5 Things You (Probably) Didn’t Know About Roulette

5 Things You (Probably) Didn’t Know About Roulette

Roulette has a varied history, but it’s one of those games that has barely changed over the centuries. Here are five interesting facts you may not know about everyone’s favorite casino game.

1. It’s Associated With The Devil

The roulette wheel (both 0 and 00 versions) is sometimes referred to as the “Devil’s Wheel”.

This is because its numbers add up to 666, aka the “number of the beast” – according to the Bible.

It could also have something to do with the game’s tendency to send players to hell (or at least, their credit ratings).

number of the beast 666 - william blake
Image: William Blake – The William Blake Archive

2. No One Really Knows Where It Came From

There are a number of theories floating around as to where roulette originated.

Most people believe the theory that the game was invented by French physicist Blaise Pascal after his attempts to create a wheel that could demonstrate perpetual motion.

And as the name “roulette” comes from the French term for “little wheel”, this theory does seem to make most sense.

Others believe it was made up by a French monk who was bored, or by a group of French Dominican monks.

More recently, roulette is thought to have been derived from an English game called Roly-Poly or “E.O” (Even/Odd).

EO wheel - roulette
Image: Ronshelley/Wikimedia Commons

3. It Used To Be Easy To Cheat

Back in the day, before CCTV and high-level casino security, it was a lot easier to cheat in roulette. Today it’s virtually impossible unless you’re colluding with someone on the inside (a terrible idea).

Cheaters have always found a way to beat the house, whether that was using a magnetic ball, rigged wheel, or something else.

A great example would be cheaters like Joseph Jagger and Dr Richard Jarecki who used to spot defective roulette wheels and take advantage of them.

They’d take note of the wheels with chips, dents or defects and track the patterns of which numbers landed, before cleaning the casinos out of their millions.

Read the incredible story of Dr Richard Jarecki and how he beat the roulette wheel.

Nowadays, casinos replace equipment regularly so don’t even think about trying this one yourself.

4. 17 Is One Of The Most Popular Bets

James Bond, 007, was a big roulette player in Ian Fleming’s original books and his favorite number was 17.

Sean Connery as James Bond
Image: UA/MGM


Well, it could be one of the most popular bets because of Bond… or it could just be because of its central position on the table making it a number people are most drawn to.

5. In California, Roulette Is Played With Cards

To get around strict gambling laws in California, some clever casinos offer a different variation of roulette that uses cards instead of a spinning wheel and ball.

Although California roulette is played differently (check out this detailed explanation), the odds, payouts and rules all remain the same.