From its accidental origins to its Hollywood credentials, roulette is the most enigmatic game at the casino. Here, we will uncover some of its mysteries, and maybe even provide a tip or two that could help improve your chance of winning next time you take on the wheel at your local casino or online.
An accidental invention
It’s always fascinating to know how things were invented. Newton formulated his theory of gravity when he saw an apple fall from a tree. Alexander Fleming left his laboratory in a mess and found on his return that he had invented penicillin. History is full of accidental inventions and discoveries, and the roulette wheel is among them. 17th century mathematician Blaise Pascal created it by accident while trying to build a machine that could achieve perpetual motion.
European or American?
Pascal’s invention first achieved mainstream popularity in the Italian casinos of the late 18th century. Today, you can play roulette anywhere from the casinos of Macau to the online casino sites in Australia. But you won’t find Australian or Chinese roulette, only European and American. When you get the choice, always opt for the European variety. This has just one zero. American roulette also has a double zero and it effectively means that the average house edge is doubled.
Something wicked this way comes?
Most people accept casino games like roulette as a bit of harmless fun. But there are some who believe gambling is sinful or dangerous. The roulette wheel is sometimes called “The Devil’s Wheel,” and while it is easy for cynics to scoff, anyone with a head for numbers will tell you there is some mathematical evidence to support the theory. When you add up all the numbers on the roulette wheel, they come to 666. If you’re familiar with either the New Testament or the Omen movie franchise, you’ll know that is the number of the beast according to The Book of Revelation.
Have you tried 22 tonight?
There have been numerous famous casino scenes in movies over the years, from Bond playing baccarat in Dr No to Danny Ocean’s high stakes poker game in Ocean’s Eleven. But there’s one that predates them all, and it involves the roulette wheel. The year was 1942 and the movie was Casablanca. Desperate to get money together for travel visas, a young man turns to the roulette wheel as a last resort. Fortunately for him, the casino is owed by Rick Blaine, played by Humphry Bogart. “Have you tried 22 tonight?” asks Rick, before shooting a knowing look at the croupier. The rest, as they say, is history.
Or lucky seven
22 might have been Hollywood’s lucky number, but in Vegas, they stick with tradition. As if to prove that truth is stranger than fiction, two men went to a casino in Las Vegas 18 years apart, one in 1991 and one in 2009, wishing to place a special bet. Each man wanted to place his life savings, a six figure sum, on an even money bet at the roulette wheel. Both times, the casino accepted the bet. Both times, the men placed everything on red. Both times, the ball landed on red number seven.