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Submitted by on Apr 19, 2022

Roulette is a casino game derived from the Italian game Biribi and named from the French term meaning “small wheel.” Players can wager on a single number, several groups of numbers, the colors red or black, whether the number is odd or even, or whether the numbers are high (19″36) or low (1″18) in the game.

A croupier spins a wheel in one way, then spins a ball in the other direction along a slanted circular track running around the wheel’s outer edge to find the winning number. The ball finally loses speed and falls onto the wheel, landing in one of 37 (single zero French/European style roulette), 38 (double zero American style roulette), or 39 (triple zero “Sands Roulette”) colored and numbered pockets. The earnings are subsequently distributed to all bettors who have placed a winning wager.

The original version of roulette was invented in France in the 18th century. Many historians think Blaise Pascal invented an early type of roulette in his hunt for a perpetual motion mechanism in the 17th century. The roulette mechanism is a cross between a 1720 gaming wheel and the Italian game Biribi.

In its current form, the game has been played in Paris since 1796. A roulette wheel is described in the Palais Royal in Paris in 1796 in the French novel La Roulette, ou le Jour by Jaques Lablee, which is an early account of the roulette game in its current form. “There are exactly two spaces earmarked for the bank, from which it receives its single mathematical advantage,” the description said of the house pockets. The arrangement is then described as “two betting areas carrying the bank’s two numbers, zero and double zero.” In the year 1801, the book was released. In 1758, New France (Québec) issued rules prohibiting the games of “dice, hoca, faro, and roulette,” which included a reference to a game of this name.

In the late 1790s, roulette wheels in Parisian casinos featured red for the single zero and black for the double zero. Starting in the 1800s, the color green was chosen for the zeros on roulette wheels to minimize misunderstanding.

In 1843, fellow Frenchmen François and Louis Blanc invented the single 0 type roulette wheel in Bad Homburg, Germany, in order to compete against other casinos that offered the classic wheel with single and double zero house pockets.

There were numbers 1 to 28 on certain early American roulette wheels, as well as a single zero, a double zero, and an American Eagle. The Eagle machine, which was a house slot that gave the casino an additional edge, was a symbol of American liberty. The practice faded quickly, and the wheel now only has numbered slots. “The single 0, the double 0, and the eagle are never bars,” according to Hoyle, “but when the ball falls into either of them, the banker sweeps everything on the table, except what might happen to be bet on either of them, when he pays twenty-seven for one, which is the amount paid for all sums bet on any single figure.”

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