Community Posts ~ Allen Brown


Origin of the Roulette Wheel

Posted on July 2, 2022 by Allen Brown

It is still a mystery about the origin of the Roulette wheel, but a few theories have been going around regarding the same. The most popular and widely believed by the majority is that the game was created by the French Math Wizard named Blaise Pascal in the 17th century. He was not trying to invent a casino game but the perpetual motion machine. Pascal was an inventor and had lots of ideas, but this one failed. But, in the process, it gave birth to the most popular casino game to date.

However, some evidence shows that several other ancient civilizations already played the game, which was quite similar to modern-day roulette.

Soldiers Killing Time in Rome:

Ancient Roman soldiers did not have an exciting life as it was already short due to their occupational hazards, and they had to watch their friends getting injured or dead in the battle. Their morals were down, which further reduced their effectiveness on the battlefield. Hence Roman commanders let the soldiers have as much fun as possible by even participating in gambling games, and many of those games involved spinning a chariot wheel which could be the origin of roulette.

The Chinese Theory:

Several people have very different beliefs. According to them, the Chinese board game that included 37 animal figurines into a magic square which, when totaled, was 666, is what inspired roulette. The modern roulette wheel adds up to 666, which does not seem coincidental to many. The game was discovered by Dominican monks and later brought to Europe. Slight modifications were made later on to form the roulette.

Ancient Greeks Soldiers Were Gambling Too:

Greek soldiers also had gambling games to boost their morals during battles. One of their games is pretty similar to modern-day roulette. They played the game with a shield by drawing symbols inside the shield, then putting it face down on the ground by placing an arrow next to it. The shield would be spun, and the bet would be on the symbol that the arrow points to. Does this not sound very similar to roulette? These soldier games resemble the modern roulette very closely, but there is not much evidence that could support these theories.

The Addition of Zero:

The name suggests that roulette is of French origin, and the design and gameplay are influenced by two similar games popular in 17th century Europe named Roly Poly and Even-Odd, as these games involved spinning the wheel and betting on the outcome of the spin. Pascal’s interest in gambling was well known, making the origin story more convincing.

A fun fact is that the original roulette created by Pascal did not include zero. It was later added in the mid-9th century when Francois and Lois Blanc designed a roulette wheel with a single zero, giving the house a bigger edge. Meanwhile, King Charles III of Monaco was facing financial troubles and built a casino and bought a roulette wheel to solve the problem. This made the game popular among aristocrats and royalty. At the same time, gambling was outlawed in France, which made gambling in Monte Carlo more desirable.

Roulette Comes to America:

In the 1800s, roulette made it across the ocean to the U.S. shores as European settlers who had landed in Louisiana introduced it to the Americans. However, the casino game was not as smoothly accepted in the U.S. as it did in Europe, as the casino providers were unhappy with a 5.26% house edge. Hence, they increased it by adding double zero to the Roulette wheel. This means instead of 37 numbers that you could see on the European wheel, the American Roulette wheel would have 38 numbers (1 through 36, 0, and 00). However, this annoyed the players as they lost interest due to low earnings and started playing games they could actually beat, like blackjack.

Roulette in Online Casinos:

As gambling became popular, online gambling would surely succeed, as it offered players to enjoy thousands of games from their homes. Mostly slots rule most online casinos, but they also offer table games, and roulette and its variants always make the cut because of its popularity. It is a classic game that many gamblers enjoy to date. Also, the advent of live online casinos has even made it much more interesting, as the players get the feel of actually playing inside a land casino. Different types of roulette, such as European and American, can be played despite geographical location, which is another advantage of playing online.

The Bottom Line:

Roulette is one of the oldest casino games and is still popular amongst gambling players. It is a game of chance without proven strategies to beat it, but spinning the wheel has its own charm. Our ancestors knew the excitement players have after spinning the wheel and waiting to get lucky, which is why this game is amongst the greater casino games even today.


One thought on “Origin of the Roulette Wheel

  1. You left out the most important fact about roulette, the actual house percentage.

    On average, over time, with a wheel that has both a zero and a double zero, the house will keep about 5.26 cents out of every dollar that you bet.

    Except for the five number bet. With that one, they keep an average of about 7.89 cents for every dollar you bet.

    In order to gamble responsibly, casino gambling must be treated as an entertainment expense and not an opportunity to gain money.

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