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Roulette History

Many casino goers love to play roulette. It is especially attractive to beginners in the world of gambling because it is very easy to play and very entertaining as well. This game has been well-loved since the 18th century. In fact, roulette was said to be invented around this time in France. Many say that the idea started with Blaise Pascal, an inventor. In the 17th century, he was trying to devise a perpetual motion machine and came up with a very rudimentary roulette, far from what we see nowadays.

There are many English games bearing semblance to roulette, like the roly-poly, Reiner, Ace of Hearts and E.O. Some games originating in Italy like Hoca and Biribi also have some semblance with roulette. The famous casino game evolved to what it is today through the fusion of these traditional games from Europe.

The rules of roulette were standardized in 1796 in Paris, France. Thus, the roulette game played today is much like the game it used to be back in 1796. It was clearly described in the famous French novel written by Jaques Lablee entitled “La Roulette, ou le Jour.” In the story, the wheel used in roulette was described vividly seen inside Palais Royal. Readers were able to envision even the house pockets. It included two dedicated slots for the bank which serves as basis for the computation of the house edge.

The long description also included how the layout for betting looked like, complete with colors and number arrangements. “La Roulette, ou le Jour” was first released in 1801 and immediately clicked to a lot of avid gamers. It also caught the attention of many others who were not previously into casino games but later on were drawn to try it after reading the book. 

Another book that served as reference material was published in Quebec in 1758, a couple of years before the French novel came out. The reference material sought to enlighten readers about roulette and why it was banned at this time, along with dice, hoca, and faro games.

Maybe the only major revision made on roulette is removing one zero slot. This significantly decreased the house advantage percentage by 50%. French citizens Francois and Louis Blanc were the first to introduce a wheel with only one zero slot in 1843. They saw this innovation as a way to decrease the house advantage and attract more people to enter their casinos. Back then, casino houses were in stiff competition and decreasing the house edge meant higher chances for players to win. Later on, the European roulette will be distinguished from an American roulette based on the number of zero slots on a wheel.

The American roulette itself underwent several transformations starting in 1886. In the Hoyle gambling books for example, the wheel was numbered 1 to 28. And then there is a one zero, one double zero, and an eagle icon. When asked to explain, Hoyle said that the zero slots and eagle icon were not bars or holes. However, should the spinning ball drops on any of these, the banker takes all bets on the table in one sweeping motion.

The 1800s can be seen as a major turning point for roulette. It was at this time when the contagion of playing this entertaining game spread across various countries in Europe as well as in the United States of America. If this casino game is enjoying so much popularity now around the world, it can be attributed to this time when many avid gamers spread the game to different countries.

One prominent family who loved gambling was the Blancas who lived in Germany. In 1860, the German government did a harsh move of abolishing gambling in the country and the Blancas were forced to flee in disagreement. Many other European countries were also abolishing gambling except for Monte Carlo. The Blanca family then opted to move to Monte Carlo. Later on, they built and operated a gambling house that caters mainly to the elite crowd of Europe. As news spread of this first class casino, many Europeans visited Monte Carlo just to gamble.

Here in Monte Carlo, the primary wheel used was that having only one zero slot. As years passed, the wheels being manufactured and exported were dominantly European, that having a single zero. One exception was the United States who did not import this wheel variety because it was using a double zero wheel. The American players still preferred to see a double zero. In time, it did not matter what the players’ preferences were for as long as they enjoyed roulette. The game rightly deserved to be called the King of Casino Games. It sounded very glamorous and reflected the aura of casinos in Monte Carlo.

Telling the history of roulette will not be complete without relaying a legend that says Francois Blanc speaking with the devil to divulge to him the secrets of roulette. This legend was coined because if the numbers in the wheel are summed up (1 to 36), it will result to 666, a number that is usually equated to bad luck or the devil.

Another wheel was called the French double zero variety that also penetrated the United States in the late 1800s. It first arrived in the country via New Orleans, and then to Mississippi and westward. A lot of casino goers were frustrated from losing because after all, the roulette was a game of luck. Soon enough, there was rampant cheating in roulette games so that operators were forced to rearrange the design of the game equipment. Whereas before the wheel was hidden, it was now brought up in plain view of all players and the betting layout was modified to make it simpler. These revisions eventually evolved to become the modern American roulette wheel seen in many casinos today. Although it had French origins, it is still different from the traditional French game which took shape in Monte Carlo.

By the turn of the 20th century, especially in the latter part, the casinos are seen flourishing almost everywhere. Each casino would offer many roulette tables to cater to many clients going for this game. For it does not matter which country or what casino but the game of roulette is simply well loved.

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