Casino games come and go but there are a few games that are featured at every casino everywhere in the world. Roulette is one of those games.
What drives roulette’s popularity? The game seems simple, with few challenges. So what is it about roulette that is so compelling?
The word “roulette” conjures up images of a suave James Bond who was portrayed as a roulette aficionado. In the Bond movies, the secret agent wins stacks of chips while sipping his cocktail and enjoying the attentions of beautiful women who stand at his side throughout the game. Who wouldn’t want to have a life like that?
Roulette originated in 18th century France. The game was evolved as a hybrid of mathematician and physicist Blaise Pascal’s attempt to create a perpetual motion machine, combined with the Italian game of Biribi.
The first known mention of roulette was in New France (Quebec) where roulette was banned along with “dice, hoca and faro.” In Jaques Lablee’s late 18th century La Roulette ou le Jour, a description of roulette was provided together with a narrative that described the layout, the pockets and the 0 pocket which was where the game derived “its sole mathematical advantage.”
Early roulette wheels had red for the single zero and black for the double zero. The single 0 style roulette wheel was preferred by many players because it offered a lower house edge but the double 00 wheels were also popular.
By the 19th century, roulette was spreading throughout Europe and the US. It was already one of the most famous and most popular casino games in Europe where the single zero game became the house special in European casinos. In the United States the double zero was the favored type of roulette. The games became known as “European Roulette” (single zero) and “American roulette” (additional double zero).
The French double zero wheel made its way into America’s westward expansion. Devices were often hidden in the table or the wheel as a way of cheating so the tradition began to put the roulette wheels on top of the table to make it more transparent. The double zero wheel continued to be the preferred wheel in America and its popularity spread to Canada, South American and the Caribbean. Elsewhere, the single zero wheel is predominant.
A triple-zero wheel also exists in a few casinos, but not many.
Today the game of roulette is as popular as ever but it packs a totally different appeal. The wheel is the same, the ball is the same, the betting table is the same and the wagering options are the same. But roulette is more popular than ever because the playing field is different. You can play roulette at any land-based casino or at the touch of a button in the comfort of your own home, or on your mobile screen on the go.
Roulette is timeless and it transfers nicely to 20th century technology. The romantic visions of the roulette casinos of years past are just the tip of this game’s eternal allure. The game owes its universal appeal to man’s timeless search for thrills and excitement. Regardless of whether you’re playing at a Vegas casino table or on your gaming device you can achieve a win of hundreds or thousands of dollars in a matter of minutes.
The thing that most people enjoy about roulette is that it’s not totally a game of chance – the player’s betting skills and savvy plays a big part in whether or not he or she will walk away with the prize. The fact that not everything is left to luck – that weighing what type of bet to make, and what type of betting combination to place – plays a part in the ultimate result, is appealing to most casino visitors, both those that play at land-based casinos and those who play online.
Roulette has an advantage over many other table games; it’s easy to play. In its most basic form, the game simply involves trying to predict where a tossed ball will fall in a spinning wheel.
Some people think that the random number generator of online roulette makes it a more random game than its brick-and-mortar counterpart. Others prefer the physical wheel in a land-based casino. There are also players who make it more complicated by exploring the patterns and physics that they believe determine the outcome of the game.
But experience and character traits aside, roulette is fundamentally a game for those who are willing to take risks to see a win. This game can’t be conquered without losing some rounds but the learning curve involved when exploring how to turn losses into wins is part of the process.
Ultimately, roulette relies on your inner drive to win. You can play against other competitors if you prefer a more immersive play or at home on your gaming device if you want it to be just you and the dealer.
Can you beat the house edge at roulette? Yes, but when all is said and done, everything depends on your skill in working the betting table, combined with a good dose of Lady Luck.