Roulette’s Intriguing Casino Games History
Roulette is a staple of online casinos today, with virtually every site in the world providing it in one form or another. But as with all casino games, this physics-based phenomenon started somewhere.
Let’s take a trip back in time, explore this intriguing story, and learn more about history in the process.
Find out how a spinning wheel went from a physics experiment to the online casino game we love to play today!
The Physics Professor
Imagine you were on a mission to create something deemed literally impossible, a perpetual motion machine.
Science says that nothing can be kept in motion without an external power source, regardless of how well designed it is. But in 1655 Mister Blaise Pascal thought otherwise. He set out to beat the odds, pouring his efforts into a device that would move indefinitely.
The bad news is that he didn’t prove the universal laws of physics wrong.
The good news is that he created an interesting contraption in the process.
To be clear, his goal was not to influence the word of casino games, but rather the world of science. But influencing casino games is exactly what he landed up doing, even if unintentionally.
Mister Pascal turned a failure into a success, simply by adding numbers to his wheel and deciding that it was rather interesting to try and predict at what point the spinning would stop. Thus, Roulette was born.
But wait a second, was Mister Pascal really the true origin of the game? It turns out that although it is certainly the French physicist that created the wheel we use today, the origins of spinning an object and betting on the outcome stretches back much further than the 1800s.
It is well known that Roman soldiers, when not engaged in combat, would kill time by spinning their shields and betting on the outcome. Greek soldiers did a similar thing, also spinning their shields as a form of gambling recreation. Shield spinning isn’t exactly Roulette, but certainly along the same lines.
Even looking beyond these primitive influences, there were other games floating around Europe at the time Pascal was working on perpetual motion. The now virtually unheard-of casino games Roly Poly and Even-Odd both used spinning wheels, and both bore a striking resemblance to the wheel Pascal would eventually call Roulette.
So, although he is credited as the inventor, he clearly took influence from a number of other sources.
An interesting aspect of Roulette that many aren’t aware of is that the 0 did not appear until some time after the wheel was first invented.
The Frenchman’s version was designed to be as fair as possible and remained as such until 1842. It was then that King Charles III of Monaco took an interest, searching for ways to get his faltering kingdom out of financial dire straits. His thoughts turned to casino games, and thus a major Roulette evolution occurred.
Although Charles liked the game as it was and found the mechanics fascinating, he wanted to tip the odds further in the direction of the house. His simple decision to add the 0 seemed small on the surface but resulted in a bigger cut for the house.
Fears were that gamblers would be outraged, but Charles had a solution for that as well. He aimed Monte Carlo squarely at the wealthiest upper-class gamblers, most of which weren’t paying much attention to the mathematics of gambling.
Roulette, and the 0, turned Monaco from a failing kingdom to a place of glitz, high stakes, and gambling.
Going To America
Although the game saw widespread success in Europe, the transition over to the United States in the early 19th century was a rocky road. Brought by European settlers, the version introduced to gambling locals included the additional double 0 pocket. This version had already existed in Europe but had gradually fallen out of popular goodwill due to the 5.26% disadvantage.
In the United States this was the version being pushed.
Additionally American casinos attempted to sway the edge even further towards the house, changing rules to push the 5.26% higher and higher. Not surprisingly locals did not much care for this, and instead turned to much more reasonable casino games such as Blackjack and Poker. It wasn’t for some time that rules were again changed, eventually making the double 0 version the United States standard.
A Modern Move Online
Today the world of online casinos is seen by most as the pinnacle of gambling. You can enjoy all kinds of Roulette – including live dealer, double ball and multi-wheel games- no matter where you live! French, European, and American variants can be played on all corners of the globe, and players can pick and choose their favourites, no plane ticket required.
Casino games online are the ultimate evolution, and Roulette is still seen as a universal classic.