History of Roulette

Online Roulette history is rooted in the traditional game of the same name played in brick and mortar casinos. The concept behind the original Roulette game was invented in France around 1655 when Blaise Pascal – a French scientist recognized for his work in the field of probability – set out to invent his perpetual motion machine.

Had Monsieur Pascal been asked back in his day what he thought the chances were that his device would someday be enjoyed by millions and millions of Roulette lovers all over the world 24/7, he probably wouldn’t have given the prospect very good odds, if any. But you can bet he would have asked, “What the hell is 24/7?”

This mega-popular game made its US debut around the beginning of the 1800s. However, once on American soil, the course of Roulette history was changed forever with the addition of a second zero to the Roulette wheel. Prior to this, the (original) European Roulette wheel comprised a single zero (0) plus the numbers 1 through 36. Nowadays, of course, you’ll find both versions in land-based and online casinos.

Roulette is a French word, as you might have guessed, meaning “small wheel”. Most people agree that the first Roulette Wheel was invented as a perpetual motion machine in 1655, by the French scientist Blaise Pascal, who was known for his work in the field of probability. First played in a monastery to ease the boredom, it soon found its way into a rudimentary casino in Paris, where it was regarded as a game for the glamorous and intelligent. In 1842, Francois and Luis Blanc established the first casinos in Monte Carlo where, according to ‘legend’, it is said that in exchange for their souls, the devil shared with them the secret of Roulette.

Continuing along this sinister historical interpretation, the two men chose to use the numbers 0 to 36, whose sum when added together totals 666 – the number of the beast! Of course, large portions of these stories are difficult to prove, but the game has always had an aura of the supernatural associated with it.

The first modern Roulette Wheel, with its alternating colors and odd/even numbers, was also used in France – in a Paris casino. Years later Roulette arrived in the US – sometime in the early 1800s. The game was initially popular with those who made their living by relying on luck, patience, and superstition. Western miners and gold speculators embraced the game and it became very popular in the United States, particularly in the west and during the historical Gold Rush period.

However, the single “0” modification was rejected in the United States and Roulette history was altered forever. American Roulette Wheels were now made standard with the two zeros “00”. The American casinos were not happy with the minimal house edge they had with these European wheels, so they introduced the 31-pocket roulette wheel. The extra pocket favors the house and increases the house edge considerably. Accordingly, if you have the choice, always choose to play on a European wheel.

Although both the double zero and single zero wheels originated in France, the double zero became known as the “American Wheel,” because it was accepted with open arms and survived in the states. The popularity of the single zero wheel had supplanted the double zero wheels in Europe and was thereafter designated the “French Wheel.” Now, every casino in the world has a Roulette Wheel. Roulette is popular because it is easy to play and suspenseful as the ball spins to a stop on a number which has a big 35:1 payoff.