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The History and Origins of Roulette: Blaise Pascal, the Inventor of the Wheel [founder, inventor]




The Legend

If you add up all the numbers on the wheel ( 1 through 36), you’ve got a total that can only be described as devilish. Yes, that’s 666. Legend has it that the inventor of the single zero Roulette wheel made a deal with the devil to obtain winning Roulette secrets.

The History

Roulette is all about odds, house edges, and statistics. It should come as no surprise that the Roulette wheel was actually invented by Blaise Pascal, a French physicist, inventor, and mathematician. But Pascal wasn’t trying to invent a casino game. In 1655, Pascal tried to invent a perpetual motion machine. So what he was actually looking for a machine that continues to operate without drawing energy from an external source.

The Discovery

His experiment failed, but the process gave birth to one of the most popular casino games of all time. And that’s how Roulette was invented.

“Roly Poly”, “Ace of hearts” and “Even-Odd”
and in Italian “Biribi” and “Hoca”

All these are the names under which one can find historical references for the game. The present name Roulette in French means “Small Wheel” and it has come to us from the English word “Roly Poly”.


Take a note, that the zero didn’t exist on the Roulette wheel until the mid-19th century. The Roulette wheel, invented by Pascal remained the same for centuries. It was in 1842, that Francois and Lois Blanc designed a Roulette wheel with a single zero on it, specifically for King Charles III of Monaco and changed the game completely. The significance of this change, was that the zero gave the house a bigger house edge.

European vs American

Today, the double zero wheel is considered the American style and the single zero wheel is the European style. After centuries of play, the American version of the betting table was simplified for quick bets and fast action.
The French, or European style, remains more traditional in its layout. Depending on which country you play, you will still find either a single or double zero roulette wheel.

Charles III of Monaco

Here is an inventive way to solve your debt troubles. With his kingdom facing some financial trouble, Charles built a casino and brought the Roulette wheel to the masses. The wheel generated a lot of income for Monaco, and it quickly became an important symbol for Monte Carlo’s culture of upscale gambling.

What’s more, the Roulette wheel with the single zero hit the market at the same time that France had outlawed gambling, making Monte Carlo even more desirable.

Arriving to America

As we like it, we always have our own way of approaching the things. Hence in 1800s, when the Roulette made its way across the ocean and onto US shores the game had added another change. To give the house an even bigger edge, a double zero was introduced onto the Roulette wheel. That means that instead of 37 numbers, the American Roulette wheel would have 38 numbers (1 through 36, 0, and 00).