History Roulette

Roulette comes from the French term “roulette” which means small wheel. Its use as a gambling element even in configurations other than the current one is not documented until well into the Middle Ages.

Presumably, its oldest reference is the so-called “Wheel of Fortune”, of which there is news throughout history, practically in all fields of human knowledge.

The “magic” of the movement of the wheels, had to impact all generations of men. The apparent stillness of the center, the increase in speed as we move away from it, the possibility of it stopping at a random point. All this had to influence the existence of different games having the wheel as a base.

The wheels and by extension the roulettes, have always had connection with the magical and esoteric world, so one of them is part of the tarot, being one of those that are known as major arcana.

According to all indications the creation of a roulette and its rules of play, very similar to those we know today comes from Blaise Pascal, a roulette with 36 numbers (without zero), in which there is an extreme balance in the position that each number is placed. In addition, the choice of 36 numbers gives a scope even closer to magic (the sum of the first 36 numbers gives the magic number par excellence: 666).

Actually this roulette could be used as entertainment in circles of friends, however at the level of the company that puts the media and staff for the entertainment of their customers, it was not profitable because statistically, everything that was betting was given in prizes (proportion of 36/36).

At the end of the 19th century the Blanc brothers modified the roulette by adding a new number, the 0, introducing it initially in the Monte Carlo Casino. This is already the roulette we know, with a ratio of prizes of 37/36, leaving already an acceptable margin for the “house”.

Later, in some roulettes (especially those used in Anglo-Saxon countries), a new number (double zero) was added, with which the benefit for the casino is greater (38/36).

Elements of a Roulette

The essential tools for the game of roulette are:


Wood cylinder, inside which revolves another metal cylinder in which there are 37 squares, one for each of the first 36 numbers, alternating reds and blacks and another one for zero.

The order in which the numbers appear in said cylinder is studied with simple rules:

  • On each side of a number less than or equal to 18 there are two numbers greater than 18, with two exceptions one the zero and another right in front of it with the 5 and the 10.
  • Black numbers are those in which the reduction of the sum of their digits is even, minus 10 (black) and 28 (black).
  • Starting the cylinder in half with an imaginary line between 0 and 5, in each of the halves there must be the same number of figures that belong to each of the 3 dozens (6 numbers) and the same number of figures that belong to each of the 3 columns (6 numbers).
  • The red and black numbers must be alternated.