What is Roulette?

Roulette is a casino game in which a small ball spins around a wheel and players place bets on which numbered compartment the ball will come to rest in. The wheel has 38 sections, alternately red and black, plus two green ones labeled 0 and 00.

Bets are made by putting chips on the table map. Inside bets cover individual numbers, and outside bets are broader wagers covering categories of numbers like red or black or odd or even.


The exact origins of roulette are not known. Most historians believe that the game was invented by the 17th century French mathematician and physicist Blaise Pascal. He came up with the idea of a wheel of fortune while working on a perpetual motion machine. However, the concept of a wheel of fortune dates back to ancient times. The Romans spun chariot wheels on their side, and the ancient Greeks played a game with shields that had symbols painted on them.

The game of roulette as we know it today is most likely a combination of two older games, the English game of E-O (Even-Odd) and the Italian game of Biribi. These two games were similar in structure but had different wheel structures. They may have also been influenced by a Chinese game that was brought to France by Dominican monks.