Six Interesting Facts About Roulette

Derived from the French for ‘little wheel’, roulette has a varied history with its predecessors based in ancient civilisations, before moving over to France and the rest of Europe in the 18th century. That said, the game hasn’t changed too much over the years and there’s a reason why it’s known as the ‘Queen of the Casino’ – it’s arguably the most popular and famous casino game around the world. Whether you’re a first-time gambler or seasoned professional, join the fun at:

1. The Number of the Beast

The number 666 is referenced in the Holy Bible and for centuries has been associated with all that is devilish. So, it is no wonder, therefore, that roulette is often known as ‘The Devil’s Game’. The reason for this is that when all the numbers on the wheel are added together, it totals 666 – that is zero, through to 36. It doesn’t matter which version you’re playing too (more on that later), the outcome is always the same. Supposedly, it is said that a game of roulette is so fast-paced that players behave as if they were possessed by the devil, acting in a frantic manner.

2. Never Mind Lucky 7, It’s Lucky 17

Believe it or not, the most widely played number in roulette is 17. Now we aren’t sure whether that’s due to the number’s central location on the table, or because it’s supposedly James Bond’s favourite number. Author Ian Fleming was a keen gambler too – but preferred baccarat. But billionaire businessman and owner of Newcastle United Mike Ashley reportedly stunned gamblers at a casino in Mayfair, when he scooped £1.3 million on a single spin of the roulette wheel – gambling on number 17.

3. The Man Who Broke The Bank… Was A Real Person

It turns out that a real person inspired the song and film with the same name – Charles Deville Wells was the man who broke the bank at Monte Carlo. He was inspired by Joseph Jagger, who in 1873 used six clerks to take notes of every number that hit on the roulette table in the belief that the wheels were mechanically imbalanced and certain numbers would come up more than others. Using this information, he won until he was banned. Wells copied him years later and notched up a win of 23 spins – but was later jailed for fraud and died penniless.

4. Red or Black: It’s Always A 50/50 Chance

The wheel is unpredictable and because a red number hits the first time, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get black on your next spin. Similarly, the chance of hitting the same colour in 10 successive spins is only 1 in 1024. But in 2004, Ashley Revell from Kent sold his possessions (including a Rolex, BMW and golf clubs) and flew out to Vegas where he bet the lot on roulette. He gambled $135,300 on a single spin (red 7) and surprisingly, he won. He used his winnings to set-up an online poker company, inspired by football – that later went bust. 

5. The Roulette Wheel Originally Had A Double Zero

These days, there are two kinds of roulette: European roulette and American roulette. However, when the game came to France in the 18th century, the layout was slightly different to how it is now, with a red zero and black double zero. These were later changed to green to prevent confusion. French brothers Francois and Louis Blanc introduced the single zero style wheel to Germany in the mid-1800s; but the double zero version made its way to the USA. Interestingly, the house odds in the European version are 2.7%, significantly better than the American version which offers odds of 5.26%. Of course, if you’re playing online, you can choose which game you’d like to play.

6. California Roulette – But Not Roulette As We Know It

Certain forms of gambling are still illegal in California and roulette is one of them; however, in 2004 they legalised a form of roulette called California roulette. Based upon the Vegas-favourite, the game is played with a deck of 28 cards, rather than a wheel and a ball. The cards follow suit to the American version of the game but the cards also have the colour and suit similar to an ordinary deck of playing cards. The dealer draws a card from the deck and this will determine the winning bet. 

Published by Larry Fire

I write an eclectic pop culture blog called THE FIRE WIRE that features articles about books, comics, music, movies, television, gadgets, posters, toys & more!

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