Roulette Game’s Possible Origins and Ancestors

Published on 7 September 2013

Wondering how roulette game started? Any idea where it came from? This article provide some of the possible roulette origins and it’s ancestors.

Like many other games, there are also a lot of theories about the origin of Roulette. The most popular is that it was invented in 1655 by a French scientist, Blaise Pascal during his monastic retreat and first played in a casino in Paris.

The second of those theories is similar because it says that it was invented by a random French monk to alleviate the monotony of simple monastery life.

The third one is that French Dominican monks invented Roulette and based it on an old Tibetan game, in which the objective was to arrange 37 animal into a magic number sqaure of 666. The old Tibetan game came from China but the method of play is unknown. The monks apparently created the game by changing 37 statues to the number 0 to 36 and putting them randomly around the revolving wheel.

Among all the theories above, the third seems to provide lack of evidence but, the ncommon theme is that the game was invented in a monastery in France.

Roulette means “Small Wheel” in French which again says that the game has a French origin. However, there are plenty of websites with a summary of history of the roulette game and most of them are pointing that the ancestors are English calling it: “Roly Poly”, “Ace of hearts” and “Even-Odd” and Italian, namely “Biribi” and “Hoca”. But nobody really knows the real root of the game.

In the memoirs of Casanova in 1763, all the great ladies were mad over ‘biribi’, a regular cheating game which was strictly forbidden at Genoa that made it more popular. In the game, three numberes were picked out of a bag each turn and Casanova would say, “The board had thirty-six compartments, and if one lost, one paid thirty-two times the amount of the stake; which gave a lot of advantage to the bank.” This gives a similarity to the roulette game that we all know now.

Hoca appears to have been a game played with cards with 30 points and 30 balls, but it looks like a lottery card game than roulette.

According to “Games, Gaming and Gamester’s Law’ by Brandt “Ace of Hearts” was another name for Bone-Ace, a game described by Charles Cotton. This is a gambling card game, in which the players bet on the value of card that the dealer will turn up. This is also not similar to roulette.

Even-Odd was a game with a wheel and a ball but there was no numbers, just 20 sections marked with E for Even and 20 marked with O for Odd. There was no zero, instead they used a portion of sections that were allocated for the house. The game became so popular in 1770′s until it was banned by statute around 1782. This can be a possible ancestor of the roulette game. But of course there were no proof that it was. The only way that E.O is the ancestor of roulette is if it was went by another name – i.e. Roly Poly….

Roly Poly is another name for E.O or an alternative name for roulette, it only defend upon interpretation. Whichever is the real ancestor of the Roulette game, we all don’t know and it’s for us to find out!