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The History of Roulette

It’s been a staple in every casino for hundreds of years. And, despite numerous mathematicians hovering around the game with pen and paper in hand, nobody has found a workable pattern to defeat it.

How did such a perfect game of chance come to be? We dig into Roulette’s history.

Roulette: The Devils’ Game
Roulette was born in France in 1655 from mathematician Blaise Pascal. Pascal, a scientist known for his work in the field of probability, invented it as a perpetual motion machine and named it “Roulette” – French for “small wheel”.

The game became the cure for boredom in many monasteries across Europe; which we feel is an amazing feat. It has to be nearly impossible to cure boredom in a place with no TV or mainstream music.

Through the 18th and early 19th centuries the only reference of the game is in the book "La Roulette, ou le Jour" by French novelist Jaques Lablee. He describes a Roulette wheel in the Palais Royal in Paris, one that uses a zero and a double zero. The American version of Roulette practices this today.

By 1842, the game got into the hands of Luis and Francois Blanc. They established the game in Monte Carlo casinos and brought the more player-friendly, single-zero rule to the wheel. Something European Roulette practices today.

But this is where its history takes a supernatural turn: It is said in legend that Luis and Francois sold their souls to the devil for the secret of Roulette. This crazy notion is backed up by the fact that the numbers they put on the wheel, 0-36, add up to 666 – the number of the “beast”.

Also during the late 18th century the game moved overseas to the United States. That’s when American casinos re-established the more house-friendly version of the game described by Lablee; this increased the house edge considerably. For that reason, if you’re going to play any game of Roulette, we suggest Luis and Francois’ version – regardless of its devilish origins.

Despite the more difficult odds, Roulette became an extremely popular game for westerners during the gold rush. This is because of America’s willingness to offer the game to everyone. Whereas Roulette remained in Monte Carlo for the rich and powerful, Americans made the game more mainstream, even simplifying its look to be more appealing to newcomers.

Today, gambling websites have spread both versions of the game to more than just certain countries around the world., but into the home (or work) desktops of anyone with a PC.

Still, despite being hundreds of years old, nobody has found a way to consistently predict the game’s outcome. You’ll have to sell your soul to pull that off.


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