The exact history of Roulette is unknown although there are many different theories about its origins. The most popular theory about the history of roulette is that a mathematician called Blaise Pascal created the game in France during the 17th century. While he was searching for a perpetual motion machine he came up with the idea of a primitive form of roulette. Although some believe that an earlier version of a roulette type game originated in China, and the game was brought to Europe through the spice trade routes. Another more elaborate theory is that a man called Francois Blanc sold his soul to devil for the secret of roulette, Francois Blanc founded the first ever casinos in Monte Carlo. They say roulette is the devil’s invention because if you add all of the numbers up on a roulette wheel they total 666, a number commonly associated with the devil.
Roulette as a game, however, has been played in its present form since 1796. It is believed that roulette is a mix of several games – Ace of Hearts, Biribi, E.O., Hoca, Reiner, Roly-Poly and Roulette, a French board game.The earliest reference to roulette was published in 1758 in the regulations for Quebec, then New France. Later on, Jaques Lablee described roulette in his novel La Roulette, ou le Jou where he wrote about a roulette wheel that was used in 1796 in Palais Royal. The novel was published and released in 1801.
Paris casinos used red for single zero and black for double zero in the late 18th century. 1800s saw green replace both these colors. The single zero roulette wheel was introduced in 1843 in Homburg, a German spa and casino town, by Louis and Francois Blanc. Their intention was clear – they wanted to compete against casinos offering the traditional single and double zeros.
The American roulette wheels, at the same time, around 1886, had a slightly different format. There were slots for numbers 1 through 28 and there were three additional slots filled by 0, 00 and the American Eagle. The slot for the American Eagle gave the casino the extra edge. However, the eagle was soon abolished. This information was available in the Hoyle gambling books.
Roulette became the most popular casino game in the US and Europe in the 19th century. The Blanc brother moved to Monte Carlo when the German government abolished gambling in the 1860s. Monte Carlo soon became the haven for the rich and the famous and the single zero wheel became the premier roulette wheel. It was adopted the world over except in the US where the double zero continued to be used.
Roulette moved up the Mississippi in the US and soon became the game everyone wanted to play. The wheels were now placed on top of the table to prevent fraud. Compared to the Monte Carlo roulette of leisure and style the American game brought forth simplification and fast action.
Roulette today is more popular than ever as thousands of casinos worldwide offer this game and it is even playable on the television.
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