History of Roulette
Like all other ancient games, the history of roulette is not really known. Some historians believe the game originated from China thanks to the existing communications by the Dominican monks. For some it was the ancient Romans who already used chariot wheels to play. Finally some think it originated in France and Italy.
The founder of the actual system
Although historians disagree on the origins of the roulette but they all seem to agree that Blaise Pascal devised the actual system. In the middle of the 17th century when he was working on a perpetual motion machine. He invented a cylinder in which he span a ball accompanied with a table composed of 36 numbers and several complementary pockets.
How it all started
Strangely enough, the first ones to use it as a game were monks. They played it in monasteries as a way of entertainment. They did not bet any money. This option came later on when it became available in illegal gambling joints.
The Blanc brothers
The Blanc brothers François and Louis introduced a new version of roulette in 1842. He added a zero pocket which enabled the institution to have a 2.7% house advantage. To counter balance this advantage he invented the “prison” option which is available once you leave the zero pocket. When this happens, the player who used the outside bets can either retrieve half of his bet or put it at risk. This option helped reduce the casino’s advantage by 1.35%. Gambling was prohibited during this period. Therefore their roulette was introduced for the first time in Hamburg Germany. It became really popular in Europe and it generated half of the income for the establishments who offered it.
Notoriety of roulette in Monte Carlo
Charles III of Monaco legalised gambling in his kingdom in the beginning of the19th century. He then asked Louis Blanc to help him establish a casino. When Germany banned the game, he agreed to offer it. Together they started the company “des bains de mer” till this day it still manages the “casino du rocher”. Their main objective was to draw the elite to Monte Carlo. Thanks to their goal, they managed to get from the French government a railway line from Nice to Monaco. When France legalised gambling, roulette continued to be exclusive in his kingdom.
Roulette in the United States
During the beginning of the 19th century, the French introduced it in Louisiana in New Orleans. Slowly but surely it became a popular game with the gold diggers in the west of America. In the same period a new pocket was introduced. Double zero which increased the house advantage to about 5, 25%. Some institutions even offered a 31 numbered roulette where the house has a 12.9% advantage. These variants affected the popularity of the game. Whereas in Europe during the same period it generated 50% of the casino revenue only 5% in the United States. At the time of its prohibition roulette became illegal like the other games. After the state of Nevada legalised them, Las Vegas became the mythical capital of gambling. The popularity of the casinos in this city made roulette become one of the most popular games among American players.
Decrease in popularity
This game had a huge success in the casinos and it was the most played game but after the Second World War it lost some of its magic. More and more Americans preferred playing craps. The strategies of blackjack made it profitable for the player and also slots machines were really sought-after. Although roulette is no longer in demand in casinos, many players are still attached to it.
Online casinos have increased since the mid 90s. Each of these websites has to offer a version of roulette. Therefore today the game has new fans and the most interesting offer is that you can play it from the comfort of your own home.