The game has been played from as early as 1796 in Paris and in 1842, Frenchmen François and Louis Blanc added the “0″ to the wheel so that they could get a house advantage.
In the early 1800s, roulette crossed The Pond into the United States where a second zero, “00″, was added to further increase the house advantage.
(Tip: Always play European Roulette!)
In the 1800s, roulette became popular all over Europe and the United States, becoming one of the most well known casino games. It´s often known as the “King of Casino Games”, thanks to the glamour of the casinos on the French Riviera and Monte Carlo.
Roulette took off in Monaco thanks to Prince Charles, the ruler of Monaco in the 1800′s, who introduced gambling to the principality. Together with Louis Blanc, hes established the Casino Monte Carlo which is considered the holy grail of European casinos are measured.
Even though gambling subsequently became legal in France, roulette in France was only played in Monte Carlo, making its casino popular, and surrounding roulette with a certain glamour.
Weird fact…..if you add up all the numbers on the roulette wheel (from 1 to 36), the resulting total is “666″ The number of The Beast- some say that´s because François Blanc made a pact with the devil to secure the secrets of roulette.
There have been theories that the game actually began in China, and was carried to Europe thanks to trading between the Chinese and Dominican monks. Another theory is that the Romans played games by spinning their chariot wheels when they were on their sides, and this led to roulette (but it seems more like Wheel of Fortune!)
“En Prison” is an option offered in many French casinos, which lowers the house edge for even money wagers down to 1.35%. The en prison rule applies to the outside bets and only when 0 or 00 pops up. If you have a $20 bet on black, for example and zero shows up the dealer gives you the choice of losing half your bet or going “en prison”. If you choose to go into o prison the dealer will put a marker on top of your bet that reads “En Prison.” On the following spin:
If zero or double zero show you lose the $10.
If red shows and you have black you lose the $10
If black come up, the dealer removes the “En Prison” marker and you can now do what you want with that $10.
Roulette became popular up until World War II when Americans began to lose less to the game of craps and they found interest in the fact that blackjack was a beatable game. At that point, roulette became less popular. Despite that, many people still play roulette, and it is the oldest existing game in casinos today.
Even though America’s double-zero, and Europe’s single-zero version roulette were developed in France, The double zero wheel is called the American wheel, as it has survived the longest in the U.S., while Europeans still prefer the single-zero version.
Anyway, you get better odds on European Roulette. Unless you specifically like to bet on the 00, we’d always recommend playing on a single zero wheel. If you can find one that offeres “La Partage Rule” where you get half of your even money bet back if the ball lands in the zero pocket, then even better.