Roulette is one of the most popular casino games in the world. It’s a simple game to play, but this may be part of its charm; roulette offers excitement for anyone who chooses to take a spin of the wheel. Like many games that we enjoy today, roulette has a rich history dating back hundreds of years. We are not the first generation to try our hand at the “little wheel.”
A Brief History of Roulette
Roulette didn’t arrive in its current form until fairly recently when it was recorded being played in French casinos in the 1790s, but nothing exists in isolation. It is thought that roulette was derived from games that had similar rules and payouts, which relied upon drawing numbers out of a bag or picking playing cards for a chance to win. It is the precision spinning wheel as a medium for play that makes roulette unique.
The origins of roulette began with Blaise Pascal with the invention of the perpetual motion machine in 1655. Pascal attempted to defy the known laws of physics by creating a machine that kept itself in motion with no external force required. His pursuits had nothing to do with casino gaming, though he did also work on probability theory. His closest attempt resulted in a nearly frictionless wheel.
Jump forward to the 1790s, and roulette was being enjoyed by patrons of the casinos in France, but it wasn’t until a little later that the game rose to true popularity. It was the addition of the number “0” on the wheel that truly made roulette the game it is today.
The addition came from the French Blanc Brothers who had opened a casino in Germany with a number “0”. In 1842, the brothers gave the design to King Charles III of Monaco and he brought the game we know and love today to the masses.
The extra zero did, of course, bring with it the house edge, and therefore great prosperity to the casinos who had roulette on offer. So much wealth did roulette start to bring that rumors developed about the Blanc Brothers and roulette. Perhaps the masses failed to recognize the extra zero was the key.
Roulette also made its way overseas in the 1800s, and the Americans were quick to add another zero to the board, the “00” as well as the regular “0”. This further doubled the house edge and made the game even more lucrative.
Since the late 1800s, roulette has stayed very much the same; perhaps there is no need to change the winning formula—both the casinos and the players love the game. But the early 2000s brought about an inevitable new evolution of the game that pretty much changed everything. I speak of the internet.
Online casinos opened rapidly. Some of them died away, and some of them live on as reputable sites to this day. The rules and payouts of roulette didn’t change, but players could instantly access tables and play from the comfort of their own home. Not only that, but every player online could find a European single “0” table, making the American “00” roulette all but obsolete.
The most recent addition to the online world of roulette is live dealer tables. This is where the player is connected via the internet to a physical wheel with a croupier. This offers the player the excitement of live roulette with the convenience of being online.