There are plenty of iconic casino games but one of the games that often features in film casino scenes is roulette. There’s something about this classic table game that draws players in.
Part of it is the hypnotic effect of watching the ball bouncing around the wheel as it spins quickly at first, and then gradually slows down so you can see which numbers the ball is bouncing on and begin to guess where it might come to a halt.
The excitement that you get playing at roulette tables, especially in new UK casinos is second to none compared to other games. Few others hold the same level of suspense and anticipation. But when the result is so random, why do so many people bet on it?
For the answer to that, we have to go back to the beginning.
Who Invented Roulette?
Roulette, as we know it today, was invented by Blaise Pascal in the mid-17th century. However, other similar games with a wheel and spinning ball have been around for many centuries. In fact, the true origins of roulette maybe Chinese.
Pascal’s version was named roulette – the French word for a small wheel. The wheel back then was identical to the one used today in American roulette, with a zero and double zero. The only difference was that the zero was on a red background and the double zero on a black background. Some players found this confusing, so the green background for the zeros was adopted.
Modern European roulette now features a single zero, which reduces the house edge. This version was invented by Francois and Louis Blanc in 1842, but as gambling was illegal in France at the time, they took the game to Hamburg, Germany.
Following the banning of gambling in Germany, Francois and Louis Blanc took the game to Monaco, where they established a casino so that their game could be played. Until 1933, roulette was available to play exclusively in Monaco. That led to the development of Monaco as the world-famous resort it is today.
Variations Of Roulette Around The World
When roulette was taken to the States, the double zero was reintroduced and today, for the most part, double zero roulette wheels dominate. In contrast, Europe has remained loyal to the single zero roulette table.
An additional difference is the ‘la partage’ rule, which you’ll find in European and Atlantic City versions of roulette. This means that if a player has placed an even money bet and the next outcome is zero or double zero, the player can choose between placing the bet ‘en prison’ to see the outcome of the next spin or surrender half the bet instead.
Of course, when you play roulette online it’s easy to find all the variants and there are many different sites where you can play. With so many people playing online roulette today, it’s not unusual for there to be some amazingly big wins.
Huge Roulette Wins
But huge wins at the roulette wheel aren’t a modern phenomenon. The most famous win in history probably belongs to Charles Wells who once spent a solid eleven hours at the roulette table in Monaco in 1892. He became known as the man who broke the bank at Monte Carlo, but unfortunately, he went on to gamble away all his winnings and died penniless.
In terms of big roulette wins, Ashley Revell is next on the list. In 2004 he took his entire life savings and went to Las Vegas, with the intention to wager them all on roulette.
And it wasn’t just his savings. He also sold his house, his car, and everything he owned including all of his clothes. Every single penny he had amounted to $135,000. Then he took that money and put it all on one bet – red.
The ball landed on Red 7 and in one spin of the roulette wheel, Revell had doubled his net worth. Not tempted to try his luck any further, he walked out of the casino with $270K. That kind of bet takes a huge amount of guts. It’s also the reason people love roulette – you can literally change your life in one spin.