From Paris to Monte Carlo – This is the Story of Roulette
Spinning the wheel and intensively following the bouncing ball to see if it will land on your number or color can be both thrilling as well as gut-wrenching. Whatever the outcome or whatever your feelings are, the popularity of the game we call Roulette is through the roof. Who knew this ball could have such power over us? Luckily it doesn’t respond to bribes or threats, could you imagine the profanities it would have had to endure over the years?
How did this idea of a game even begin and when? Let’s take a seat and learn some new information that could score you some real points as a cocktail party topic of discussion.
Roulette – Little Wheel
We would have to go back to 18th century France to find an early version of the game. The mechanism of the game is based on a hybrid of a gaming wheel from 1720 and an Italian game called Biribi. If we look at the game in its present form, however, it was referred to in an 1801 French novel, La Roulette – Ou le Jour, to have been played in Paris in 1796.
Casinos across Paris in the late 1700s used a different color scheme than today. For the single zero, the chosen color was red while the double zero was black. These pockets were also referred to as being reserved for the bank, or house. During the 1800s however, the color green was introduced to avoid any confusion amongst the players.
The Blanc Brothers
The single zero style wheel came about in Germany in 1843, when the French twin brothers, Francois and Louis Blanc introduced it in an attempt to differentiate themselves from the casinos in Paris that were still only using the single and double zero version. The move to the German town of Hornburg became an immediate success and attracted the rich and famous to come and play.
The Game Begins to Spread
The popularity and interest of the game start to take off and the game starts spreading across Europe, as well as the U.S, during the 19th Century. It is becoming one of the most popular casino games around, but when gambling was shut down by the German government in 1860, the Blanc brothers made the decision to head south to Monaco, as the Prince of Monaco recently had legalized gambling.
Francois Blanc became the first person to develop a casino in Monaco and turned the whole place into what it is today, quickly earning the nickname “The Magician of Monte Carlo.” The roulette wheel with the single zero really made its mark and became the premier casino game around the world.
No More Cheating
The game kept spreading and the French version with the double zero made it across the Atlantic and across the United States. Everyone wanted a piece of the action, but because of all the cheating from both operators as well as players, the wheel was now placed on top of the table. Protecting the wheel from being tampered with and for everyone to see, this was now the standard, together with a simplified layout of the numbered area on the table. This new version later evolved into the American-style roulette we see today.
Single Zero vs Double Zero
The 1970s was when the casino business really began to take off and spreading rapidly across the world. History still has a major impact on the game, as the double zero is the standard wheel in U.S, Canada, South America and the Caribbeans, while the Blanc brothers single zero wheel is the king in most other places around the world.
As a fun fact, The Venetian Casino in Las Vegas made the move to introduce the first triple-zero roulette wheel in 2016. This has now been adopted a few more places. What will be the next addition to this historical jackpot idea? Who knows!
Learning the history of this fantastic game has really made us see it differently and it will without a doubt be on top of our mind next time we hit the tables. It should definitely make it even more fun. We can’t wait!