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Yuck! Mouse roulette

6 April 2013

“Pappy” Smith, the senior owner of Harold’s Club in Reno, Nevada, hired a traveler in the early 1940s that brought with him an unusual game.

The crazy game, known a “Mouse Roulette,” featured a large box with 50 numbered holes in it. After the players had made their bets, a field mouse was released from a cage across the top of the box, and players waited anxiously for it to scoot down one of the numbered holes.

The hole the mouse descended into was than declared the winner.

As time went on, players figured out the mouse would dive into a hole when someone would clap their hands together or make a loud noise. Management also found that mice would eventually follow the scent of previous mice left in a hole, such that the game was really unmanageable and unprofitable for the house.

However, pictures of the game in action made their way to newspapers and magazines all over the U.S. The Club didn’t make any money on the game and it lasted only a week, but the publicity lasted for much longer. For years, players would come in and ask where the mouse roulette game was.

Bet - You Didn’t Know

  • In roulette the “0” pocket, which is normally green, is between two black numbered pockets; but the “00,” which is also green, it is between two red numbers.

  • When looking at a roulette wheel, the dividers between the numbered pockets are called “frets.”

  • During the gold rush period in California, poker seemed to be a game most patrons avoided. Faro and roulette were the games of choice.

  • A visitor from South Africa was attending mass in the Anglican Church in Monte Carlo when the pastor selected hymn No. 36. The visitor took it as a signal from heaven and immediately went to the casino and won 70,000 francs using that number at roulette. He talked about his win and word spread, and the church became overflowing with Sunday attendance for some weeks afterward.

  • The most popular number played at roulette is 17.

  • In the mid 1920s, while trying to booster attendance at the casino and specifically the game of roulette, Monte Carlo casino, for a short period of time, declared the single zero -- the only zero on the wheel -- to be a dead number for a half hour each night. However, players began to complain they couldn’t bet on the zero during this period. The house than dropped the practice.
Recent Articles
Best of John Marchel
John Marchel
John Marchel is an author, speaker, teacher and player -- what John plays are casino games. He’s been a casino player for over 25 years and has played successfully in Europe, Panama, the Caribbean, Canada, Atlantic City, Las Vegas, on Indian reservations, cruise ships and in over 350 casinos throughout the US. He is also the author of six books about gambling, and has written numerous magazine articles and is currently a columnist for three gambling magazines and one internet magazine.

Since 1988 John has combined his experience as a manager, teacher and player to present seminars and lectures about gambling. In addition, John has had an Internet website since 1995 that offers books, special reports and tips about gambling. He also publishes a monthly Internet gambling newsletter. The newsletter keeps subscribers alert to trends, information and winning techniques that allows them to be more successful when visiting casinos.

John Marchel Websites:

johnmarchelgambling.com

Books by John Marchel:

KISS Guide to Gambling

> More Books By John Marchel

John Marchel
John Marchel is an author, speaker, teacher and player -- what John plays are casino games. He’s been a casino player for over 25 years and has played successfully in Europe, Panama, the Caribbean, Canada, Atlantic City, Las Vegas, on Indian reservations, cruise ships and in over 350 casinos throughout the US. He is also the author of six books about gambling, and has written numerous magazine articles and is currently a columnist for three gambling magazines and one internet magazine.

Since 1988 John has combined his experience as a manager, teacher and player to present seminars and lectures about gambling. In addition, John has had an Internet website since 1995 that offers books, special reports and tips about gambling. He also publishes a monthly Internet gambling newsletter. The newsletter keeps subscribers alert to trends, information and winning techniques that allows them to be more successful when visiting casinos.

John Marchel Websites:

johnmarchelgambling.com

Books by John Marchel:

KISS Guide to Gambling

> More Books By John Marchel