Roulette History and Variations

The word ‘roulette’ means ‘small wheel’ in French, aptly alluding to the roulette wheel. Roulette was first played in Paris in the mid-eighteenth century. Since then, the game has seen many cultural evolutions.

According to popular folklore, the game was invented by the philosopher and mathematician Blaise Pascal. In his attempt to create a perpetual motion machine, he half-accidentally invented the roulette wheel, which has certainly set the casino world in perpetual motion. The French casino owner and entrepreneur Francois Blanc is credited with making roulette popular. He owned the Monte Carlo Casino in Monaco, one of the most fashionable places on the French Riviera at the time.

Once roulette had become popular in nineteenth-century France, new variations of the game developed in the United States and other countries. Roulette is the ultimate game of chance. Players place their bets on certain numbers, colours or other specifications before the wheel is spun and the ball set into motion. There are no techniques or strategies that players can apply to increase their odds of winning. There are however small differences in odds between some of the main variations of the game. These arise from the two different set ups of the actual roulette wheel, the European and American versions.

The cultural and physical differences between these two versions and their effects on the odds of winning need to be understood before you try your luck.

European Roulette

This is the most authentic version you can play, as the game originated in France. On the European roulette wheel the numbers range from naught to thirty-six, excluding the 00 found on American wheels. This gives players a very slight advantage over players of American Roulette, with the odds being one to thirty-seven. At the same time as the odds increasing, the stakes are decreased in European roulette, which means losses should be smaller if you lose. There are also more gaming options and formalities in European roulette, giving you options to try and recover yourself.

American Roulette

In American roulette, the odds of winning are slightly smaller at one to thirty-eight. This is because the American roulette wheel has an extra 00 pocket, which is missing on the European wheel. The numbers on the American roulette wheel are allocated in logically sequential order, with sequential numbers placed opposite each other, while on the European wheel the numbers are randomly assigned.