History of Roulette


The direct geographic origins of the game of roulette may be rather unclear.  However, there is no debate as to the origins of the word roulette itself. The word is a French word, which means ‘small wheel’.  Just like most gambling games, there are many legends as to how the game came about.  Some have it that the French Engineer Blaise Pascal tried to invent a device that could depict perpetual motion.  Therefore, he designed a big wheel in order to achieve this objective.  Later on, a friend of his came up with the idea that the wheel could be used as a form of gambling instrument.  Other legends suggest that the founder of the pioneering casinos in Monte Carlo, Francois Blanc made a pact with the devil in order to have access to hidden nature of the roulette.  Proponents of this particular legend vouch to this legend by drawing attention to the fact that the sum of the numbers on a roulette wheel equals the Biblical number of the devil.


Two of the more plausible ideas are that the game was first played by the Chinese who then brought it to Europe via Dominican Monks.  The other suggestion is that the game came about as a result of the Romans who were in the habit of spinning their chariot wheels on the ground. Whatever the true origins of roulette, it is clear that it is one of the most popular gambling games in today’s casinos.  Historical records have it that the game’s layout, as we see it today, first appeared in Paris casinos in 1765.  The game eventually became popular in America when French immigrants and settlers incorporated the game in the city of New Orleans.  In 1800, the first casino was erected in New Orleans and it was from there the game of roulette took prominence.  In 1873 after, gambling was banned in Europe; Monaco became the capital of the casino business. It was not long after that the game of roulette began to grow in Europe.


The roulette wheel is comprised of 36 compartment numbers that count from 1 to 36. The numbers are printed in alternating black and red colors.  The roulette wheel also has a 37th enclosing which is colored green and numbered zero.  A player who wishes to participate in a game of roulette will place his or her chips on the table over a specific number group or class which they think they will win.  The roulette dealer would then spin the wheel from right to left and would then place a miniature ivory or plastic ball into the wheels back track in the opposite direction.  At this point, it is still possible for new players to participate in the game by placing their chips on the table.  Eventually, the miniature ball will fall from the back track on the wheel and on to the numbered compartments. 


The croupier or dealer will then call out the numbers and corresponding colors.  Subsequently, he or she will collect all losing bets and will pay out the winners, if any.   Further, it is also important to mention that there is what is called an “American wheel” and a “European wheel.”  The American wheel has an extra pocket and hence, the odds of winning are not as good.  This is why many roulette players prefer to use the European wheel when playing the game. In modern times, roulette wheels are featured in every casino and are perhaps the gambling game the draws the most crowds in casinos.  This is because roulette is an exciting, dramatic, fast-paced game, which is easy to play.


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