30 Interesting Facts About Roulette

Yesterday we talk about 30 Fun Facts About Casino Gambling, now let’s go a bit specific, this time it’s about 30 Interesting Facts About Roulette, this might not be all the interesting facts about roulette, but those which i can find, if you have any which not listed here do leave a comment here 🙂

1. The name ‘roulette’ derives from ‘little wheel’. It’s often called the King of Casino Games on account of its strong connections with Monte Carlo.


2. Another name for roulette is ‘The Devil’s Game’. That’s partly because all of the numbers on the wheel add up to 666.

3. Probabilities whizz Blaise Pascal created the concept of the roulette table while he was trying to invent a perpetual motion machine to enhance his calculator, the Pascaline.

4. The game itself may have been inspired by a 17th century English game called Roly Poly, featuring a ball spinning around on a wheel. After the banning of this game, Beau Nash came up with an even simpler variation, EO, or Even-Odd.

5. Gambling took off in the 19th century, after the Blanc Brothers turned Monte Carlo into the casino capital of the world. Francois Blanc was so successful and envied that he was rumoured to have sold his soul to the Devil in exchange for the secrets to roulette..


6. Whereas the European-style tables have a single green zero square, the American-style table includes an additional green double-zero. This means that the house edge on American-style tables is almost twice as much – 5.26% rather than 2.7% on European-style tables.

7. Don’t settle for the 2.7% edge. French-style tables have La Partage and En Prison rules. If the ball lands on the green zero on outside bets, La Partage lets you recoup half of your stake. With En Prison, you have the option of leaving your stake on the table for another spin. These rules cut the house edge to just 1.35%.

8. The house edge remains fairly constant, except in one case. American-style tables may offer a ‘Five’ bet, where you cover squares 1-3 and the two zero squares. This bet gives a 7.89% edge to the house, making it the worst choice of all.

9. The double-zero actually dates from the early days of roulette, and Jacques Lablee’s 1796 book ‘La Roulette ou le Jour’, one of the earliest written descriptions of the game, mentions a table with both a zero and a double-zero square. When German designers started building casinos around their spas, they dispensed with the double-zero so as to attract customers away from the Paris houses. The ruse worked, especially after Monte Carlo resorted to the single-zero, and even today, the European- and French-style tables only have a single zero – the double-zero is associated with the Vegas casinos.

10. Early American tables not only had fewer numbers (going up to 28 rather than 36), but also incorporated a zero, a double zero, and an ‘Eagle Slot’. The latter was actually larger than the other squares, and quickly become very unpopular with bankrupt players. Today, the Eagle Slot tables are extremely valuable.

11. Joseph Jagger became immortalised in song as ‘The Man who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo’. He had suspected that some of the roulette wheels had mechanical imbalances that would increase the chances of some numbers coming up with greater frequency. In 1873 he hired six clerks to stand and take note of every number spun. He then used this information to identify possibly defective wheels, and made considerable sums before being barred.

12. 18 years after Jagger, Charles Deville Wells became the next man to break Monte Carlo, arriving with £4,000, and emptying out the place after winning 23 times out of 30. Many years later, Wells was jailed for fraud. He died penniless, but to the end, he maintained that his Monte Carlo exploits had been sheer luck.

13. In 2012, a wheel at the Rio Casino in Vegas supposedly hit 19 seven times in a row. The odds of that happening are 3 billion to 1. It’s not clear whether or not the feat was down to a seating problem.

14. ‘Impossible’ runs against you aren’t as impossible as they may seem. Even without the zero and double zero squares, if you bet red or black every time, you have a 1 in 32 chance of hitting 5 losses. You have a 1 in 1024 chance of getting 10 colours going against you. Even a seemingly ridiculous run, like 15 straight colours against you, has a 1 in 32,768 chance of happening. Seasoned roulette players are likely to see such an event happen to them. In a Bristol casino, 36 reds in a row were supposedly hit.

15. The 2004 series Double or Nothing followed Ashley Revell as he sold all of his possessions (for close to £77K), and risked them on the spin of the roulette wheel. Luckily, the bet came good, and he walked away with £153,860.

16. In 2009, Derren Brown tried and failed to accurately predict the correct number on a roulette table. His prediction, 8, was one pocket away from the winning pocket 30, suggesting that he had identified a table with a constantly recurring set of numbers.(video below)

17. The ball is made of ivory or plastic, and lands in ‘pockets’ on the wheel that are separated from one another by tiny walls known as ‘frets’.

18. The frets are designed to be highly springy so that the ball bounces off them. If a fret is loose, this will result in the ball bouncing off with less force, and it may quickly come to rest in a nearby pocket. This’ll make certain numbers or sets of numbers come up more frequently. Loose frets can be a great source of money to those players who can identify them.

19. Wheels that aren’t seated properly will cause the ball to land in a certain section of the wheel more often than it should. Poorly seated wheels can often be detected by looking at the way the light bounces off the wheel.

20. Some players claim that it’s possible to predict where the ball is going to land by watching its bounce. Oxford University don Doyne Farmer became famous in the roulette world after disclosing that he had used an early computer to compile extensive information from a table, and then use that gen to successfully predict the outcome of a spin. This had happened in the 70s, but he disclosed it decades later after reports that a pair of students had just achieved pretty much the same thing with a smartphone.

21. In 2004, the ‘Ritz Gang’ took £1.3 million from the casino at the Ritz hotel. It was rumoured that they had used a laser scanner hidden in a mobile phone to measure the velocity of the roulette wheel, and then fed this information into a computer to work out where the ball would land. While section 17 of the 1845 Gaming Act precludes the use of any unlawful device, the definition is vague, and the Ritz Gang were allowed to keep their winnings.

22. The plastic marker used to signify winning bets is called a ‘dolly’.

23. The easy availability of ’50/50′ bets (Red/Black, Odd/Even, 1-18/19-36) combined with its high popularity makes roulette the first choice for system players – Martingale, D’Alembert, Fibonacci, and Paroli are all great examples of systems that involve altering the bet size to try and escape the house edge.

24. Despite attempts to find a system that defeats the odds, none has been conclusively proven. Indeed, flat betting (placing the same amount again and again) is statistically more successful than just about any progressive system ever devised. When it comes to roulette, you might just as well enjoy the freedom of placing your bets randomly, as no system can help.

25. The Martingale system is the most famous of all progressive betting systems. Its appeal lies partly in its simplicity – you simply double your bet every time until you win – and its ’100%’ winning record. Unfortunately, you only win all of the time if you have unlimited bank funds and no table limit. Otherwise, you’ll eventually see a long run against you that bankrupts you. The Martingale system, despite its fame, will lose you far more money than a flat betting approach.

26. Ian Fleming, writer of the James Bond books, was a keen gambler himself. Although he preferred baccarat, he did regularly try his hand at roulette. His favoured system (as outlined in the Monte Carlo section in his sequence of travelogues, Thrilling Cities) was Labouchere, where you write down a sequence of numbers (eg, 2 2 6 3 3) and then calculate your next bet by adding together the first and last numbers. If you lose, you add the amount of the bet as the next number in your sequence. Win, and you cross off both numbers. When you have crossed off all numbers in the sequence, you will have made a profit equal to the value of the starting sequence. Like the Martingale System, it doesn’t work in the long term, though, and will lose you more than a flat betting system.


27. James Bond pops up quite frequently in gambling circles. 17 is believed to be the character’s favourite number, and this (plus its central location on the table) has led to it being played more than any other. Newcastle United owner (and founder of Sports Direct) Mike Ashley reportedly banked £1.3 million when he placed £480K across a string of bets revolving around 17. When he attends matches, he wears a shirt with the number 17 on it.

28. 17 isn’t the only number to feature widely in movies about roulette. A famous scene in Casablanca has Rick Blaine fixing it so that a newly-wed wins a sizeable sum at the roulette table, thus saving the man’s wife from having to sell herself to a corrupt chief of police in return for the money the couple need in order to flee the country. Rick tells the man to bet on 22. This same number comes up again in Indecent Proposal. There, the bet loses, setting off a complete reversal of the events of Casablanca, culminating in the wife sleeping with a rich businessman. The number 22 is also the bet that repeatedly loses in the comedy Lost in America.

29. A variation on the game is ‘California Roulette’, which uses cards rather than slots to pick the winning numbers. This version is designed to get round anti-gambling laws.

30. Roulette is very much an equal-opportunities game! Despite its supposedly male-dominated base, 46% of those who play online roulette are female.

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