prison rule does not exist, and the ball landing in either zero pocket will results in all bets instantly losing, except for any who have specifically bet on that particular zero pocket. It goes without saying the American version of roulette is simply less fair to the player, and far more favourable to the house. For this reason many will, rightly so, refuse to play American roulette. Thankfully few countries outside of the United States even recognise the American version.

Online Roulette Options

In modern times, with online gambling exploding into popularity the way it is, the majority of online casinos will use the European version of roulette as standard. Curiously, however, some online casinos offer the American and European versions side by side, perhaps hoping that those who are less informed will choose to play the less favourable version.

There are other variations of roulette online, which include new betting options have been added in order to offer players a greater level of freedom in betting. The standard one zero pocket is always used, however, leaving the house edge at two and half percent. If new to roulette, always keep in mind that the greatest odds of winning are achieved by placing multiple bets over a variety of betting options, which allows at least some money to be won, even if a big payout is not achieved. This is known as spread betting, and allows players to find a balance between outright losses and big wins.