Of the many French casino table games that have found popularity over time, roulette is one that came to the fore in the 18th century. Wealthy aristocrats and landed gentry watched intently as a wheel with numbered pockets spun in one direction while a small ball rolled in the opposite direction around the wheel’s outer edge.
Excited players would place their bets where they thought the ball would land, with each bet corresponding to a specific number or group of numbers. As the wheel slowed down, the ball would eventually come to a stop in one of the numbered pockets. The winning bets were paid out based on the odds of each type of bet and payout structure of the specific roulette game being played.
This was – and remains – the basic game of roulette.
Call bets (also known as “French bets”) are complicated bets called out (hence the name) by generally more experienced players with an impressive roulette vocabulary and deep pockets.
Here is a quick guide to what call bets are, how they’re placed, why they can be some of the best roulette bets to make, as well as a few strategies to get you going at the tables like a pro.
To understand how call bets work, we first need to familiarize ourselves with the layout of the table as well as a few basics on how to bet on roulette.
Where the French and European versions have 37 pockets on the wheel (1-36 as well as a 0), Americans gave it their own spin – so to speak – and added a 38th pocket, “00,” to give the casino a slightly higher edge.
Roulette betting for the average player usually follows a standard roulette betting strategy on what they call outside bets (red or black, odd or even and high or low numbers) or inside bets where players can select a specific number or group of numbers.
Outside Bets: Outside bets tend to have lower payouts but a higher probability of winning.
Inside Bets: Inside bets are riskier, with a lower probability of winning but higher payouts.
Call bets, on the other hand, are where the pros make real money when they combine them with standard bets.
Types of Call Bets
Unlike standard bets, call bets are not placed directly on the table. Rather, they’re announced to the dealer, who then places the bet on the player’s behalf. This is largely due to the complicated nature of the bet.
Dealers generally have a specific area of the table where call bets can be placed. Each type of call bet has a specific name and set of associated numbers.
Call bets are split into fixed and variable bets and are a bit more complicated than standard bets as they cover various combinations of different bets. They do, however, offer higher payouts and more strategic betting options. Here are the different types of call bets you’ll hear seasoned players calling out to the croupier during a game.
Fixed Call Bets
Fixed call bets cover a predetermined set of numbers or sections of the wheel. Here are the most popular fixed-call bets and how they work.
Voisins Du Zéro
Les Voisins du Zéro (which translates to “Neighbours of Zero”) is a popular call bet in roulette that includes 17 numbers located between 22 and 25 (inclusive) on the wheel. The numbers in this bet are 22, 18, 29, 7, 28, 12, 35, 3, 26, 0, 32, 15, 19, 4, 21, 2 and 25. It’s worth noting that this type of bet is only available in European roulette since the sequence of numbers surrounding zero is different in American roulette.
To place a Neighbours of Zero bet, nine chips are required and are placed on various splits. Five chips are placed on the splits of 4-7, 12-15, 18-21, 19-22 and 32-35. Two chips are placed as a split bet at the intersection of numbers 0, 2 and 3. The remaining two chips are placed as a corner bet, covering numbers 25, 26, 28 and 29.
When playing online roulette, players can easily select this type of bet with a single click on the area labeled Voisins du Zéro.
Payout: Payouts are determined by the winning number. A split number bet pays out 17 to 1, a corner bet pays out 8 to 1 and a combination of three numbers pays out 11 to 1.
Fun fact, Jeu Zéro (or “Zero Game”) didn’t actually come from France. It was a German innovation called Zero Spiel.
Jeu Zéro bets cover seven numbers, including the single zero and the closest surrounding numbers on the roulette wheel: 3, 12, 15, 26, 32 and 35.
While Voisin du Zéro also covers these numbers, Jeu Zéro only requires four chips. This involves placing a chip on a split bet between 0-3, another on 12-15, a third on 26 as a straight-up bet and the last chip on a 32-35 split bet.
Jeu Zéro is also known as the five-piece bet and has a variation that requires an additional Straight bet on 19.
Payout: The payout for winning Jeu Zéro bets varies. If it lands on 26, players receive a payout of 36 to 1, but if it lands on any of the remaining six numbers, the payout is 18 to 1.
Tiers Du Cylindre
A Tiers du Cylindre (translating to “Third of the Wheel) bet covers approximately one-third of the numbers on a roulette wheel, specifically 12 numbers located between 27 and 33. These numbers are 27, 13, 36, 11, 30, 8, 23, 10, 5, 24, 16 and 33. To place the wager, six chips are placed on the six splits of 5-8, 10-11, 13-16, 23-24, 27-30 and 33-36.
Payout: A winning Tiers du Cylindre bet has a payout of 17 to 1.
Orphelins (meaning “The Orphans”) cover the remaining two sections of the roulette wheel outside of Tiers and Voisins, comprising eight numbers. Among these numbers, three (17, 34 and 6) are situated to the right of the single-zero pocket, while the other five (1, 20, 14, 31 and 9) are positioned to the left of the zero.
To make this bet, players need to use five chips. Four chips are placed on the splits between 31-34, 17-20, 14-17 and 6-9 and the remaining chip is placed as a straight-up bet on 1.
Payout: A straight-up bet pays out 35 to 1. If any of the other numbers in the bet win, players will receive a payout of 17 to 1.
Variable Call Bets
Variable call bets refer primarily to numbers chosen by the player and combinations that relate to the number called. Here are the most common variable called bets.
Many players avoid using the neighbor bets strategy due to its increased complexity; however, when used as part of a broader strategy, it can be very lucrative. This bet is usually available in roulette variants with only one 0 pocket, i.e., European or French.
With a Neighbour bet, the player selects a number, but the two adjacent numbers on the left and right of that number on the roulette wheel are also covered. In total, five numbers are covered.
For example, if the player chooses 7, the other numbers covered by the Neighbour bet would be 12, 18, 28 and 29.
Payout: Winning Neighbour bets pay out at 35 to 1.
Final bets come in two variations. The first is Finales en Plein, where players can bet on numbers ending with the same digit, such as 0, 10, 20 and 30. Players need four chips for numbers ending in numbers from 0 to 6, while three chips are used for those ending in 7, 8 or 9. This is because only three numbers on the European roulette wheel end in 7, 8 or 9.
The second variation is Finales a Cheval, where split bets are placed on numbers ending with the same digit. Five chips are used for split bets on 0-1, 1-2, 2-3, 4-5 and 5-6. Four chips are needed for split bets on 0-3, 1-4, 2-5, 3-6, 7-8 and 8-9. Pairs of 4-7, 5-8, 6-9, 7-10, 8-11 and 9-12 require three chips.
In some online roulette variations, players can place Finales Cheval Plein bets. This type of Final bet combines split and straight-up bets.
For example, a Finales Cheval Plein bet might involve a split bet on 1-2 and 11-12, a straight-up bet on 21 and 22, as well as a split bet on 31-32. Since numbers 21 and 22 are not adjacent, a combination of split and straight-up bets is required.
Payout: Finales Cheval Plein usually pays out at 17 to 1 while Finales en Plein pays out at 35 to 1.
Full Complete Bets
The Full Complete bet is an attractive option for high-stakes roulette players as it combines all inside bets into one and places them on a single number.
For example, if you choose to make a Full Complete bet on 17, you would be placing a straight bet, split bets on 17 and 14, 17 and 16, 17 and 18, a street bet covering 17, 16 and 18, four corner bets and two six-line bets.
While the potential payoff for such a bet is huge, it’s important to note that the amount staked will often hit the upper betting limit, making it less appealing for players on a tighter budget.
Payout: Usual payout on a Full Complete bet is 35 to 1.
Basic Tips for Roulette
If you’re not quite at the level of the pros, here are a few tips to keep you playing roulette responsibly.
Stick to Outside Bets
Outside bets (such as betting on red or black, odd or even or high or low numbers) have lower payouts than inside bets, but they also have a higher probability of winning. By sticking to outside bets, players can increase their chances of winning, albeit with smaller payouts.
Manage Your Bankroll
Roulette can be a fast-paced game and it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and place more bets than you can afford to lose. To avoid this, set a budget before you start playing and stick to it. You can also use betting systems like the Martingale or Paroli systems to manage your bankroll and minimize your losses.
Play European or French Roulette
Both European and French roulette have a lower house edge than American roulette, thanks to the absence of the extra “00” pocket. This means that players have a slightly higher chance of winning in European or French roulette.
Know When To Quit
Roulette can be thrilling, but knowing when to quit is crucial. If you’ve reached your budget or have been playing for a long time, take a break or call it a night. Don’t chase losses or continue playing when you’re tired or distracted.
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