Roulette is a gambling game in which a small ball rolls around a wheel. Its thirty-six compartments, alternately red and black, are numbered from 1 to 36, with an additional green (or 0 on American tables) and two extra green pockets (or 00).
Players place bets on individual numbers or groups of numbers based on their color, whether they are odd or even, or low (1-18) or high (19-36). The odds of each bet differ.
There are many different theories about the origins of roulette. Some believe it was invented in the 17th century by the French mathematician Blaise Pascal. Others claim it was based on older games such as hoca and portique, or on English even-odd games and the Italian board game Biribi. Whatever the case, it is clear that the modern version of roulette was adapted from earlier French gambling games, and was introduced to the public in the late 18th century by a prince of Monaco who sought to revive the fortunes of his family’s casinos and gambling houses.
Other anecdotal evidence suggests that roullete originated in China and was brought to Europe by Dominican monks who learned it as part of their travels. The game was modified slightly in France and then spread to other parts of the world.