History of Roulette
The first form of roulette was first devised in 17th century France, by the mathematician Blaise Pascal, who was supposedly inspired by his fascination with perpetual motion devices. In 1842, fellow Frenchmen Francois and Louis Blanc added the "0" to the roulette wheel in order to increase house odds.
Roulette was brought into the U.S. in the early 1800s, and again in order to increase house odds a second zero, "00", was introduced - although in some forms of early American roulette the double-zero was replaced by an American Eagle. In the 1800s, roulette spread all over both Europe and the U.S., becoming one of the most famous and most popular casino games. Some call roulette the "King of Casino Games", probably because it was associated with the glamour of the casinos in Monte Carlo. (Francois Blanc actually established the first casinos there).
A legend tells about Francois Blanc, who supposedly bargained with the devil to obtain the secrets of roulette. The legend is based on the fact that if you add up all the numbers on the roulette wheel (from 1 to 36), the resulting total is "666", which is the "Number of the Beast" and represents the devil.
Types of Roulette
There are two types of roulette, American roulette and European roulette. The difference between the two types is the number of 0's on the wheel. American roulette wheels have two "0's", zero and double-zero, which increases the house advantage to 5.3%. In European roulette there is only one zero, giving the house an advantage of 2.7%.
The two versions use chips differently also. American roulette uses so-called "non-value" chips, meaning that all chips belonging to the same player are of the same value determined at the time of the purchase, and the player cashes in the chips at the roulette table. European roulette uses standard casino chips of differing values as bets, which can make the game more confusing for both the croupier and the players.
A traditional European roulette table is also much larger than an American roulette table, and the croupier uses a long tool called a rake to clear out the chips and to distribute winnings. In American roulette the croupier collects and distributes chips by hand.