Roulette is a game with a rich history and more than just a dash of mystique. With origins dating back to the age of the ancient Greeks and a heavy emphasis on the mysteries of mathematics and good old fashioned luck, roulette is a game that has always offered something for everyone. But it is also a game that has seen continual development.

"Glücksspiel" (CC BY-SA 2.0) by  maltehempel_de

The modern version of the game owes its roots to the pioneering work of the French inventor and mathematician Blaise Pascal. Pascal not only designed the first fully operational wheel, he was also responsible for the invention of what mathematicians the world over know as probability theory.

Those two developments underpin the game of roulette as we know it. A combination of 38 numbers, 1-36 and two zeros - arranged in random fashion around the wheel combined with a huge variety of possible bets make for a game that is at once simple to grasp, but also deeply complex.

In recent times, digital technologies have seen the game translated into the digital medium: Online roulette for Canadian players, as provided for example by the award winning 32Red online casino, is the direct descendant of the innovations of Blaise Pascal and, and, some claim, stands as  the biggest development in the game since its inception..

A virtual leap into the future

The next decade of technological invention is about to take the game into an entirely different sphere. As industry giants Microgaming unveiled at the gaming industry’s prestigious ICE exhibition in London Excel Arena early this February, roulette could be about to make the leap into virtual reality.

"Oculus RIft Crystal Cove prototype" (CC BY 2.0) by  pestoverde
Microgaming unveiled a version of the game that put players in a virtual reality casino set in outer space in which they could place their bets and collects their winning chips with exactly the same gestures as they would in a real world setting.

The project involved the Oculus Rift DK2 headset and a Leap Motion 3D controller. It goes without saying that if the 3D experience can be replicated online, the online gaming space may never be quite the same again - and not just for roulette.

Human stories are still key

Whatever the technology, a huge part of the appeal of roulette will always be the human side of the story. There is always the chance of beating the odds - whatever the platform.  Perhaps most stunning is the story of Fred W. Smith, the founder of the now vast Fed Ex empire. So the story goes, after setting up the first worldwide distribution company and turning it into a $90 million outfit, Smith was rocked by a sharp rise in fuel prices in the 1970s. With his company on the brink of bankruptcy one Friday afternoon, Smith pocketed  the last $5000 in the company account and took a trip to Las Vegas.

The following Monday he returned with $32,000, enough to keep the company afloat, and both Smith and Fed Ex never looked back (which is kind of appropriate for a company whose logo has a secret forward pointing arrow hidden within it (it’s between the E and the X).

Further back in time two Englishmen famously broke the bank in Monte Carlo. Joseph Jagger (1830-1892) and Charles Wells (1841-1926) both did so, and both have claims to being the man inspiration for the famous song. But what both had in common is that it was roulette that set on them their way to fame and (for a short while at least) fortune.

Of course, it's a lot easier to stay ahead of the game and boost your bankroll these days with all the bonuses and promotions available in virtual casinos. William Hill's 100% cashback bonus for roulette players is not one to be ignored for players looking for a quick cash injection!

The non-scientific appeal in the numbers

Roulette’s conspicuous use of numbers carries an additional appeal that owes nothing to the science of math. Instead it is sometimes superstition that drives how we play. The 32Red website makes the slightly blood curdling point that the sum of all the numbers on a roulette wheel is 666 - The so-called Devil’s number. They tell the tale of a famous French player, Francois 'The Magician of Monte Carlo' Blanc, whose success at the table was supposedly down to him selling his soul to the Devil. Some numbers are undoubtedly spookier than others.

With such a rich and colourful history and so many opportunities to play, it is no wonder that the simple game of roulette continues to go from strength to strength. A move into virtual reality is simply another spin of the wheel in that never ending process.