History of Roulette

Roulette is an immensely popular casino game that originated in France during the 18th century. It is believed that Roulette was originally developed by combining several games into one. These included English wheel-based games called "Roly-Poly", "E.O." and "Ace of Hearts", the Italian board games "Hoca" and "Biribi", and an existing French board game known as "Roulette" (meaning “small wheel”).

In its current form, Roulette is known to have existed as far back as 1796 France. That year, author Jaques Lablee penned the novel "La Roulette, ou le Jour" in which Lablee described the game being played in the Palais Royal Casino in Paris, France.

"There are exactly two slots reserved for the bank, whence it derives its sole mathematical advantage," Lablee wrote, describing the two pockets on the Roulette Wheel that housed the 0 and 00. Written in 1796, the book was eventually published in 1801.

A single-zero version of the game, now known universally as European Roulette, was first introduced in Homburg, Germany by French brothers François and Louis Blanc. Being casino owners themselves, the Blanc brothers developed this version of Roulette to compete with other casinos in the area. By reducing Roulette to a single 0, the house edge was reduced as well, drawing a larger clientele to their own casino establishment.

According to Hoyle gambling books published in 1886, some of the earliest forms of American Roulette actually depicted a Roulette Wheel and Table numbered 1-28, plus the 0, 00 and an American Eagle symbol.

Roulette spread all across Europe and America in the 1800's, becoming arguably the most popular casino game in these regions. The prohibition of gambling in 1860 Germany drove the Blanc brothers to the last legal gambling district in all of Europe - Monte Carlo. Here, François and Louis established the main hub for elite gamblers across the entire continent.

The single-zero version of Roulette quickly became the premier casino game, making its way around the world henceforth. Double-zero roulette became all but obsolete. Only the United States of America chose not to adopt the new version of the game. It is for this reason that double-zero Roulette is traditionally known as 'American Roulette'.

There is an interesting legend regarding the creation of the 36-number Roulette Wheel. It is said that François Blanc made a deal with the devil to receive the hidden secret of Roulette. There is little to base this theory on except that the numbers themselves - 1 through 36 - when added together, reach the ominous sum of 666.

Since its inception in Monte Carlo and subsequent advancement to other major regions of the world, Roulette has become globally known as 'The Game of Kings'.