Roulette: The Little Wheel with a Big Story
by Alex J. Coyne © 2019 Great Bridge Links
Roulette is one of the most popular casino games in existence – and it offers good enough odds that it’s a great choice for first-time gamblers and experienced ones alike. But how much do you know about where the roulette wheel comes from?
Here’s more information about how the roulette wheel was invented and how they’re made today.
Who Invented It?
The roulette wheel was invented by the last person that you’d expect: Blaise Pascal, the mathematician.
He wasn’t trying to gamble, but was instead hoping to invent a version of a perpetual motion machine: A device that’s only supposed to exist in theory, and one that can run forever without an energy source.
Of course, it’s not so great as a perpetual motion machine: It stops, eventually, but that’s where it’s great as a gambling tool.
Morbid Roulette Rumors
Roulette has been the topic of an incredible amount of misinformation – and most of it is weirder than you might expect.
First, roulette used to be known as the Devil’s Game. Why? Because the sum of the numbers add up to 666, of course.
But that’s not the only rumor that floated around about the game: Somehow, somewhere, it became known that the inventor of the roulette wheel was a man who committed suicide because he invented a game that he couldn’t beat. It’s not true, of course, but still creepy.
So, what the heck is a roulette wheel made from?
Ivory, when we’re talking about older roulette balls. But in modern times, changes have been made to other materials that are more environmentally friendly, usually nylon or acetyl.
Every individual roulette ball has to respond in the way one would expect it to: If the weight is off, you won’t have the same effect – and the game won’t be as fair.
What About the Wheel?
The wheel itself is traditionally crafted from wood – in the majority of cases, it’s a heavy wood like mahogany that’s known for its weight, and it has to be crafted just as precisely as the roulette ball.
Traditionally, roulette wheels are heavy: They’re meant to be, and it’s part of what gives them their spinning power.
Weird Vintage Wheels
There’s a huge market out there for vintage roulette wheels, and if you’re looking to own a roulette wheel for personal games, you can dig around and find many that were removed from casino use – and are now for sale.
Remember that they have to be cleaned properly – but keep moisture very far away from it! – and the wood treated with an oil like sandalwood to stop it from cracking.
Some rare vintage roulette wheels might even be of the special “rigged” type – yes, they exist, but they’re not nearly as prevalent today as they were back when the industry was far less regulated.
For one of the weirdest roulette wheels you’ll see in a while, here’s one from The Games Room Company on YouTube – skip to 4:20 if you want to see them take the thing apart!