While the exact origin of Roulette remains a mystery, many believe that a primary version of the game was created and developed by Blaise Pascal, a French mathematician, sometime during the 17th century.
However, evidence suggests that various other cultures could have exercised influence over the development of Roulette. Before we take a look at some of these cultures, here is a brief overview of Roulette to learn more on how it is played.
What Is Roulette?
Roulette is game of chance essentially played on a wheel. This wheel has different slots which hold 36 numbers and a 0 (or 00 depending on where you play). Players are then prompted to place a bet on the table. Players can bet on any single number, one of three vertical rows (12 numbers in total), 12 numbers in three consecutive rows, 2 connected numbers, odd or even numbers, a row of three consecutive numbers, four numbers that are arranged in a square, or the colours red and black. Then the dealer spins a small white ball on the wheel. The ball will land on one of the numbers and the player whose bet matches the slot where the ball landed, wins. In essence Roulette players have to guess the number on which the ball will land.
A theory exists that Roulette is in fact based on an old Chinese board game where 37 animal figurines were grouped into a magic square. This magic square contained numbers to the sum value of 666. The similarity here is with the number 666. If you were to sum the numbers from 1-36, it totals 666. It is believed that the game was created by Dominican monks, who later modified and introduced it to Europe. Allegedly the monks changed the layout from a square to a circle and added an extra slot for the number 0.Unfortunately, there is no information available on how this game was played.
Ancient Rome and Greece
Games similar to Roulette were played by soldiers in Rome and Greece to pass the time and distract from the fact that their friends and comrades were wounded and sometimes even murdered during battle. These games were played by spinning either a shield or a chariot wheel. Greek soldiers drew symbols on the shield, placed it right side down on the ground and an arrow alongside it. They would then spin the shield and bet on which symbol the arrow will point at once the shield comes to a standstill.
While these games resemble Roulette, there is simply not enough to state without a doubt that Roulette is a Greek or Roman game.
France Takes the Cake
Roulette is undeniably French. The word Roulette, if translated directly, means little wheel. It refers to the wheel that is spun when playing Roulette. Roulette’s gameplay and design is believed to be influenced by two very similar games that were popular in Europe in the 17th century. These two games were Even-Odd and Roly Poly. In both games a wheel was spun and players had to bet on the result. Blaise Pascal was an avid gambler, so chances are, he knew about these games when creating his primary version roulette.