Ask Roulette

History of Roulette

Roulette is considered to be possibly the second oldest game ever developed by human beings. It is believed to have begun with Roman soldiers spinning their shields and asking the gods what would happen.

In its more modern form, however, the tale of roulette’s history begins in France in 1655. Blaise Pascal, the famed mathematician and philosopher, created the first roulette wheel as part of his search to build a machine that would never lose momentum, a perpetual motion machine. Although he failed in this attempt, roulette history gained an unstoppable momentum of its own. For the next two centuries, the roulette wheel remained relatively unchanged from the original basic design created by Pascal.

Then in 1842, almost two centuries after Pascal, two French brothers, Francois and Louis Blanc, created the casino game we now know as roulette. They altered the composition of the roulette wheel to include the green zero pocket and numbered the pockets 1 to 36 and changed the colors of each pocket on the wheel to red and black. There is a legend that the brothers sold their souls to the Devil in exchange for these ideas, a myth that intends to explain why the sum of the numbers on the wheel totals 666.

During the nineteenth century, roulette spread across Europe and the United States. French settlers in New Orleans brought roulette with them and it became immensely popular and a common pastime. As the settlements expanded westwards, many makeshift saloons and gambling halls set up roulette tables for miners and cowboys eager to try their luck. Many casino roulette tables began to appear with an extra pocket in their wheel, to increase house odds, and this is the origin the ‘American Eagle’ or a green double zero (as is seen in most American casino roulette tables today).

On the European continent, the German government prohibited gambling in the 1860s and the last remaining casino was moved to Monte Carlo in Monaco which then became the gaming capital for elite society in Europe. Here, the single zero roulette became the premier game and spread across the globe except the United States where the double zero wheel remains dominant even to today.

Online roulette entered the internet in about the mid-1990s and quickly became as popular among players online as is in land based casinos.

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