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Rondo / Rondeau

Signature: The game is played with nine small ivory balls on a large table containing pockets, such as a billiard table.

Origination: This game dates back to the late 1700s, but likely reached the United States and gained popularity there around the mid-1800s.

How It Works: The banker calls for bets for inside or outside, and the wagers made on each side must balance. Once they have, the banker says something like, “Roll, the game is made.” 

Using a stick, players propel the balls to the opposite diagonal pocket. At least one ball must go into and one must stop out of the pocket; otherwise, the roll is redone. Once all balls have been rolled and the criteria met, those that didn’t make it into the pocket are counted. Whether that number is odd or even decides if outside or inside wins. The banker takes a percentage. 

Note that in a different reported version of the game, there is no inside or outside. Instead, an odd total of balls left outside the pocket means the player wins. An even number is a win for the house. 

Trivia: In 1885, two gambling houses in Reno, Nevada offered rondo: the Palace Club and Wine House.

Current Status: Like many other, once popular games of chance, rondo seems to have become obsolete.