Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The History of Roulette

roulette

Roulette is believed to have originated from French culture as the name is a French word which actually means "small wheel". There have been stories, however, that the game actually began in China, and was brought to Europe by communications between the Chinese and Dominican monks. Further stories have shown that the game may have also originated in Europe, as ancient Romans used to play games by spinning chariot wheels on their sides.

The game of roulette as we know it dates back as far as the 17th century to a famous French scientist named Blaise Pascal. It is believed that the game is a product of Pascal's attempts to build a perpetual motion machine, but some say that this is actually just a story.

The year 1720 saw the first spinning ball and rotating horizontal wheel combination to be used as methods of gaming. This game was called "roly-poly". The gaming acts of 1739 banned this game in England. Beau Nash, the Master of Ceremonies at Bath England, ignored these laws, and began a new game called "Even-Odd" which was similar to roulette. This game too was banned in 1745.

The game carried on developing over the next fifty years, into the one that we all know today. Paris casinos featured the modern roulette wheel around 1796, which had similar elements to today's roulette wheels. Europeans visiting New Orleans, Louisiana in the 1800's introduced roulette to the United States. People began to stop playing roulette as gaming establishment proprietors became greedy. As proprietors become greedier, more and more gamblers became unhappy with the 5.26% house edge, and were even more outraged when some roulette operators made a 31-number wheel which had a staggering 12.9% house edge.

The single "0" roulette game was invented in 1842 by two French brothers named Francois and Louis Blanc. From then on the history of roulette began to drastically change. The house edge was reduced from 5.26% to 2.70%, and the game became a remarkable success. Gambling was illegal in France at the time, so it was piloted in Hamburg (Bavaria), Germany and was both profitable and well-liked.

Roulette became popular up until World War II when Americans began to lose less to the game of craps and they found interest in the fact that blackjack was a beatable game. At that point, roulette became less popular. Despite that, many people still play roulette, and it is the oldest existing game in casinos today.

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