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The History of Roulette: From Paris to Sin City
Ah, Roulette… One of the biggest hallmarks of casinos all over the globe. It’s a fun, exciting game largely based around luck but can work massively in your favour if you select the proper strategies to use. The rules are fairly simple, and it has brought people together for a little over four centuries now. But have you ever wondered the history of Roulette? Like how Roulette came to be at all? Going by the name, many assume (correctly) that it was originally a French game. In fact, that’s why single zero (or European Roulette) is often dubbed as French Roulette, which is an important distinction from American Roulette as that version of the game uses a double zero.
And, as those linguists among us know, the word “roulette” in French means “little wheel”. Did you know, however, that Roulette was originally built as a physics experiment? Or that all the numbers adding up to create a total of 666 is an urban myth associated with the game? Today, we’re going to take a look at the long and extremely interesting history of Roulette and see where the game could be headed in the future.
The French Physicist
Anyone who has played even one game of Roulette knows the game is all about chance. There’s a lot of odds, house edges and statistics involved. It should then come at no surprise that the history of Roulette starts with the French physicist, mathematician and inventor, Blaise Pascal, in the mid-17th century. Originally, he wasn’t trying to invent a casino game at all.
Instead, he was attempting to create a perpetual motion machine (basically something that spins on and on without stopping and without drawing on any kind of external energy). The laws of physics declare this as an impossibility but, being the inventor that he was, Pascal tried to prove otherwise in the creation of the Roulette wheel. The experiment failed, of course (and, to our knowledge, is still an official impossibility to this day), but it gave birth to one of the most popular casino games of all time. Who’d have thought that would happen? Turns out the history of Roulette has scientists to thank!
Despite coming up with one of history’s most iconic gambling past timers, Pascal did not envision it as how we see the Roulette wheel today. The history of Roulette was one of slow development, for instance, there was no such thing as a zero in the game until nearly two centuries later. Of course, we’re not suggesting the number zero never existed until then (of course it did!) but the inclusion of the number zero on the Roulette wheel is a major factor that did not emerge until the mid-19th century.
The history of Roulette all changed when, in 1842, Francois and Lois Blanc designed a Roulette wheel with the single zero as one of its slots. This was specifically to appease King Charles III of Monaco. This was a huge deal as it gave the house an enormous edge over players. With this in place, King Charles introduced the Roulette wheel to the masses where there was a quick upscale in popular gambling. The timing was rather unfortunate, however, as it came about around the same time France outlawed gambling entirely. This move resulted in Monte Carlo becoming more popular, so we’re not entirely bitter about this point in history.
Ever-needing to put their stamp on things that already exist, Americans got in on changing the course of the history of Roulette by introducing the concept of ‘Double Zero’. A second zero on the wheel meant, once again, the house edge escalated which resulted in the rise of all the Las Vegas casinos you see today. This happened in the same century as the first zero after Roulette made its way across the Atlantic and arrived on American shores.
Many Americans and Non-Americans alike, however, prefer the European rendition as there is less bias towards the casino and more chance of their gamble playing off. If increased risk is more your game, however, then you might get something out of American Roulette. There are no changes to the rules. All that’s different is that American Roulette has 38 slots instead of 37 because of the Double Zero.
Getting The Best Results
The history of Roulette has as much to do with those trying to crack the game as create it. Roulette is much a game of prediction as it is of luck and strategy. Statisticians around the world are dedicated to mathematically calculating the odds of every potential outcome from the spin of a wheel. An Australian scholar in particular, Michael Small of the University of West Australia Perth, has studied Roulette wheels alongside Chi Kong Tse of Hong Kong Polytechnic University to figure out the precise location of the spinning ball and speeds it can travel at when the Roulette dealer (croupier) releases it.
According to their calculations, you can figure out precisely what to bet on and increase your odds at winning. Although, it’s not always quite as simple as that. These experiments they carried out were doubtless done in a controlled environment where they could ascertain clear results. This “controlled environment” was unlike anything before in the history of Roulette involved close-up cameras on the croupier’s hand as he dished out the ball. In a normal casino setting, such a thing would be considered cheating and any sign of electronic equipment would ensure you being kicked out.
So, this makes it nigh-impossible for the average player to even hazard an educated guess on where the ball is going to land. The research is not valueless, however, as it does prove Roulette is all about physics and abides all the laws of nature. If you put your mind to it and really pay attention to what’s going on, you might improve your odds significantly. Of course, it’s still possible to make mistakes, even if you are that clued up. The history of Roulette is full of these kinds of experiments trying to get the better of the game.
Until the early 2000s, the history of Roulette was all based in the real world. Now, however, the best and quickest way to enjoy it is through the internet. Online Roulette casinos and now everywhere with both European and American Roulette available to all people old enough to play. You can now play Roulette with real money almost anywhere in the world. How’s that for progress?
The Future Of Roulette
So that’s the history of Roulette! What’s in store for the game in the years to come? Another added zero? More likely the game will be better realised in the form of Virtual Reality, a trend that’s taking up some precedence in the online gambling community.