History of Roulette

When you think of the casino table game known as “roulette” you may be envisioning one of two possible versions of the game. There is the “double zero” version so familiar to players in the United States, South America, and the Caribbean; and there is the “single zero” which appears in locations like Monte Carlo and all other casino locations too.

Why the difference? Interestingly, Roulette first appeared in Europe of the 1700s where it was strictly an entertainment of royalty and nobles. Soon, however, the excitement caught on and the game began to appear in many locations. By the 1800s it had crossed the Atlantic Ocean and was making its way up the Mississippi River within the massive passenger carrying steam ships. From there it began to head into the rapidly developing American West. This is the point in the game’s history where it split into two different versions.

The reasons for the changes to the game at this time have to do with two issues – cheating and the house advantage. The major changes implemented in the United States, and soon spreading everywhere else, were to remove the wheel from its built-in format and convert it into a free standing unit and also change the house odds.

Today all “brick and mortar” casinos have roulette wheels that can be physically removed from the tables in order to prevent any sort of mechanical manipulation or cheating on the part of the “house” or casino. The other change was in the addition of set of double zeroes to the wheel. This allowed the casinos to increase their own odds by making any bet a 1 in 38 chance instead of a 1 in 37 venture. 

What does this actually translate to? Well, in any of the single zero wheel casinos, the house edge is 2.70%, while anywhere utilizing the double zero wheels is going to enjoy a 5.26% house edge. This means that the average dollar amount any player is going to lose on any of their bets is much higher on the double zero wheels due to the mathematical statistics created by the addition of the double wheel slot. This has not lessened player’s interest in the game, however.

Throughout the centuries roulette has earned a singular reputation or prestige. Its connections to such luxurious settings as Monte Carlo, and its affiliation to exciting fictional characters like James Bond have only enhanced the popularity of the “King of Casino Games”. Today there are both online and traditional casino versions available for players around the world.