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Roulette Is Simple and Fun

14 Dec 2019

By John Marchel
It takes very little time and effort to learn to play roulette in the casino. All you have to do is pick a few numbers or colors you like, and you are playing.

The game itself traces its origin to England in the early 1700s in a game called Roly Poly, it featured black and while spots with no numbers. Later on, the French revised it in the late 1700s to include numbers. That game was known as “Even-Odd” or “E-O”.

Original American wheels had 31 numbers plus a 0, 00, and an American eagle for a third zero type number. Later, both the American and European wheels incorporated 36 numbers plus the zeros. Finally, in the late 1800s European casinos set their wheels with the 36 numbers and one zero. American casinos settled on the 36 numbers but included a 0 and 00.

Roulette remains the most popular game in European casinos, but one of the least played games in American casinos. The big difference between the two wheels is the odds. With a 0 and 00 the odds against the player is 5.26 percent (American wheel). With only one 0 the odds for the player is reduced to only 2.70 percent (European wheel). By the way, you can find both wheels in some American casinos.

One option at roulette is to play black or red positions instead of numbers. Think of it this way. If you bet $10 on the Pass Line in craps and you win, you get $10. Same if you put $10 bet at the blackjack table, you win and get $10. But if you bet the $10 on a number at roulette you expect $350! That sounds great. But due to the odds, it is a very long-shot to win. If you bet on red or black, it matches the same rate ($10 win) for craps and blackjack. What amount you bet; you’ll be rewarded with even-money. And, more importantly, you have a greater chance of making that win than you do with a single number wager.

A lot of players bet birthdays or anniversary dates, specific numbers or a combination of numbers. All are considered long-shots. Number bets are known as “inside” bets. The “outside” bets are Red-Black, Odd-Even, High-Low, and they pay one-to-one. You can also play columns (inside, middle or outside, 12 number columns) and dozens (first dozen 1-12 or second dozen 13 to 24 or third dozen 25 to 36), they pay 2 to 1. It all boils down to you. Are you an aggressive player or a conservative one? Do you like betting on the long-shots or are you the slow and steady bettor? Your choice!


• At the beginning of the 19th century it was the aristocratic refugees from the French Revolution that brought French Roulette to England. Thanks to a greater variety of bets offered the game was a lot more attractive for the players than the old “E-O” game. Eventually European Roulette completely replaced its English predecessor.

• On the American roulette wheel, the numbers are placed in pairs on the opposite side of each other. On the European roulette wheel, the numbers are placed randomly, therefore there is no set place for any number.

• It was in 1875 that Francois Blanc, the managing director, of the Monte Carlo casino, in Monaco directed that the roulette ball should always be spun in the opposite direction to the wheel.

• Ray Smith, the owner of Harolds Club in Reno, Nevada introduced penny roulette in 1937 to help drum up business for his new casino.

• The roulette wheels in Belgian originally had no zero. The casinos charged a five percent and later a seven and one-half percent commission on all wins. Later, in 1978 the zero was installed and the commission eliminated.

• In 1986 Billy Walters challenged the Golden Nugget Casino in Atlantic City to a ‘freeze-out’ game of roulette. He proposed to deposit US$2 million, which the casino was required to match. Walters said he would play until either he had won the casino’s $2 million or they had won his. Management agreed and play commenced. With each spin of the wheel, Walters played bets of $2000 on five numbers. After 18 hours of play he had won the casino’s $2 million. He then asked if the casino wanted to continue playing? Expecting to get its money back, management agreed. Walters eventually decided to quit when he had won $3.8 million.

• At one time the Monte Carlo casino in Monaco had 65 roulette tables, but no more than 22 might be in action on any given evening. They also had a staff of 530 croupiers or dealers.

• In the early 1990s, Gonzalo Garcia-Pelayo tracked numbers and used a computer to find roulette wheels with construction flaws, (today we call them “biased” wheels) such as tilts, which than favored certain numbers over others at the Casino de Madrid in Madrid, Spain. Betting the most likely numbers, he turned a five percent disadvantage into a near 15 percent advantage. He and members of his family were able to win over one million dollars over a period of several years. A court ruled in his favor when the casino challenged the legality of his strategy. (he played by the rules, while the casino did not maintain the maintenance of their wheels).

This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at

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