History of Roulette

The game of roulette dates back to 18th century France, where the roulette wheel evolved from a number of different games and sources. By the 1790s, gamblers in Paris were playing roulette in a form that any modern player would recognize – a set of numbers (including the 0 and 00), a variety of bets with different odds, and the iconic spinning wheel.

The great split in roulette rules – one that continues to this very day – came in 1843, when two Frenchmen set up a new kind of roulette table in the spa town of Homburg, Germany. Francois and Louis Blanc wanted to compete against bigger casinos, they offered a wheel with only a single zero that reduced the house edge and gave their players a better chance to come out ahead.

Roulette was a huge success, and quickly spread throughout Europe and the United States to become one of the world’s most popular casino games. When most European countries had banned gambling, the game found a refuge in Monte Carlo, where the single zero game rose to prominence. This single zero version of roulette was exported to most of the world, except in the United States, where the original double zero wheel flourished in New Orleans and other areas that were heavily influenced by French culture. This game spread up the Mississippi River, then to the rest of the country – creating the difference between American roulette with two zeroes, and European roulette with just one.

The American game eventually evolved into a distinct game from its French ancestor. For instance, the French game featured a wheel that was set in the middle of the playing area. As the game spread to illicit gambling dens in American territory, cheating became rampant, as both the gamblers and the game operators attempted to affect the wheel with hidden devices. This led to the roulette wheel being moved to a place on top of the table, where it would be more difficult to influence. The layout of the table was also simplified, ensuring that there would be no confusion as to what a player was betting on. Eventually, these adjustments became the standard at most casinos around the world.

Throughout the history of roulette, the allure of big “all or nothing” bets have fascinated the public. These wagers usually occur in the movies, but some players have made them with real money on the line! One recent and famous example is that of Ashley Revell, a man from London who sold all of his possessions and went to Las Vegas to make a single bet for every dollar he had – either he’d double his life’s savings, or he’d go home flat broke. He bet a total of $135,300 on red…and doubled his money when the fateful ball landed on the red number seven.

Today, roulette can be found in almost every casino around the world. The single zero wheel dominates in most countries, but the double zero wheel is still the game of choice in the United States, as well as in many casinos in South America and the Caribbean.

The Internet has provided a new way for players to try their luck at the roulette table. Online roulette began to spring up in the 1990s, and spread as fast as new gambling sites could establish themselves. Roulette was a natural game for translation to online gambling; because the spinning of the wheel can be simulated with computer graphics, and the random results can be reproduced by a number generator, players can now have virtually the same roulette experience they’d get in a brick and mortar casino from the privacy of their own homes.