Roulette players are often the most studious of all gamblers. You’ll find them at the oblong roulette table hunched over a pad, carefully distributing their chips in a predetermined pattern only they understand. As the dealer spins the ball around the wheel, they stare at it as if they’re hopes and dreams can influence where the ball falls. When their bets are swept away, they turn again to the pad that only records where they’ve been, not where they’re going.
The roots of roulette can be traced back to prehistoric China, the French monks. In the 17th century, a French scientist, Blaise Pascal, who invented the first calculator, introduced a primitive version of roulette.
It wasn’t until 1842, when Francois and Louis Blanc invented the single “0” roulette game. Ironically, the French brothers were forced to offer the game in Hamburg, Germany, since gambling was illegal in France at the time. The new game decimated the competition, which were offering an earlier version that feature higher odds. After Louis died, Francois was invited by the Prince of Monaco, Charles III, for whom Monte Carlo is named, to bring his game to the principality in southern France. Francois and his son Camille developed Monte Carlo into the world-famous resort we know today.
When roulette came to the U.S. in the early 1800s, the Blanc’s improvements were deleted, and a double “00” returned. For a while, in fact, slick American operators added a triple “000,” tripling the house edge and …