It was Albert Einstein who said “You cannot beat a roulette table unless you steal money from it”, and even though the man is an acknowledged genius that has not stopped millions of people from playing, and deeply enjoying, the game of roulette. It is no longer a staple of the “brick and mortar” casinos, however, and is also an online craze as well.
It all began in the late 1700s when it was a wildly popular game in France and throughout the rest of Europe. It soon migrated to the United States where it evolved into a different variety that still exists today, but by the same name.
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Though roulette was the most well-known and regularly played game around the world, by the late 1800s many areas of Europe were banning casinos and the games that were regularly played within their walls, including roulette. Soon there was only one location where the game was legally played, Monte Carlo. The town all ready had a reputation for sophistication, and that same reputation clung instantly to roulette where it remains the “king” of casino games.
Roulette’s history in the United States has no real elegance or refinement attached to it however, and it began its spread throughout the nation on the riverboats that made their way up and down the Mississippi River. From there the game caught on with those heading into the uncharted areas of the American West, and it was there that the game began to take on new characteristics and rules. This was due to the cheating taking place by both owners and players.
The first big change was that the roulette wheels were no longer devices built into the tables, but free standing units that could not be easily tampered with or rigged. The next change was in the betting layout, which was simplified for a significantly faster mode of play, additionally an additional zero, the “double zero”, was added to make winning a bit more likely.
Today the double zero roulette wheels predominate the United States, South America and Caribbean games, while the traditional single zero games remain the standby of Monte Carlo and Europe.
Of all the older casino games being played today, only roulette retains an air of mystique and glamour. This is due to many factors, including the fact that it remains the most popular game in fashionable Monte Carlo, which is still a playground of the super-rich and famous.
The game has also played a role, literally, in some of the world’s most famous films and alternate games. For example, the roulette game is a standard moment in a majority of the famous James Bond films, and the casinos are always those set in Monte Carlo. Also, the classic film “Casablanca” has a very famous scene involving roulette, and the exotic setting only adds to the game’s reputation.
The game has also been transformed into alternate entertainments, such as the famous game show “Wheel of Fortune” in which players spin the wheel to win money as they solve a puzzle. While this is not Roulette in the strictest sense, it does prove just how influential the casino game has been on culture throughout the world.