Roulette is one of the most popular casino games both in physical and online casinos. Players can wager on a single number, various groups of numbers or on the color red and black. They can also choose to play European roulette which has a single zero, thus magnifying their chances of winning.
There are many fanciful stories about the origins of roulette, from 17th-century French mathematician Blaise Pascal’s search for a perpetual motion machine to a game invented by Chinese monks. However, the truth is that roulette evolved in 18th-century France from the earlier games hoca and portique. The earliest mention of the game with its current layout and wheel structure is in 1716. The game may have been influenced by the Italian game Biribi, and there is evidence that Roman soldiers played gambling games similar to roulette. These games involved spinning shields with symbols, and the winner was determined by an arrow that pointed to the winning symbol.
There are various roulette variants that offer different betting options and payout rates. For example, French roulette has a special rule called ‘La Partage’ that allows players to get half of their even money bet back if the ball lands on zero. This lowers the house edge and makes it a favorite among strategic gamblers. Some variations also use a different wheel layout, with fewer pockets or higher bet limits. However, the game’s main rules are the same and winning straight bets pay 11:1, while split and street bets pay at the rate of 5:1. The zero pocket is colored blue.