Roulette history is hard to come by because the origin of roulette is lost, and
there was likely some form of a wheel based game going back almost as far
as the origin of the wheel itself. There are stories that the game was invented
in China and brought to Europe by traders who were trading with the Chinese.
Several early versions of a wheel and spinning ball were invented in the 17th
and 18th centuries in Europe. The first games that we would recognize as modern
roulette were introduced in Paris casinos around the end of the 18th century.
This game contained all of the features that we have today with the one
exception, the single zero was colored red while the double zero was colored
black. This led to some confusion for players and the color green was introduced
for the zero and double zero to alleviate the confusion.
In the mid 19th century the single zero game was invented in France, this
reduced the casino's edge thereby increasing the odds of the player. When
gambling was outlawed in Germany the inventor of the single zero machine (Louis
Blanc) accepted an invitation to go to Monaco to establish and operate a casino.
The casino set the standards for roulette in Europe, and roulette remained
exclusive to Monte Carlo until 1933. This led to the gambling and resort
industry in Monaco as many of Europe's rich were attracted to the luxurious
Monte Carlo casino.
The use of the double zero roulette wheels survived in the United States and is
sometimes called the ?American Wheel?. The introduction of the single zero wheel
(with better odds for the player) resulted in the demise of the double zero
wheels in Europe and has become known as the ?French Wheel? in roulette history.
In Europe (also Atlantic City in the U.S.) the Casino's offered another
refinement to the game that increased the odds yet again for the player, the
option of ?En Prison? was offered. With the en prison option if the player has
bet an even money bet (Even-Odd, Red-Black, 1-18 or 19-36) and zero or double
zero is the next outcome the player has two options:
Most people exercise the en prison option so don't be surprised if the croupier
assumes that you will also, be sure to tell him/her if you would prefer to
surrender half of your bet.
- The player can "imprison" the bet. This means the bet stays where it is and
the next spin determines if the bet is lost or returned to the player.
- The player may surrender half of the bet.
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