Fascination of the game – The History of Roulette

We’re back with another casino history lesson as part of our Fascination of the Game series. Don’t panic, there won’t be a test at the end, but if you’ve found this blog and are a regular visitor to grosvenorcasinos.com, then we’re assuming you’re already a fan of casino games – and if not, then what are you doing here?! Just kidding, we still think you’ll find this interesting!

This week we’re delving deep (or as deep as you can in 700 words) into Roulette, one of our most popular casino games. Are you ready?

Once There Were Two Zeros

Roulette has changed a lot since it first began, but perhaps the biggest change has been from the number of zeros that have appeared on the wheel. When it was first invented in 1655, there were no zeros at all because it was meant as a friendly game between two people, with no house odds to be stacked against. When it was introduced to casinos, a single zero was added to up the ante (and the excitement), then further down the line another zero was added so that casinos could make some money from players – the two zeros aren’t part of the odds, so the player no longer has a 50/50 chance of winning. Casinos eventually wanted to stand out from each other and the easiest way to do that was to drop a zero again to give the player more of an advantage (you’re welcome). This became so popular that the second zero got snubbed completely and the single zero game took over Europe. However, if you’re in America then make sure to look out for the second zero as this is still quite common over there. Sneaky. 

The Devils Game

You probably don’t know roulette by any other name, but if you’re across the pond then you might hear it referred to as The Devil’s Game. You’d be forgiven for thinking there was some spooky reason, such as people becoming possessed when playing or seeing Lucifer amongst the wheel, but the real reason is a bit more mundane. If you add up the numbers of the entire roulette wheel, then you’ll get 666 – the number of the devil. It’s really just a maths problem but it’s still a cool name, so we’ll forgive them. Oh, and this fact has also given birth to the legend that Francois Blanc, one of the inventors of roulette as we know it today, struck a deal with the devil to learn the secrets of roulette. We like that fact more.

Some quick-fire facts:

  • Roulette means “little wheel” in French.
  • It wasn’t meant to be a casino game at all, but instead a perpetual motion machine – which is a machine that operates without any energy from an external source and basically defies gravity. This is still seen to be impossible, but a French physician wanted to give it a go. He failed, but Roulette was born instead. Every cloud, eh?
  • The dealer at a roulette table is called The Croupier. Much cooler than a blackjack dealer who is just called, well, The Dealer.

Did you find this interesting? We hope so. If you want to learn more about the history of your favourite casino games so that you can impress all* of your mates, then keep an eye on our blog. We’re planning to release new posts in the Knowledge of the Game series every week, and we’ve already covered topics such as The Origins of a Pack of Cards and The History of Dice. They won’t help you play any better, but you’ll be able to whip out some cool facts every time you play.

*We reckon at least one mate will be impressed. Probably Dave.

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