When you think about gambling, it won’t take you long to think about roulette. It is a player favourite with a long history. Many of us associate the game with fancy casinos. If you are unfamiliar roulette is a game of spinning the wheel and trying to guess what number the ball will land on. It's a pretty easy one for players to understand. All they have to do is pick their lucky number and hope for the best. Let’s have a look at where this casino favourite came from.
The man who created the roulette wheel was called Blaise Pascal. He was a French physicist who in 1655 was trying to invent a perpetual motion machine. Instead of having a scientific breakthrough proving it was possible for a machine to move without using energy from external sources, Pascal created the roulette wheel. From this moment on the game only grew in popularity. Despite the passing of time, people still bet their money on Pascal’s accidental invention. It was a breakthrough even though it wasn’t the one Pascal intended.
If you know anything about roulette you probably know about the debate over the zeros. Different types have different numbers of zeros. This obviously affects the game significantly. Chances are skewed and it's even harder to pick what number to bet on.
It may surprise you to find out that the original roulette wheel didn’t have a zero at all. This was maintained until the 19th century. In 1842, a roulette wheel was designed for the King of Monaco. This was the first instance of a zero being on the wheel. It was added to give the house a bigger edge. The King at the time was called Charles III and he ended up in some financial trouble. To help, he introduced the roulette wheel to the public. It was a good move because Monaco was able to make lots of money from gambling houses with roulette wheels. This all happened when France banned gambling meaning even more gambling enthusiasts were coming to Monte Carlo to spend their money.
So what’s the deal with the double zero wheel? This was the American influence. We all know roulette must have made it to America somehow and this actually happened back in the 19th century. The initial zero was added to increase the house’s edge. The second zero was added to increase the house’s edge even more. So of course, casinos in America have stuck with the double zero set up throughout the years.
To clarify when people talk about American roulette, this means the wheel has double zeros.
When someone calls roulette European, there’s only one. You can try out the game with most online casinos, such as Norwegian CasinoHex, which lists the best Norwegian casinos to play this historic game online.
Possible ancient connections
The above story of roulette is the most widely accepted one. But as we learn more about ancient life indications have been found that roulette-like games could date back to ancient times.
Gambling can be traced back far into Chinese history. There was a board game with 37 animal figures. They had to be arranged into a magic square and the numbers had to add up to 666. This is significant because the roulette wheel used today totals 666. The idea is that this game was taken to Europe by Dominican monks. Although, they changed it slightly so we’re not sure what the original Chinese game really looked like.
If you are not convinced Ancient China created roulette, consider Ancient Rome. To keep up morale among soldiers, they were allowed to enjoy lots of entertainment. This included gambling. We have discovered that they played games where they spun shields or chariot wheels. This concept is obviously very similar to roulette.
The final contender that takes on the French origin story is Ancient Greece. They also had soldiers who enjoyed gambling to make it through the dangerous life of an ancient soldier. One of their games was even more similar to roulette. They drew symbols on their shields then placed it on the ground next to an arrow. The shield would be spun and whoever bet correctly on what symbol the arrow would point to won.
Tracing ancient tradition to modern life can be complex but there are some clear patterns. It is amazing to think that games played centuries ago
have turned into the games we play online today."