Everyone knows the game of roulette, it’s a casino classic and has been around for over three centuries now. Its spiritual home is in the administrative area of our Principality of Monaco; Monte Carlo.
Located on the French Riviera, most of the Circuit de Monaco, which hosts the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix is here in Monte Carlo and our famous principality also hosts the Monte Carlo Masters tennis tournament. But it is gambling which is arguably most synonymous with the region.
The European Poker Tour Grand Final is hosted in Monte Carlo and the casino has featured in many blockbuster films. The casino features in the James Bond movies Never Say Never Again from 1983 and GoldenEye from 1995. The Alfred Hitchcock film To Catch A Thief from 1954 was set in Monte Carlo and used the casino.
But how did this wonderful location become the spiritual home of roulette? Although the game of roulette was first played in the 18th century, its origins relate to the 17th century, in which French mathematician and physician Blaise Pascal created a primitive form of roulette. It was his failure to create a perpetual motion machine which led to the devising of the roulette wheel.
Although Pascal created the wheel, it was two brothers who brought the wheel to Monte Carlo. Francois and Lois Blanc brought the roulette wheel to Monaco after much of Europe introduced gambling laws to prohibit the use of casino games.
King Charles III of Monaco was one ruler who decided not to ban casino games and, with Monaco on the verge of financial ruin, set up casinos in the principality and invited the Blanc brothers to bring their roulette wheel with them. Added to the wheel was the 0 space, which gave the house a bigger edge.
With Monte Carlo becoming the go to destination for people, predominantly the aristocracies, who wanted to try their luck on the roulette wheel in the 19th century, it helped revive Monaco and the roulette wheel has since become a symbol for Monte Carlo’s gambling culture, in particular the higher stakes games.
The game of roulette further cemented its legacy in Monte Carlo in the 20th century in what has become known as the “Monte Carlo fallacy”, also known as “the gambler’s fallacy”. The fallacy supposes that past behaviour influences future behaviour. For example, if you were to toss a coin ten times, and it landed on heads each and every time, an inexperienced gambler would probably bet on tails believing that it has to land on tails soon. Whereas an experienced gambler who understands how probabilities work will know that just because heads has won ten times in a row, doesn’t reduce the odds of it appearing for an eleventh time in a row.
That is essentially what happened in Monte Carlo back in August 1913. At a roulette table in the Monte Carlo Casino, black landed 26 times in a row, the odds of that happening are around one in 66.6 million. After black landed ten times, gamblers incorrectly assumed that the streak was going to end and this resulted in them losing millions on betting against black.
So there we have it. Thanks to a couple of brothers helping out the King of Monaco as well as an extraordinarily unlikely run of black on the roulette table, the casino game has become synonymous with Monte Carlo and the region of the principality has become its spiritual home.
If you fancy trying some roulette online to see if a more extraordinary run of black occurs, you can try it at Paddy Power.