The History of Roulette

The Man That Started It All

The Roulette wheel was invented by a French physicist, inventor, and mathematician named Blaise Pascal. Initially, Pascal wasn't trying to invent a casino game. In 1655, Pascal tried to invent a perpetual motion machine.

A a perpetual motion machine is a machine that continues to operate without drawing energy from an external source. The laws of physics say it's impossible, but being an inventor, Pascal was attempting to defy the odds. His experiment failed, but the process gave birth to one of the most popular casino games of all time.

Adding the Zero

Fun fact, the zero didn't exist on the Roulette wheel until the mid-19th century. The Roulette wheel as invented by Pascal remained the same for centuries. That all changed in 1842, when Francois and Lois Blanc designed a Roulette wheel with a single zero on it, specifically for King Charles III of Monaco. This was a massive deal because adding a zero gave the house a bigger house edge.

With his kingdom facing some financial trouble, Charles built a casino and brought the Roulette wheel to the masses. The wheel generated a lot of income for Monaco, and it quickly became an important symbol for Monte Carlo's culture of upscale gambling. What's more, the Roulette wheel with the single zero hit the market at the same time that France had outlawed gambling, making Monte Carlo even more desirable.

Coming to America

Roulette wouldn't escape American influence. In the 1800s, Roulette made its way across the ocean and onto US shores. To give the house an even bigger edge, a double zero was added to the Roulette wheel. That means that instead of 37 numbers, the American Roulette wheel would have 38 numbers (1 through 36, 0, and 00).

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