Players have an incredible range of Roulette games to choose from these days. The array of games owes its origin to the original trio, namely the European, French, and American variants. That classic trio is intimately bound to the fascinating history of the classic table game.
To play the game, players bet on what they think will be the winning number or wheel slot. The dealer spins the wheel and drops a ball into it. The slot in which the ball lands when the wheel stops spinning is the winning result.
A Game With Scientific Beginnings
While the exact origins of Roulette are unclear, many historians credit 17th century French polymath and scientist Blaise Pascal with creating a primitive form of the game. According to those historians, Pascal tried to develop a machine that was capable of perpetual motion, and what has become the famous Roulette wheel played an important role in his quest.
Other historians suggest that the wheel as we know it was created in 1720, a few decades after Pascal’s death. They claim the earliest form of the game combined a gaming wheel invented that year and elements of the Italian gambling game Biribi.
The Earliest Description
The earliest description of the basic present form of the game dates back to a 1796 French novel titled La Roulette ou le jour by Jacques Lablee. The novel describes a wheel in Paris’ Palais Royal, which is mentioned as having two slots reserved for the bank, numbered 0 and 00. Those slots were coloured red and black respectively. The colours were later changed to green to avoid confusion.
That said, an earlier mention of the game is found in a 1758 book of regulations for New France (modern-day Quebec, Canada). Rather than describing the game, the book simply mentions that it was banned along with other games including dice, Faro, and Hoca.
The Single 0 Is Introduced
After moving from France to Germany after the banning of casinos in the 19th century, the brothers François and Louis Blanc took over management of the casino in the spa town of Bad Homburg. In 1843, the Blanc brothers introduced a Roulette wheel with a single 0 pocket, which gave the game a lower house edge than games that used wheels with 0 and 00 pockets.
Their plan to compete against other casinos worked, and soon they started welcoming players in droves. From there, the single-0 wheel started spreading to other gambling establishments.
The Game In America
Roulette was brought to North America by immigrants, where it became a popular game in riverboat casinos. Initially, some early American Roulette wheels had 0 and 00 slots as well as a slot featuring an American eagle, which was also counted as one of the bank’s slots. However, it wasn’t long before the eagle slot was removed from the wheel, leaving it with numbered slots only.
Roulette travelled from New Orleans up the Mississippi, and then it spread to the west. At that time, the wheel was behind or below the table, which made it easier for croupiers and players to cheat. Eventually, the wheel was placed on the table as a way to discourage cheating and the betting options were simplified. The move was followed by casinos in other countries.
No other changes were made to the game for more than a century. The rise of online casinos and developments in technology over the past few decades has seen new variations of Roulette develop. However, most of them are variations of one or more of the classic trio of European, French, and American Roulette.
European Roulette is the form of the game introduced by the Blanc brothers in Bad Homburg. The wheel has red and black slots numbered 1-36 and a single green slot numbered 0. The betting options include inside bets on specific numbers, and outside bets on colours, types, and groups of numbers, such as red/black, odd/even, and dozens (three groups of 12 numbers). Most outside bets have a 48% chance of winning and they pay even money.
The European variant is widely regarded as being the friendliest to players and the best place for beginners to start. The house edge is low, and the betting options are easy to understand.
Even though French Roulette wheels originally had 0 and 00 slots, the format has changed to a single 0 pocket. This means the French variant has the same low house edge as the European version.
When it comes to betting options, French Roulette offers inside bets, outside bets, and special bets. The inside and outside bets are the same as those found in the European variant. The special bets, however, are unique.
Also known as call bets, they include Voisins du zero (Neighbours of zero), Jeu 7/9 (Game 7/9), Orphelins en plein (Orphans in the open), Orphelins a cheval (Orphans on horseback), Finales a cheval (Finals on horseback), Finales en plein (Finals in the open), Tiers du cylindre (Thirds of the wheel). Each of the special bets covers several numbers or sections of the wheel.
French Roulette games and tables often use the La Partage (sharing) rule, which can work in players’ favour. According to the rule, if a player places an even-money bet that they lose because the ball landed in the 0 pocket, half their bet amount is returned to them.
Offered in casinos and online casinos around the world, American Roulette continues the old tradition of using a wheel with 0 and 00 pockets. While this gives the game a higher house edge than the European and French variations, it also means the payouts can be slightly higher.
Most versions of American Roulette offer the traditional inside and outside bets as well as one special bet not available in other versions of the game. That bet is the Top Line or Basket bet, which covers several slots, one of which is the 00.
Modern Variations Of Roulette
The classic trio provides an excellent foundation for game developers who also create the entertainment found at betbig dollar bonus codes to create modern versions of Roulette. Mostly offered by online casinos and online live dealer casinos, some versions use two balls instead of one, while others include a progressive jackpot offering or use random number generator (RNG) software to produce bonus numbers with payout multipliers.
Who would have thought that a scientific quest more than 300 years ago would have resulted in a popular casino game that has stood the test of time.