Roulette, the casino game named after the French diminutive for “little wheel” was first devised in 18th Century France and has been played in its present form since as far back at 1796.
During the 1800s the game spread all over Europe and even the United States of America and it quickly became the most famous and popular casino game in the world. In 1843 Francois and Louis Blanc took the game to Germany but they had to make a retreat in the 1860s after the German government abolishing gambling.
This forced the Blanc family to head to Monte Carlo where they created a gambling Mecca for Europe’s elite, a legacy that remains even today. It is because of the move to Monte Carlo that Roulette is often referred to as “The King of casino games” although some call it the “Devil’s Wheel” due to the fact the numbers 1-36 add up to 666, which is said to be the number of the beast.
The rules of roulette are simple and uniform around the world although in the USA, South America and the Caribbean there is an extra zero on the board where the rest of the world uses a single zero. The zero on the board is significant as it is one of the numbers that helps give the casino its edge and is rarely bet on by players.
The most common bets made on the board are on individual numbers, which pays out 35-to-1 (on an American board), a split which pays 17-to-1, a street at 11-to-1 and a corner that pays out 8-to-1. For the more risk averse players there are a number of betting options outside the board where players can bet on whether the ball will land on an odd or even number, red or black or in the first, second or third dozen numbers. These pay out much less odds, evens in the case if odd/even or red/black or 2-to1 in the case of the “dozen” bets.
Throughout history there have been a number of Roulette based stories that have made the headlines. Back in 1873 a Briton by the name of Joseph Jaggers and a team of six accomplices exploited a faulty, or biased, wheel in Monte Carlo and managed to get away with $325,000, a significant sum in those days.
More recently, in 2004, Ashley Revell sold every single one of his possessions, including his clothing, and managed to raise $135,300. He travelled to the Plaza Hotel in Las Vegas where he placed his entire net worth on “Red” in a double or nothing bet. The ball finally stopped on “Red 7” and Revell walked away with $270,600!