The game of roulette has a pretty interesting origin story and a few interesting origin myths and legends. Roulette became one of the most played casino games in Europe soon after it was introduced to the world, and just like it’s the case with many popular trends and phenomena, the origin stories started to pile up. People wanted to dig up facts about ancient games that could’ve inspired the creation of this game. At the time roulette was made, there were not many casino games at all, let alone that complex and dynamic.
The stories about how the Devil’s wheel was designed were piling up. However, the true story about the magic wheel with 38 numbers is far more interesting and unexpected than any of the roulette origin myths. But before we unveil the facts about the origin of roulette, let’s give a few moments of our time to those fun myths about this game.
Modern roulette is not the first game in history that is based on spinning the wheel and playing with 38 numbers. So naturally, people would see some connection between modern roulette and ancient wheel-based games. However, historical data on these ancient games is mostly lost, so we only know a few things about them. Thus, it would be unfair to judge how much these games were similar to modern roulette. However, even though these ancient games don’t shed a lot of light on the origin of roulette, they let us have an insight into the pastimes of ancient soldiers and civilians. Now, let’s jump to the first myth.
The Myth About the Chinese
The first myth takes us to the Far East, to the land of arts, crafts, and inspiring philosophy. We are, of course, talking about China. Many fun gambling games and puzzles come from China, so it’s not surprising that people thought the Chinese had something to do even with the game of roulette. History tells us that long ago, the Chinese had their game of chance that featured 38 figurines and numbers that would add up to 666 (just as in roulette). However, we don’t know much else about this game, so we can’t say for sure if it inspired modern roulette in any way.
The Myth About the Ancient Greeks
Ancient soldiers invented many fun games and games of chance simply because they had to spend a lot of time in the battlefields, away from their homes or on night watches. Besides, their lives were filled with hardships, and they needed something that would get their minds off of the everyday stressful situations. Among other games of chance, ancient Greek soldiers liked to have fun with one game that was played with a shield. Before the game, soldiers would draw various symbols inside the shield.
Afterward, the soldiers would put a shield on the ground and place an arrow beside it. The tip of the arrow would face the shield. One soldier would spin the shield, and when it stopped, the arrow would point at one particular symbol. Sounds a bit like roulette? Well, maybe, but we still can’t say for sure if this particular game has inspired anything.
The Myth About the Romans
Just as ancient Greek soldiers, Roman soldiers too had to clear their heads and cheer themselves up a bit. SO they also liked to play one game that resembles modern roulette. The game was played by spinning the chariot wheel. Also, besides this game, Roman soldiers also liked to gamble by spinning their shields. Did these games have anything to do with modern roulette? We can’t be sure about that, but we can say one other thing — people loved to gamble and spin some wheels since the dawn of time.
We talked a little about interesting theories and myths, but now, it’s the time for facts. As far as history is concerned, the game of roulette wasn’t inspired by the games of ancient soldiers nor the exotic Chinese games. Roulette was, in fact, made almost accidentally as a result of a failed technological project. French mathematician and physicist Blaise Pascal was the one who invented the Devil’s wheel, and in some way, unintentionally. Pascal wasn’t looking to create a gambling game when he made roulette. In fact, he wanted to make a perpetual motion machine — a device that would represent one of the greatest scientific and technological achievements. Instead, he ended up making a gambling game. Well, we are sorry that Pascal didn’t invent the perpetual motion machine and managed to make his big dream come true, but we are glad that he invented this fun game.
The Beginnings of Roulette in Europe
The history of roulette goes back to the 18th-century France. Even though the game was invented in the 17th century, some time had to pass before the game got its final design and was ready to enter casinos. During the 18th and 19th century, the game of roulette swept Europe off its feet. People in France, Germany, and Italy spent hours and hours in casinos playing this game. Roulette was a big innovation in the world of gambling at the time, and players fell in love with it.
So soon after gamblers fell for French roulette, other styles of this game started to show up. Besides this classic version, there is also European roulette that features a few different betting rules. However, the real change came with American roulette, which modified a bit more than only the rules of betting.
Why Is American Roulette Different?
American version of roulette features a different roulette table and a different house edge. The slot on a roulette wheel that is marked with number zero is there to make the house feel secure — that slot is reserved for the casino. However, unlike European versions of roulette, American roulette has 0 and 00. These two zero slots create a bigger house edge in American roulette.
Now when you play roulette at online casinos, you can always remember this interesting story of how this game was created almost as an accident. Roulette might be a reminder of a technological failure, but it will always be a victory for the world of gambling. So next time when you win an online roulette game, you can take a moment to thank Pascal, the person that introduced this fun game to the world.