The game of roulette emerged from France, and indeed, “roulette” is French for “little wheel”. So it’s no surprise that an interesting variant on classic roulette, known as “La Boule” has also become quite popular among visitors to France’s many casinos.
The concept of La Boule – which translates to “the ball” in English – is nearly identical to traditional roulette, with players placing wagers on the result of a ball’s spin around a numbered, colored wheel.
The difference between the two games lies in the wheel itself, as Boule (the name is typically shortened in this way) features a unique twist on the usual roulette wheel design. Rather than the numbers 1 through 36 arranged individually in random order, and patterned in alternating black and red shades, the Boule wheel is comprised of 36 “holes” which colored either red, black, or yellow, and linked to numbers between 1 and 9.
Offers a Different Gameplay
A more detailed explanation of the wheel’s creative design will be revealed below, but sufficed to say, the Boule casino game setup offers a fresh new twist on the age-old game of roulette. By offering a wide variety of betting options, each one holding an identical house edge (more to come in the strategy section), Boule provides a simple, pressure free gameplay experience which is perfect for casino gambling beginners.
The game is a staple offering in most French casinos, along with several major online casino platforms which attract a high level of traffic from French customers. While not as popular as classic roulette, Boule still holds a special place in the hearts of many French citizens, and visitors to the country tend to visit the tables looking for an authentic taste of the local culture.
France is Best Place to Play
If you’re planning a trip to France anytime soon and perusing the country’s historic casinos is definitely on your itinerary, this page should provide a useful guide to the world of Boule. Below you’ll find a detailed walkthrough on the game’s setup, rules, and structure, followed by a guide to locating Boule tables both in brick and mortar casinos and online, and finally, a primer on applying strategy to the game.
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Rules and How to Play
Online Casino Boule is played in the exact same fashion as regular roulette, with the only differences being the design of the wheel and the number of bets available to players. So to begin, we recommend that you head to our page on traditional roulette for a quick refresher course, before returning here to see how Boule stacks up.
Starting the Round: Placing Your Bets
The game is played with the usual roulette setup, which means a dealer will stand behind the table near the wheel, monitoring players as they place their wagers and signaling that the wheel has begun to spin.
Once the dealer says “rien ne va plus,” or “no more bets,” players are no longer able to place chips on the table. Up until that point, however, players can place chips on one or several bets.
Players can also choose to bet along with other players at the table by placing a chip on top of a previous bet.
With all bets placed, and the dealer’s warning to the table issued (typically a few moments after the ball has begun to spin), attention turns to the Boule wheel.
La Boule Wheel Breakdown
The Boule wheel is divided quite differently than the normal roulette wheel, but many of the same concepts are shared by both games.
On the outside edge of the Boule wheel, you’ll see the numbers 1 through 9 in sequential order, followed by the same arrangement of 1 through 9 a second time. This creates a total of 18 numbers on the outside of the wheel, and all of these numbers will appear to be the same color at first glance.
This isn’t the case, however, as the middle of the Boule roulette wheel is occupied by 18 colored circles, which are formed by depressions or pits on the wheel. The numbers 1, 3, 6, and 8 all touch black colored circles, while the numbers 2, 4, 7, and 9 all touch red colored circles. Both of the number 5 spaces on the outside of the wheel touch a yellow colored circle.
Much like in regular roulette, where the green “house spaces” are represented by 0 or 00, and cause all wagers to lose (except for bets on the 0 or 00), the Boule wheel also contains spaces reserved for the house. In this case, the number 5 and the yellow colored circles are the house spaces in the game.
Inside of the first group of colored circles, you’ll also notice a second group of colored circles which are slightly smaller in size. These inside colored circles match up with the second set of numbers ranging from 1 9 and 1 9. Once again, the numbers on this inside circle touch a particular color, following the same pattern as described above, with 1/3/6/8 represented by black colored circles, 2/4/7/9 represented by red colored circles, and 5 represented by yellow colored circles.
This arrangement creates a total of 36 colored circles – 16 in black, 16 in red, and 4 in yellow. The larger colored circles on the outside of the wheel follow the same arrangement as those on the inside of the wheel, but they are aligned differently to shake things up.
La Boule Wheel Visualized
While this description can sound overly complicated, taking a look at the wheel itself can help you understand how the game works:
As you can see, the ball will land in either the outside ring of larger colored circles or the inside ring of smaller colored squares. In both cases, the number directly touching the colored circle is the number landed on for that particular spin of the wheel.
Playing the Game
Now that we know how the Boule wheel looks and functions, let’s examine the various bets players can wager on when playing the game.
Of course, players can bet on the exact number that they next spin will land upon. When betting on any individual number between 1 and 9, the payouts on winning wagers stand at 7 to 1 on your money.
Aside from the basic number bets, players can also wager that the ball will land on either a red or black colored circle, an odd or even number, or the Low (1 through 4) and High (5 through 9) ranges. In each case, a winning wager on one of these alternative bets pays out at even money.
The Boule casino game simplifies the sometimes complicated system of bets used in traditional roulette, but as you might have suspected by now, the inclusion of four yellow house spaces tends to change things just a bit. With only a single 0 space on European roulette wheels, and both a 0 and 00 space on American wheels, players have either 34 or 35 spaces on the wheel which work in their favor.
When playing online casino Boule, however, only 32 of the 36 spaces on the wheel are considered to be safe, while the four yellow colored house spaces cause all wagers to lose (except when betting on the 5 itself).
La Boule Payout Table
The table below illustrates the various bets available in the Boule casino game, along with the probability of each event occurring, and the house edge incurred on each wager:
|Red||1 to 1||44.44 Percent||11.11 Percent|
|Black||1 to 1||44.44 Percent||11.11 Percent|
|Low (1-4)||1 to 1||44.44 Percent||11.11 Percent|
|High (6-9)||1 to 1||44.44 Percent||11.11 Percent|
|Odd||1 to 1||44.44 Percent||11.11 Percent|
|Even||1 to 1||44.44 Percent||11.11 Percent|
|1||7 to 1||11.11 Percent||11.11 Percent|
|2||7 to 1||11.11 Percent||11.11 Percent|
|3||7 to 1||11.11 Percent||11.11 Percent|
|4||7 to 1||11.11 Percent||11.11 Percent|
|5||7 to 1||11.11 Percent||11.11 Percent|
|6||7 to 1||11.11 Percent||11.11 Percent|
|7||7 to 1||11.11 Percent||11.11 Percent|
|8||7 to 1||11.11 Percent||11.11 Percent|
|9||7 to 1||11.11 Percent||11.11 Percent|
As you can see by reviewing the numbers above, the house edge on all Boule bets is standardized at 11.11 percent. This means that no matter what bet you make, from the veritable coin flip offered by red/black or odd/even wagers, to the longshot of hitting an individual number, you’ll always be facing a steep uphill climb in terms of the odds against you.
Best Online Casinos to Play La Boule
La Boule is a both a product of France and a much-beloved aspect of the local culture. Thus, the game hasn’t spread very far outside of the confines of its home country.
As you can see here in this guide to France’s casino industry, more than a hundred gambling halls, card rooms, slot parlors, and other establishments can be found there.
Of course, not every casino in the country offers La Boule tables, so we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of the casino properties in France which are known to run La Boule game on a consistent basis:
- Casino de Bagnoles de l’Orne
- Casino de Bourbonne les Bains
- Casino de Bourbon l’Archambault
- Casino de Calais
- Casino de Castéra Verduzan
- Casino de Cabourg
- Casino de Châtillon
- Casino de Granville
- Casino de Gréoux les Bains
- Casino de La Bourboule
- Casino de Lons le Saunier
- Casino de Luc sur Mer
- Casino de Palavas les Flots
- Casino de Pornichet
- Casino de Port la Nouvelle
- Casino de Pougues les Eaux
- Casino de Saint Brévin l’océan
- Casino de Saint Jean de Monts
- Casino de Salies du Salat
- Casino de Fécamp
- Casino d’Yport
- Casino Barrière de Besançon
- Casino Barrière de Carry le Rouet
- Casino Barrière de Deauville
- Casino Barrière de Dinard
- Casino Barrière de La Baule
- Casino Barrière de La Rochelle
- Casino Barrière de Ouistreham
- Casino Barrière de Ribeauvillé
- Casino Barrière de Sainte Maxime
- Casino Barrière de Saint Malo
- Casino Barrière de Trouville
- Casino Flamingo
- Casino Joa Les Pins
- Casino Joa de Saint Cyprien
- Casino Joa de Santenay
- Casino Le Lyon Vert
- Casino Théâtre Barrière de Toulouse
- Casino Théâtre Barrière de Bordeaux
- Champagne Ardenne
- Domaine de Forges
- Eden Casino de Juan les Pins
- Grand Casino de Lyon Le Pharaon
- Hôtel Casino Barrière Lille
- Le Palais Casino Barrière du Touquet
- Les Princes – Casino Barrière de Cannes
- Midi Pyrénées
- Pasino de la Grande Motte
- Pasino le Havre
- Pasino Saint Amand
- Picardy (Picardie)
- Poitou Charentes
- Seven Casino
When it comes to online play, La Boule fans can visit the following online casino platforms to find their favorite French roulette variant:
- Casino Lemonade
- Le Bon Casino
- Majestic Slots
- Paris Casino
Strategic Considerations for Boule
Looking back to the 11.11 percent house edge attached to every bet on the Boule table, the first strategic concern for players considering this roulette variant becomes quite clear.Why play a spinning wheel game of chance with an exorbitant house edge (for every $100 you wager on Boule over the infinite long run, you can expect to lose $11.11)?
After all, if you have ready access to a Boule table, the chances are overwhelmingly high that a standard roulette game can be located somewhere under the same roof.
Comparing House Edge of Roulette Games
The single zero variety of roulette which is commonly found throughout Europe offers players a house edge of just 2.70 percent on all bets. If you happen to find an American style roulette wheel, one which contains both the 0 and 00 spaces, the house edge climbs to 5.26 percent.
Although both house edge rates on traditional roulette are still on the high side, at least when compared to player friendly games like blackjack and baccarat, notice that they are both significantly lower than the 11.11 percent house edge on Boule.
Even when playing a double zero roulette wheel, you’ll instantly shave off more than half of the house edge from Boule. When you can find a single zero roulette wheel, which shouldn’t be hard if you’re in France or play online, the house edge rate drops to less than one-fourth of that found in Boule. If you want to learn more, head over to the Wizard of Odds‘ page on La Boule to get a quick rundown on the different house edge values.
Avoid the Boule Table
Strategically, the best option for Boule players is to simply walk by the table and find a roulette wheel of any variety, as the house edge against you will immediately be either halved or quartered.
Aside from this advice, there are no legitimate strategies for winning consistently at Boule or roulette for that matter. The game is based purely on chance, and once you’ve made your bets, the final outcome is based solely on the random results of a spinning wheel and a revolving ball.
Players can do nothing to influence the outcome of a spin, and every spin represents a wholly independent occurrence. This means that “patterns” in the results from previous spins are meaningless, despite what regular players may insist, so always be sure to avoid the temptation of tracking prior spins and basing your bets on how the ball has dropped before.