Roulette wheels are perhaps among the most iconic symbols of the game of chance. Those who are keen can see the influence of roulette wheels everywhere, especially in the games people play today. For example, consider the appearance of the wheels in television game shows such as “Wheel of Fortune” and “The Price is Right.” Their resemblance to the roulette wheels is almost unmistakable. Needless to say, roulette wheels are nothing short of iconic; they symbolize luck itself, and everything related to it. This is also a testament to the popular of the roulette, a popular casino game. A cursory look at the roulette wheels is like a look at the history of gambling games itself.
The roulette game is probably one of the oldest gambling games around. It originated in France during the 18th century as a fusion of popular wheel games from England and Italy. Obviously, wheel games have already been around way before the invention of the roulette wheel, but the roulette game is obviously the most enduring as it is still being played today. Roulette, in its current form, started during the late 1790s in Paris. During this time, it already had the slots that were made “for the bank,” as the description goes–what is known today as the zero and the double zero roulette wheel tiles. The game became so popular during the 1800s that not only did it spread in Europe; it also became extremely popular in America. It was in America where the double zero slots in the roulette wheels were first derived.
Changes in the form of such games are very common, especially when it comes to gambling games, so the variations in the roulette wheels are only its natural course. In Europe, there is only one zero tile (the single zero slot), making the odds in winning a European roulette game easier. With two zero slots, the American slot game is slightly more difficult, with a 37 to one chances of winning with every straight-up bet. The numbers in the roulette wheels range from one to 36, although its order in the wheel is not consecutive. It also has two colors, red and black.
Not surprisingly, many people relate roulette wheels to many things. Besides being some sort of universal symbol for games of chance, it was, at one point, associated to the supernatural. This was during the 1860s, when the famous Blanc family went to Monte Carlo after gambling was banned in Germany. According to a popular legend, Francois Blanc bargained with the devil himself to get the secrets of the roulette game. This was justified since the sum of all 36 numbers in the wheel adds to what, according to the Bible, is supposedly the “number of the beast.”
Today, however, when people see roulette wheels, they instantly associate it with casinos and gambling. This is not surprising, too, since roulette would seem like the most fundamental game of chance when one looks at the core of all casino games. And while it may seem dated and out of style to others, roulette and roulette wheels will always be iconic symbols of luck and chance.
By Dan Roberts II
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