Turning the Tables: Introduction

Most folks take one look at a roulette table’s scads of betting options and break-neck wheel speed and scatter like a herd of skittish wildebeests. Of course, the irony is, the game is more kitten than King of the Jungle, with a beatability second only to Blackjack’s. Just ask the generations of players who have broken the bank with it: there’s really no topping roulette for its sheer number of design weaknesses.

So why aren’t more people playing (and beating) roulette? Simply put, breaking a wheel requires a certain amount of know-how, and while there are plenty of books and manuals on the subject, most of them could confuse even an astrophysicist. Luckily, though, you’ve got Gambling Planet to explain everything in plain, easy-to-read English. So sit back, relax and rest assured that the next time you walk away from a roulette table, you’ll be laughing all the way to the bank.

First, we’re going to give you a bit of a history lesson. Yes, we realize you’re probably yawning in pre-emptive boredom, and frankly, we’d spare you if we could. But the fact is, understanding roulette’s long history—longer than even the ‘ole U.S. of A.’s—will help you choose the best wheel for your betting strategy. This is because not all wheels are created equal. And the story of how this came about begins nearly 300 years ago in France:

Before the 18th century, there were plenty of wagers for folks to lose their hard earned dinero on. But, if you dig even a little, you’ll find the English games Roly-Poly, Ace of Hearts and E.O. and the Italian games Hoca and Biribi headed the shortlist of Europe’s most popular pastimes. What happened sometime after 1700 is, a few anonymous French aficionados decided to merge these five favorites into one super game that included a ball, a betting layout and a spinning wheelhead (or rotating centerpiece). For lack of a better name, they called it “roulette” (meaning “little wheel”), and the coinage stuck.

By the time the French Revolution rolled around, roulette had basically taken on its modern form. We know this because French writer Jacques Lablee was so inspired by the game that he penned a whole novel about it, “La Roulette ou le Jour,” in 1796. In the book, he describes the game as having “exactly two slots reserved for the bank, whence it derives its sole mathematical advantage.” This type of wheel, we now know, would eventually become the standard Double-Zero wheel we have in America. The layout, however, was still a little different, essentially being the precursor to the modern French Roulette board.

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