The Allure of Roulette

A casino game where players place bets on numbers, groups of numbers, colors or odds and evens. The ball is spun in a circular motion and when it lands in a numbered pocket, winners receive payouts according to their betting odds. The anticipation and thrill of watching the ball settle into a pocket is what attracts many to roulette.

The wheel consists of a solid wooden disk slightly convex in shape with metal compartments (called separators or frets by croupiers) arranged around its edge. Thirty-six of the compartments, painted alternately red and black, are numbered nonconsecutively from 1 to 36, while two green compartments on the American version carry the signs 0 and 00.

Roulette is one of the oldest casino games. Its history dates back to the 17th century and is rooted in a number of old European gambling games, including hoca and portique. The modern roulette table layout and wheel structure was developed in the late 1700s.

In America, the game evolved in gambling dens along the Mississippi and westward as technology improved to prevent cheating by both operators and patrons. In Europe, roulette continued to draw large crowds, particularly in Monte Carlo.

In the United States, roulette does not hold a candle to the popularity of slot machines, video poker or blackjack, although it is still an iconic casino game with an allure that extends far beyond mere chance and profit. But the game has its roots in a rich cultural heritage and a deeper allure that is often overlooked.