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Extended History of Roulette

The name of roulette comes from French “little wheel”. In this exciting game players bet on either a single number or a range of numbers and try to predict the spot on the wheel where the roulette ball will land.

Questionable origins

The very beginning of roulette is still a subject of discussion among historians. Some of them claim that this most popular casino game has been at first developed in China and spread by Dominican monks. Other historians believe that it all started in Ancient Rome. According to them Roman soldiers used their carriage wheels to spin balls in. The last theory credits the invention of roulette to European travelling carnivals of the 1500s.

Official beginnings (17th Century)

Early roulette wheel designThe origins of one of the most popular casino games in the history of gambling can be found in France. As official inventor of roulette wheel historians consider famous mathematician - Blaise Pascal. He created this world famous game in 1655 by chance. He was looking to develop perpetual motion device. Instead he created the game that is now played in every casino.

Pascal’s design of roulette wheel has been used for about next 200 years.

Spinning around Island

The first record of game using wheel and ball has been found in England in 1720. It’s name was Roly Poly. This game was very popular among royalty and nobility but it has vanished from England around 1740 when all games of chance were banned.

Quick trip through La Manche Canal

Looking for better legal environment roulette moved to France. In the late 1800s, Prince Charles of Monaco decided to introduce there gambling houses. The French aristocrats gave the warm welcome to the new game.

Modern roulette is born (19th Century)

Year 1842 is considered as the beginning of modern roulette wheel. The original Pascal’s design has been modified by two Frenchmen, Louis and Francois Blanc. They’ve made a simple but very important change by adding zero to the range of roulette numbers. Their motivatiom was quite straightforward. Thanks to 37 numbers on the wheel, casino had higher winning odds.

With devil’s help

There was even a tale that Blancs bargained with the devil to obtain the secrets of roulette. The main inspiration of this tale was an interesting fact that if all of the numbers from 1 to 36 are added up you will come up with the sum of “666”, or the number of the beast.

Expanding in the Europe

Although, when they were adding the extra number to the roulette wheel, gambling was already banned in their country of origin (France), it hasn’t stopped them from promoting this game all over the Europe. After Germany abolished gambling in 1860s Francois Blanc moved to Monte Carlo to finally establish the capital of Europe’s casino industry there. The effect was that roulette become a dominant casino game there.

Across Atlantic Ocean

The beginnings of roulette in America19-th century was also a time of roulette popularization in America. As always Americans had to do it a bit different, so they’ve added extra spots on the wheel like double zero and eagle sign. They also simplified the table layout and managed to add more action into betting. Finally Americans stopped using the eagle sign leaving “0” and “00” spots.


Roulette traveled all around the world and went through a many modifications. The game has reached our days in few different variants. Three of them are especially popular: American, European and French Roulette. These differ in rules, payouts and number of slots but the main idea hasn’t changed since ages. At present days there are no casinos that don’t offer roulette game.

Winners-losers, scientists-cheaters?

Almost from the very beginning people all over the world were looking to for a way to increase their winning chances. Some of them used the force of their minds, other were using special devices but all wanted the same – huge money!

Joseph Jagger

Joseph JaggerOne of the firs experiments on roulette has been performed by famous gambler - Joseph Jagger. In 1873 he employed six clerks to write the results of the roulette wheels in a Monte Carlo casino. Using this data he came up that there are some numbers which show more often than others. Before he was caught, he won over 400,000 Francs.

Charles Wells

At 1891 roulette player known as Charles Wells broke the bank at Monte Carlo. In just a couple of sessions he won over 2,000,000 Francs. Due to the sources he hit twenty-three out of thirty spins.

Claude Shannon and Edward O. Thorp

In 1955 Claude Shannon and Edward O. Thorp form Massachusetts Institute of Technology worked on developing a specialized device designed to predict the probability of roulette wheel.


In 1970′s a group of students (called Eudaemons) who graduated at the University of California wanted to develop a kind of small device which was supposed to improve the likelihood of winning in roulette.  In 1978 this device started working. They took it to Las Vegas. It occurred that the small computer is very successful. The average profit was 44% for each dollar. The experiment ended up when an insulation on the machine failed and one of Eudaemons burned a in her skin. Shortly afterwards team stopped their cooperation. Their machine had earned them a winning around $10,000.

Gonzalo Garcia-Pelayo

Gonzalo Garcia PelayoIn 1990′s Gonzalo Garcia-Pelayo spend some time on analyzing the roulette wheels in the Casino de Madrid in Spain. He used a computer model to find out which numbers have been hit the most frequently. Thanks to this date he was able to win over one million dollars in just a few years. When casino management found it out, they’ve sued him but the court ruled in his favor.

Magic wheel

For hundreds of years roulette wheel brought fortunes and bankruptcies, joy and sadness. Even though it had to face bans and cheaters it is still one of the biggest winners in the world’s history.