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Casino Play: US, France and UK: Card Game Rules for Frequent Travellers

February 3, 2015 8:37 am    |    by Jonny Blair

If you like to travel on a regular basis and enjoy taking in an evening at a casino wherever you are, then you need to know that they don’t all play by the same rules.

Casino Tips for travellers

Casino Tips for travellers


There are distinct differences in casino card game rules as well as the odds that you may be offered. This is highlighted when you compare the contrast in how casinos are set up in the U.S and France, compared to the UK.

Online virtual gaming, where players can participate in live roulette for example, can transcend these barriers to a certain extent. Yet it is still definitely worth knowing what you are facing when you step into a casino in one of the countries mentioned.

Plus ça change

The French saying translates to the more it changes, the more it’s the same thing and you could apply that expression to the way roulette is played around the world.

There are three basic variations on the game of roulette and they are known as British, American and French. The changes to the rules are very subtle in general terms and predicting where the small white ball is going to come to rest, is still the object of the game, whichever version you are playing.

You will see a similar layout for placing your bets with a cloth displaying numbers from 0-36 and sections where you can place your chips to bet on whether the winning colour will be red or black and if the number will be odd or even.

American roulette

A lot of players get a bit confused when they walk into a British casino and see that he game being played is described as American Roulette.

The reason it is designated as American is in fact because casinos are using different coloured chips for each player at the table so it can distinguish individual’s bets more easily. So you could very well be playing American Roulette in a British casino but not actually playing the American version of the game.

If you are confused by that, it is understandable, but the fundamental difference between American roulette and the British and French versions is the fact that the American version uses double zero whereas the French and English versions only have the one.

This makes a difference to the edge or advantage that the house has, or their profit margin if you prefer to call it that.

Having 38 numbers in play instead of 37 increases the house edge from 2.7% to 5.26%, so if you see two zeros on the cloth layout, you are definitely playing American roulette.


It is important to know the different tipping etiquette in operation depending on whether you are in the U.s, France or the UK.

Not only do American players have to contend with the 00 edge working against them, they also expect winning players to tip the croupier, which can spoil the party mood a bit if you are not used to giving up some of your winnings for the pleasure of being served by the croupier.

The British casino’s used to have a no-tipping policy written into law, but a change to the 2005 Gaming Act made it possible for tipping to be allowed, but it is still not part of the culture on these shores as it is in other parts of Europe or the U.S.

If you are playing roulette in France, tipping is considered essential and is part of the etiquette observed by all players. You will find that playing roulette in France is more of show-piece occasion than a fast-paced game that you might experience elsewhere and as all the chips on the table are the same, the croupier earns his tip by remembering who owns each bet.


It is a reversal of roles when it comes to the popularity of blackjack in the U.S compared to the U.K.

Whereas the UK has embraced roulette much more than our American friends, blackjack is a much bigger deal in the States than it is in most parts of Europe, including the UK.

An interesting variance to point out if you are playing blackjack in the U.S, is that the dealer gets a face down card, which is known as the hole card, in addition to his upcard. This allows the dealer to check to see if he can get a blackjack before any doubling or splitting is done.

If he does, then all bets lose except for any player with blackjack at that point. This means that no one can make a mistake by doubling or splitting when they should not. In the UK, blackjack players can and do make these mistakes.

Another noticeable variation is the number of decks of cards that are used to make up the pack. Six decks are commonly used but you can see as many as eight in operation, but even just four decks is not unheard of in the UK.

Rules relating to the number of decks being used will vary between states but in the UK you are likely to find that six is the default number in most casinos.

Knowing these subtle changes to rules depending on where you are in the world, will help to avoid some awkward moments, especially if you leave a table after a win and are not aware of the tipping etiquette.

Noah Davey has had a love of all things cards for some time now. An avid blogger, he enjoys helping other players by posting online. You can read his helpful posts on many of the web’s top blogs and sites.

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