Whether you prefer to travel to a brick-and-mortar casino to play live Roulette or play online Roulette from the comfort of your own home, there’s no denying the game’s popularity. Quite often depicted in the movies and the game of choice for many looking to make a quick buck, Roulette’s a lot more interesting than you’d think.
Here are some facts about the much-loved game, you may or may not already know.
The Devil’s Game
Although the name ‘Roulette’ derives from the French for ‘Little Wheel’, Roulette is often referred to as ‘The Devil’s Game’. There are two reasons for this. The first is slightly more obvious – the numbered pockets add up to 666. It doesn’t matter if you’re playing American or European Roulette, the outcome will always be the same – the numbers 1-36 total to make 666.
The other is to do with players that lose and believe that the game was invented by the devil himself. No, we are being serious! 666 featured in the Bible, in the book Revelations and the number is known as ‘the mark of the beast’.
The man credited with creating the concept of a Roulette wheel is Blaise Pascal. A French Mathematician and Physicist, Pascal was obsessed with probability and probably better known for ‘Pascal’s Triangle’. However, when he was looking to devise a perpetual motion machine to enhance his calculator, he accidentally created something which somewhat resembled a Roulette wheel.
All the Origins
While we know where and how the first Roulette wheel was created, nobody seems to know where the game itself came from. Some believe it was a 17th century game called Roly Poly, which was played in England and featured a ball spinning around a wheel. Others believe it was much earlier than that, through ancient civilisations, who would create their own version of the game by spinning a shield or wheel. EO or Even-Odd as it’s also known is another game that could have been an origin or influence – while other games include Ace of Hearts, Biribi, Hoca and Reiner. How many of those have you heard of or played?
17 is considered a lucky number when playing Roulette, with many placing bets on the number which is centrally located on the wheel. It could well be this position that makes it a popular choice, and therefore considered lucky. 17 is the number James Bond opted for in the movies, namely Diamonds are Forever in 1971.
Funnily enough, Sean Connery played 007 in the film Diamonds are Forever and the decade previous, he hit up the Casino de la Vallee in Saint-Vincent, Italy and got lucky. Well, he didn’t get lucky the first time, but persevered and on the second spin, the ball landed on 17. So, he tried again, and it hit for a second time, before going again and it was third time lucky in a row. The odds of it happening three times were 50,653 to 1 and Connery soon scooped up his winnings and left while he was on the up.
Business tycoon, Mike Ashley also placed a bet on 17 at a casino in Mayfair, supposedly his favourite number. He was at the Fifty St James casino for all of 15 minutes when he placed a series of bets around the number 17 and with one spin of the wheel, he walked away with £1.3 million.
Red or Black, Odd or Even – it’s not a 50/50 Chance
Novices believe that placing an even-money bet (red/black, odd/even, high/low) results in a 50/50 chance of winning. That’s not entirely correct, as while there are 18 red pockets and 18 black pockets, 18 odd numbers and 18 even numbers, and 18 low numbers (1-18) and 18 high numbers (19-36), there is another factor to consider: the 0 (or additional 00 if you’re playing American Roulette). The probability therefore of winning an even-money bet in European Roulette is 48.65%; while in American Roulette is slightly less favourable at 47.37% – in both cases, ultimately, less than 50%.