There are several theories about the origins of Roulette, which is one of the well-liked casino games among gamblers. The generally accepted theory is that the first version of the Roulette wheel was invented by the mathematician Blaise Pascal at some point in the 17th century while he was making efforts to devise a perpetual motion machine.
We cannot know for sure where it came from because there is evidence that many civilizations played games which were quite similar to Roulette. Let’s take a look at the theories we were able to find.
Many people are of the belief that Roulette was created based on an ancient Chinese game that included sorting 37 miniatures of animals into a square with the total sum of numbers which was 666. Allegedly, Dominican monks have discovered the game and were interested in how the Chinese were living. That same monks have supposedly brought this game to Europe, but with some alterations.
No one knows the concrete rules of how the Chinese game was played. Though, it is believed that the monks have modified the layout, changed the square into a circle, and also added a space for the number zero.
The problem with this theory is that the first French Roulette included a slot for a double zero and a zero; therefore, the theory about “the ancient Chinese game” is quite possibly a false one. However, it is true that the sum of roulette wheel numbers indeed is 666, and all of this is a bit mysterious.
In ancient Rome, being a soldier was not really a fun thing to do. Besides the possibly short lives, they needed to overcome losing their friends on the battlefield. In order to carry the day, Roman leaders would allow their soldiers to amuse themselves as much as possible — participating in gambling games was allowed as well. Plenty of their games included spinning the chariot wheel or their shields, and interestingly, that is similar to how Roulette is played.
Apparently, Roman soldiers weren’t the only ones who partook in gambling games when they weren’t evading spears and arrows. One game, in particular, was identical to Roulette we have today. Namely, it is said that the soldiers would paint symbols on the inner side of their shields, then place them face-down, and put an arrow beside it. The game started when they spun their shields, and that’s when they would bet which symbol would be chosen.
Both Roman and Greek games have some connections to Roulette, but nobody can say with certainty which was the first civilization to have played it.
Roulette is without any doubt of French origin — thus the name. Although, the gameplay and design were obviously affected by the games which were popular in Europe in the 17th century. The names are “Even-Odd” and “Roly Poly,” and those games incorporated spinning a wheel and betting on the results of the spins. Blaise Pascal was a renowned gambler; therefore, he was certainly aware of those games when he created the Roulette wheel by accident.
At that time, gambling was illegal in many European countries, and that’s the reason why games of chance weren’t really popular. At the end of the 18th century in France, they decided to legalize gambling, but gambling laws were strict. After legalizing games there, they spread to the rest of Europe.
In the meantime, Prince Charles of Monaco encountered money problems, and in order to overcome them, he decided to make use of the popularity of gambling. Namely, he opened up a number of gambling houses in Monaco where people could mostly play Roulette. As a result, this game became well-liked among royalty and aristocrats.
Roulette which was played in those places was practically the same as the one we have today. Also, the betting options were nearly identical. The numbers were in the range from 1 to 36, there was one double zero and one zero slot, and there were black and red colors.
We can say with certainty this casino game wouldn’t be so adored nowadays if two Frenchmen, Louis, and Francois Blanc, didn’t take things into their own hands. They have removed the double zero slot, and by doing so, created what we call European Roulette.
Louis and Francois accomplished this in 1842 when gambling was illegal in France, and because of its illegality, they needed to go elsewhere to promote their newly invented game. So they made a decision to move to Hamburg, Germany, and present their version of Roulette to gamblers there. Needless to say, the reactions to the game were positive — its popularity spread really fast.
Due to the inclusion of a single-zero wheel, the house edge decreased to 2.70%. On the other hand, Roulette with two zeros has a casino advantage of up to 5.26%. A higher RTP percentage and a lower house edge made the single-zero Roulette more popular, and ultimately, superseded the double-zero version.
A couple of years later, Louis and Francois have introduced their version of Roulette to French gamblers following a request of Prince Charles III of Monaco. They have built what is called the first modern casino in the world, and the main attraction was the well-known single-zero Roulette. Shortly after, they decided to build the extravagant Monte Carlo Casino Resort.
This resort lured the most respected and the richest Europeans and reintroduced them with Roulette. Thereafter, gambling games, and specifically Roulette, gained in popularity in the whole of Europe.
Roulette was presented to the U.S. gamblers by Europeans who came to Louisiana at the beginning of the 19th century. They wanted to add more features such as numbers 1–38, 0, 00, and the American Eagle. Casino owners weren’t too happy about the house edge of 5.26% and made a decision to increase it. As a result, players got upset with the low winnings and quickly lost the desire to play the game.
Interestingly, gamblers from the United States didn’t like the single-zero Roulette. Instead of that version, the double-zero version became more popular — and today, it bears the name “American Roulette.”
In spite of the higher house edge which they faced, Americans liked playing Roulette a lot. But due to better chances of winning, they began playing games where they could actually win, such as Blackjack.
The emergence of online casinos in the last decades allowed everyone to enjoy playing their favorite games from their armchair. The best Roulette casinos nowadays can be found on the internet. For Roulette fans, there is a plethora of choices — these days, you can enjoy the American, European, and all other versions no matter where you are located. It’s important to mention that there are substantial advantages to playing at online casinos than in land-based ones.
Primarily, you are able to focus and stick to your betting strategy without any disturbance of the environment that exists in brick-and-mortar casinos. What’s more, online casino games are automated — you don’t have to focus your attention on the dealer and moving the chips, unless you’re playing Live Dealer Roulette — then, you will have to pay attention to those things.
There are institutions which guarantee that the games you play have a good house edge and that they’re not rigged, among other things. Casinos that have a license and/or certification are a safe place for you to play at. What’s more, you will be provided with information about payouts, odds, and other vital stuff.
After a couple of years of not being the most-played game in comparison to other ones, Roulette is making a comeback to the gambling world. The good thing about online casinos is that they allow players to decide what version of the game they wish to play, and they don’t have to leave their warm homes to bet on spins.
Even tough Roulette is a game of chance and there are no strategies to beat it, looking at the wheel spinning keeps you on the edge of your seat, and no other casino game can offer such excitement. The ancient Greeks and Romans were aware of the joy of waiting and hoping to get lucky. And you do get lucky… eventually.
Roulette is one of the most terrific casino games, and it is more available than ever. Use this to your advantage and enjoy!