What would a gambling establishment, even an online casino, be without that little wheel of fortune known as the roulette? Legend has it that François Blanc made a deal with the devil to obtain the secrets of roulette (which the sum of its numbers actually adds up to the dreaded chiffre de la Bête), but, just like when pro wrestling’s greatest secrets were finally exposed, there really isn’t that much to it.
As a matter of fact, roulette is one of the simplest and therefore most popular games there are. There are four types of roulette games, or at least four types that matter, since there are available at SBG, and none of which are, you’ll be happy to know, of the Russian variety (as seen in The Deer Hunter).
The object of the game is to guess which space a little white ball will land on a spinning wheel. To determine the winning number and color, a croupier spins the wheel in one direction (not the boy band), then spins the ball in the opposite direction around a tilted circular track running around the circumference of the wheel. The ball eventually slows down, passes through an area of deflectors, and falls onto the wheel and into one of 37 or 38 colored and numbered pockets on the wheel.
Jaques Lablee’s La Roulette, ou le Jour describes a roulette wheel in the Palais Royal in Paris in 1796 as having “two betting spaces containing the bank’s two numbers, zero and double zero.” However, François and Louis Blanc introduced the single 0 style roulette wheel in the German spa casino town of Bad Homburg in 1843, and this is what we now know as European roulette. Online casino habitués tend to prefer this version of the game because the single zero considerably decreases the edge of the house over the players by approximately 2.7%.
This could and should be known as the James Bond roulette because it includes the double 0. The French double zero wheel made its way up the Mississippi from New Orleans, and westward from there. Some early American roulette wheels included an American Eagle slot which was supposed to symbolize American freedom, but was in fact a house slot that brought the casino extra edge.
According to Edmond Hoyle, “the single 0, the double 0, and eagle are never bars; but when the ball falls into either of them, the banker sweeps every thing upon the table, except what may happen to be bet on either one of them, when he pays twenty-seven for one, which is the amount paid for all sums bet upon any single figure.” The double zero remains in use in the U.S., Canada, South America, and the Caribbean; the Eagle has thankfully spread wing and flown away.
Differences between the French roulette and the European and American online casino versions of the game are mostly aesthetical. For example, in French Roulette all numbers are red, which has absolutely no bearing whatsoever on the game. You know those wacky French, with their Royale with Cheese and their worship of Jerry Lewis.