Few figures within the casino industry are as iconic as the spinning roulette wheel. The image of a counterclockwise-rolling ball within a clockwise-spinning wheel is mesmerizing, and has cast a spell on casino patrons for centuries.
But did you know that the simple roulette game sprung from the mind of one of the world’s greatest mathematicians? Did you know that the roulette wheel was, in fact, a misstep en route to the attempted invention of a perpetual motion machine? And did you also know that the sum of all the numbers on every land and online casino roulette wheel is the most infamous number in the Bible?
The history of roulette is among the most interesting casino game histories. Unfortunately, many of those who play roulette – as well as those who play slots and online keno, two other games with lengthy and interesting histories – do not know much about where their favorite game got its start.
We’re here to change that.
Mathematician and philosopher Blaise Pascal created the first roulette wheel in 1655 as part of his efforts to build a machine that would never lose its momentum. Although his attempt at building a perpetual motion machine failed, roulette history gained an unstoppable momentum of its own. Pascal’s misfortune was the casino game industry’s gain.
Almost two centuries later, two French brothers, Francois and Louis Blanc, altered the composition of the roulette wheel and established the casino game we now know as roulette. They changed the colors of each pocket on the wheel to red and black, added the green zero pocket, and numbered the pockets 1 to 36.
One legend purports that the brothers sold their souls to the Devil in exchange for these ideas, a myth that intends to explain why the sum of the numbers on the wheel totals 666.
When French settlers in New Orleans brought the roulette game to America, it enjoyed a popularity that would establish a longstanding roulette history in the States. During the years of westward expansion, roulette betting became a popular pastime. Many saloons and gambling halls set up roulette tables for miners and cowboys eager to try their luck. In response, many casino roulette tables appeared with an extra pocket in their wheel. It was labeled with either an “American Eagle” or a green “00” (as is seen in most American casino roulette tables today). This additional pocket nearly doubled the house edge.
Despite its risk and reputation, many players have waged their entire fortunes on roulette betting. In one of the most striking cases in roulette history, a player saved all of his money—more than two hundred thousand dollars—for more than three years, and bet it all on “red” at a single spin of the roulette wheel. Fortunately for him, the spin resulted in “red seven” and he doubled his money.
With the advent of online casinos, players can now experience the thrills and excitement of a roulette game on their computer. Every major internet gaming software engine provides roulette casino games with various roulette betting limits. Instead of a spinning wheel and bouncing ball, online casino roulette simulates these actions with exciting computer graphics and powerful software that generates random numbers, bringing roulette history into the twenty-first century. In fact, online roulette can give players the same sense of anticipation and nervous excitement as the real thing, without the need to tip the croupier!
Quotes on Roulette
You cannot beat a roulette table unless you steal money from it. ~Albert Einstein, physicist
Horse racing is animated roulette. ~Roger Kahn, author
All the evidence shows that God was actually quite a gambler, and the universe is a great casino, where dice are thrown, and roulette wheels spin on every occasion. ~Stephen Hawking, physicist
In Vegas, I got into a long argument with the man at the roulette wheel over what I considered to be an odd number. ~Stephen Wright, comedian