The History of Roulette

Roulette, the King of Casino Games!

Read how roulette came to be in this article about the history of roulette.


For over 300 hundred years now roulette has ruled Europe and the rest of the world as one of the biggest casino games ever since the first roulette wheel was invented. Mathematicians have been particularly interested in this game because the principle of the game play offers various outcomes and endless mathematical odds which they can use to create winning strategies and systems. Add the multiple roulette variations found today across casinos, and you get a sheer volume of possibilities to win some big money.

The most popular and basic roulette variation today is European, trailed by American and French. The best odds are with the European and French, since American roulette has a house edge twice that of European and French due to the 00 slot.

The Number of the Beast

The most interesting legend about roulette is that it is a devil’s game. Supposedly François Blanc made a deal with the devil and the devil gave him the secret of roulette. This is based on the fact that when you add all numbers ofthe wheel you get 666, a number popularly known as the Number of the Beast. Of course, this is just a myth because François Blanc was not the man that invented roulette. He was just a famous 19th century operator of casinos, namely the operator of Monte Carlo Casino.

The history of roulette began prior to François being born. The most primitive form was invented by Blaise Pascal in the 17th century, a mathematician and physicist. He was looking for a machine that would be in perpetual motion and somehow he invented the roulette wheel. Later in the 18th century the first true form of the game was devised.

The name itself is a French diminutive for little wheel, as Wikipedia says. It is also believed that the roulette wheel was invented by fusing several games with the roulette form that already existed in France which was used the basis for the game. The other games were the Italian board games Biribi and Hoca, and the English wheel games E.O, Ace of Hearts, Reiner and Roly-Poly.

The earliest record of the present roulette form is about the roulette game that was played in Palais Royal in Paris in 1796. There was an accurate description of the game in the La Roulette novel by Jaques Lablee where certain characteristics of the game were described, for example, the house pockets, the layout, the double zero pocket etc. The novel was published in 1801. Back then the single zero pocket was colored red while the double zero pocket was colored black.

An even earlier record of the game can be found in Québec’s regulations form 1758 (then called New France), where several games were mentioned as games that were banned with law among which dice and roulette.

Roulette in North America

Naturally, everything back then that was invented in Europe was taken to America with the help of the immigrants. Thus, the French immigrants took roulette with them and soon roulette became the most famous casino game. This is why the double zero roulette or today popularly known as American roulette became premier roulette game there, while in Europe the single zero roulette was played.

It was because of François Blanc. When he established Monte Carlo as the mecca for elite casino players, he also introduced the single zero roulette game in order to compete with casinos that offered the double zero roulette game. Soon, his single zero roulette became the standard game across Europe, while the double zero roulette went on to rule American casinos.

The earliest form of roulette played in America featured only 1 to 28 numbers plus the American eagle pocket and the single and double zero pockets. The American Eagle pocket favored the house instead of the players and soon this variation was dropped. If you happen to find a roulette wheel today with the American Eagle pocket, keep it because it may be worth thousands of dollars. Only half a dozen copies exist.

Roulette Today

Today, we have the privilege of playing many, many different roulette variations at hundreds of land-based and online casinos. At the beginning of the 20th century people could play roulette mainly in Las Vegas and Monte Carlo, but during the 1970s casinos began appearing all over the world offering the game.

The easiest way to play roulette today is by playing it at online casinos. There you will find interesting variations with multiple wheels or balls, Marvel-themed variations, roulette games with interesting bonuses and other crazy versions of the game. Plus, the internet is a marvelous thing because even if you are a beginner in roulette you can find lots of websites like this one to learn how to play the game and decide which casino is best to play roulette.

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