The game roulette was devised in France during the 18th century. Its origins can be traced back a little further to the time when the famed mathematician Blaise Pascal invented what would essentially become the roulette wheel during his studies of perpetual motion. The word roulette means "little wheel" in French.
Casinos in Paris were the first to offer roulette, and the game was similiar to how we know it today. The numbers 1-36 (half of them red and half of them black) were on the wheel as well as zero and double zero. Originally, the single zero was red and the double zero was black. These were changed to green at some point, primarily to avoid confusion.
The single zero version of the game, in which there's no double zero, is believed to have been devised by two Frenchmen. Francois and Louis Blanc introduced the single zero game in a casino in Germany to compete against other casinos. The single zero game meant a lower house edge; thus, it was more favorable for players.
There's an often repeated legend that says Francois Blanc made a deal with the devil in order to learn the secrets of winning at roulette. The legend probably stems from the fact that if you add all the numbers on a roulette wheel (from 1 to 36), you get 666 – the "number of the beast".
Roulette spread throughout Europe and other parts of the world over time, including to the United States. The single zero game was the game of choice in most countries; but in the US, the double zero game became dominant. Very little in the game has changed, and roulette has become one of the most popular casino games in the world.
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