One of the most famous casino games, roulette has featured in a number of high profile films such as the James Bond classic Diamonds Are Forever, Casablanca and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. But where did the casino game originate from?
Roulette, which you can try out at https://casino.paddypower.com/c/roulette, is believed to have originated from well-known mathematician and physician Blaise Pascal in the 17thcentury. Pascal is known for devising the triangular array of binomial coefficients, known as Pascal’s triangle. His research introduced the mathematical theory of probability and the roulette wheel is believed to have been a bi-product in his efforts to create a perpetual motion machine.
Although invented in the 17thcentury, it wouldn’t be until the 18thcentury that the wheel would be used for gambling. These wheels included a 0 and a 00 space which allowed the house to have an even better edge and help their profits. The exact origin of who included these spaces on the wheel is unknown, but there are a couple of versions. One is that a French novelist saw them on a roulette wheel in the Palais Royal, while another cites Francois and Louis Blanc as the inventors, although others suggest that the pair were behind the removal of the 00 space in order to make the game appeal to more people by reducing the house edge.
Roulette has been known as the devil’s game and that is purely down to the fact that, if you were to add up all the numbers on a traditional roulette wheel (1-36), they add up to 666, supposedly the “Number of the Beast”, although this is merely a coincidence.
As the casino game began to gain popularity across Europe it began to spread across the Atlantic Ocean to the USA, where they added another symbol to help increase the house edge. As well as the 0 and 00 spaces, they added in an eagle – the national bird of the United States.
Following a roulette ban in Germany, the Blanc brothers moved the game to Monte Carlo and with their single 0 version, they created a gambling paradise. The single 0 version of the roulette wheel has become the most popular format of the game and has spread worldwide.
There are three different games of roulette – French, European and American. While the French and European have the same wheel (just the single 0) and are almost identical in how they’re played, the betting board is slightly different in its layout and there are a couple of additional rules. Firstly there is “La Partage” which allows people receive half of their stake back if they’ve bet on red or black and zero comes up. The other is “en prison” where in the same circumstances, the player can leave their bet on the table for the following spin.
In American roulette, the only real difference is one the wheel, there is the 00 as well as the 0, which gives the house an increased edge. It is for this reason that European and French roulette are seen as the more popular amongst casino visitors, as no one wants it to be more likely that they’ll lose their money to the house.