The unbelievable story of the roulette table with a very curious secret...
We all love a game of roulette. It’s an iconic gambling game that has been entertaining players all around the world for centuries. Roulette tables are a constant fixture in casinos nowadays, and it’s easy to get lost in the moment and stay at the table for hours, determined that your next turn will be the winning one!
The popularity of roulette tables is not a new thing; they’re also an infamous symbol of American history. Take the wild West, the American Frontier: we can all conjure up an image in our minds of a dark, wooden saloon bar with swinging doors, full of grizzly old cowboys and prospectors drinking away. Or the more glamourous prohibition era; we can imagine a speakeasy bar packed full of sophisticated drinkers in dapper suits and glittering flapper dresses. And always in the midst of these scenes? A roulette table.
Yes, before we congregated around football tables and pinball machines when we’re out for a drink, we gathered around the roulette table!
Since their creation, they’ve provided hours of entertainment for those living along the American frontier, through the prohibition era, then across the world and into the modern day. Of course nowadays, no visit to a casino is complete with trying your luck on the roulette table and it’s always by far the loudest, most excitable area of the room! People really do go wild when they’re chancing their luck against those dice.
Here at Games Room Company, we love stumbling across antique pieces like roulette tables, and we’ve been lucky enough to have some incredible pieces fall into our hands over the years. One of our best ever finds was this antique roulette table, originally from Chicago in the 1920s (prohibition at its finest - just think of the glitz and glamour of the film!)
It’s an absolutely gorgeous table, covered in a distinctive olive green cloth and featuring expertly detailed roulette markings along the top of the table. We were in love with our find.
But this roulette table was hiding a secret, and it threw a very big surprise our way!
When we began to carefully restore the table to its former glory we found that it was hiding a tiny, almost invisible control in its wheel! Completely untraceable to players standing around the table, once we had a closer look at the underside we couldn’t believe what we were seeing...
That’s right, the table was actually fitted with a top secret ‘cheat’ feature powered by a covert button and two batteries in its legs. When it was pressed, a teeny pin would shoot out from the table and intervene in the path of the ball - and it was so quick it was invisible. This meant that the croupier could actually tamper with the results of the roulette wheel, making sure it would land in favour of the house rather than the player. So no matter how much luck the players thought they were investing in each turn, they would always be on a losing streak. We couldn’t believe!
This made us think; how many roulette tables have had this secret feature over the years? Were they all working against us to make sure that more money went to the house rather than back to a player? All these years when we’ve been wearing our lucky socks and saying secret prayers every time it came to our turn at the table, has it all been in vain?!
Whether this case is a special, one-off that a very entrepreneurial croupier created, or a real glimpse into the truth of the gambling world of the past, it certainly adds a unique charm to this roulette table - we’ve never found another one like it!
We love our one of a kind find so much we’re almost reluctant to let it go, but if you’d like to see this piece of American history in your own home, please come and visit us at our showroom, or contact us for more information. And if you have any stories about casino and gambling equipment that has hidden secrets, please share you story and let us know!