The Mysterious Origins of Roulette

Roulette, or roullete, is the casino game where a ball dropped into a spinning wheel with numbered pockets determines which bet you win. Players can place bets on individual numbers, various groupings of numbers, red or black, odd or even, high (19-36) or low (1-18). The roulette wheel consists of 36 pockets that are alternately colored black and red, plus two green pockets labelled 0 and 00.


The origins of the game known as roulette are a bit mysterious. Many fanciful stories have been told about its invention, including the one that claims that it was invented by 17th century French math wizard Blaise Pascal while he was working on creating a perpetual motion machine. Others claim that it was created by Dominican monks or that it originated in China and was brought to France where it became a popular casino and gambling game.

What is known is that a very similar game was played by Roman and Greek soldiers who were renowned for their fondness of gambling games. They used to spin shields that had symbols on them and bet on which symbol would land in front of an arrow on the ground.