Roulette – The Devil’s Game?

Nowadays roulette is one of the most well known and popular casino games in the world. Whether you’re playing it online, on a mobile, or in a live casino, it’s tons of fun and well-loved.

But did you know it has a slightly murky past? And was once associated with Satan himself?
Nope, I’m not joking. Roulette actually used to be called ‘The Devil’s Game‘.
Hm, strange. let’s find out more.

Why Is Roulette Called The Devil’s Game?

There are three reasons proposed for this. It could even be a mix of the three, but we’re talking about terminology that started hundreds of years ago:

  1. Roulette was so addictive it was like players became possessed by the devil
  2. If you add all the numbers (i.e. 0 to 36) on the roulette wheel, they total 666. Which as you may know, is called ‘the number of the beast’.
  3. There’s a legend (not something I’ve ever managed to confirm) about a monk back in the dark ages. Apparently (and take this with a huge pinch of salt) the devil challenged him to a game of roulette, using a wheel with numbers totalling 666. Personally I think this is just folklore. (Also, why didn’t the devil choose something more engaging like poker?)

So I discard the third one. I think roulette ended up being called “the devil’s game” because of its addictive nature. Let’s face it, it is super easy to end up in a long session – bankroll management in roulette is incredibly important.

With the second point – well, it’s true – they do add up to 666. And I think that was a reason that contributed to people believing roulette had something to do with the devil.

Let’s look at each in more detail:

Theory 1: Roulette Was Addictive

I accept that roulette is fun and fast paced. I wouldn’t say it’s any more ‘addictive’ though than any other casino game (and certainly less than slots).
But imagine back when roulette first became a game that it was eyed with suspicion.
Gambling then wasn’t what it is now (understood, popular, acceptable, and – depending on where you live – legal).

It does seem quite a stretch to calling it “the devil’s game” though.

Theory 2: Adding Numbers Up To 666

OK so this isn’t a theory, it’s a fact. Adding the following:

1+2+3+4+5+6+7+8+9+10+11+12+13+14+15+16+17+18+19+20+21+22+23+24+25+26+27+28+29+30+31+32+33+34+35+36 does equal 666.

You can either attribute that to chance, or believe it’s deliberate.

Francois Blanc

If we’re saying it’s just chance they add up to 666, then it’s just one of those co-incidences that are kinda cool.
But if you’re saying it’s deliberate, my challenge would be – why did they make it like that? What does it actually achieve?

Well to explain that further, let’s introduce a guy called Francois Blanc (that’s the rather handsome man in the picture to your left. This chap was possibly partly responsible for roulette becoming such a popular game.
After bringing it to Homburg, he then did so at the famous Monte Carlo Casino. Quite the gambling entrepreneur.

And this, dear reader, is where the ‘666′ becomes a thing. You see, it was rumoured (i.e. made up) that Blanc had done some kind of deal with the devil (as you do).
The deal involved Blanc getting all the secrets about roulette from the devil.
And therefore for some reason Blanc made sure the numbers all added up to 666.

Does that sound even vaguely feasible to you? No, me neither. My guess would be the story was concocted by a competitor or someone that just objected to gambling.

Imagine chatting to the devil about a gambling game. The devil says to you “I’ll tell you everything about it but you’ve got to give me some kind of tribute here…. like maybe making all the numbers add up to ‘my’ number, 666.” I just think the devil could have done better there:).

It’s also quite possible that the term “devil’s game” arose just simply as a metaphor for a risky or unpredictable activity.

Theory 3) The Monk Theory

You know the big problem with ‘urban legends’? They’re usually a load of BS.

Let’s recap on this theory – a monk gets challenged to a game of roulette. By the devil. In the dark ages (conveniently).
But supposedly the devil didn’t call it ‘roulette’. He called it “the devil’s game”. Seems fair – if you invented a game, you might well name it after yourself.

Well it turns out the monk won the game (we don’t know the details, e.g. how many rounds).
That was nice for him. Until (apparently) the game made him go crazy and he died not long after.
I can see various holes in this crazy story:

  • Why choose a monk?
  • Why choose only one person?
  • If it was the devil’s game then why did he lose?
  • How did they play without casino chips?
  • Why did the devil then give up and not play someone else?

Yes I’m being tongue in cheek here. Because the story is obviously not true. Although perhaps it does sound cool.

So Is Roulette An Evil Game?

No, I don’t think it is. Whilst it’s true some people gamble too much and stumble into problem gambling, for the vast majority of us its fun and entertaining.

So the question of whether roulette is the “devil’s game” is ultimately a matter of your perspective. While some people may view it as a sinful or risky , others may see it just as a game of chance and something that’s entertaining.
Ultimately, it is important for you to make their own informed choice about whether to play roulette or any other game, taking into consideration your values and beliefs as well as risks and rewards.
Whether or not roulette as actually the “devil’s game” is a subjective judgment that will vary from person to person!

With all that said…

The devil asking you to play roulette