The spinning coloured wheel, the clack-clack-clack of the ball, and the gasps of players waiting for the winning results is one of the greatest experiences of the casino world. Roulette is a true classic among games, with a long and fascinating history.
It’s also a game of myths, legends, and all manner of weird and wonderful curiosities. Explore some of the best of them with River Belle.
Strange but True Roulette Curiosities
- The spookiest of all roulette legends is that a man by the name of François Blanc met the devil one night, and made a bargain to learn the secrets of the game and its wheel. We don’t know whether the legend is true or not, but by strange coincidence, all the numbers on the wheel add up to 666, believed by some to be the beast’s number.
- The roots of roulette go back to the workshop of 17th century French scientist, Blaise Pascal, whose actual intention was to invent a machine of perpetual motion. The game as played now has undergone many developments, such as incorporating elements from early games such as Roly-Poly, Ace of Hearts, and Biribi.
- The familiar red, black, and green wheel was initially set into the table. It was only as the game spread across the USA that the wheel was placed on top of the table. This, along with the simplification of the betting layout, was to eliminate the huge amount of cheating by dealers, operators, and players.
- The dividers that separate the pockets in roulette wheels are known as frets. One of the practical purposes they serve is to make the ball bounce around the wheel. This increases the randomness of the results, and provides what must be the most evocative of all sights and sounds in a casino.
- The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo in 1891, the world’s most iconic casino, did it by playing roulette. His name was Charles Wells, and he was a petty criminal from London. It took him a week, but he managed to clean out the bank of each of the casino’s tables.
- Usually named in French, the game’s call bets are among its most well-known of betting options. One of those is Jeu zero, or Zero Game, which is a bet placed on numbers 12, 35, 3, 26, 0, 32, and 15. Despite its French name, the bet actually originated in Germany as Zero Spiel.
- One of the most recent roulette developments happened as recently as 2004, where some of the American version’s rules were changed to create the Californian version of the game.
- In 1873, Joseph Jagger, who no doubt had the swagger, employed clerks to observe and analyse Beaux Arts Casino’s roulette tables, in the hope of finding a flawed wheel. Two years later, Jagger played the game and landed a 14 000 pound win.
- English illusionist Derren Brown claimed to be able to predict the results of roulette wheel spins using the laws of physics. In October 2009, he bet several thousands of pounds belonging to a member of the public on the number eight. The wheel spun, the ball bounced and… landed on 30. To be fair, 30 is right next to eight on the wheel.
- In 1992, Polish politician and member of the European Parliament, Paweł Piskorski, wasn’t entirely honest when he had to explain his income to the country’s tax service. According to Piskorski, he won 4,950,000,000 Zloty playing roulette, which at that time had a house maximum of one million Zloty.