The Roulette of Fortune

Roulette is a French word which literally means small wheel. It is a game of pure chance wherein a dealer or croupier turns a colorful wheel with numbered pockets. The players bet on the numbers on the wheel and the winner is the one who correctly predicts the numbered pocket on which the ball lands after the wheel stops spinning.

There are two kinds of roulette: American and European. The American version of the game uses a wheel with two zero pockets whereas the European wheel has only one zero pocket. It is said that the American wheel provides a higher advantage or better odds for the house than the European wheel because of the extra zero pocket.

The American roulette has 38 pockets and the European roulette has 37 pockets. Pockets 1 to 36 alternate in colors black and red while the zero numbered pockets are colored green. American roulette makes use of non-value chips or chips whose value are determined as of the time they are purchased by the player making each chip held by the same player of the same value. European roulette makes use of traditional casino chips wherein each chip has its own specific denomination depending on its color, size, and physical marks. The dealer in an American roulette table uses his or her arm to sweep the table's bets while his or her European counterpart uses a rake.

One to six players can play at a time in a roulette table. The wheel is kept perpetually spinning and the dealer speeds the wheel when a game is about to commence. The dealer rolls an ivory ball in the opposite direction of the spinning wheel and bets can be placed or changed until the time the wheel begins to slow down.

The origin of roulette is shrouded in mystery but the most widely accepted account attributes the game's origin to French mathematician Blaise Pascal. Legend has it on a vacation trip to France, Pascal sampled French casinos. Inspired by the games of chance in casinos and a natural passion for perpetual motion devices, the roulette was born. The legend is made more colorful by rumors of the French scientist striking a bargain with the devil to attain the secrets of the game. The pact between the two is evidenced by the sum of the numbers on the wheel which should total 666, the number of the beast.


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