The Glitz and Glamour of Monte Carlo

A man who did employ a system and won was William Jaggers, who studied the roulette wheels until he discovered an imperfect one which favored certain numbers.

He, too, won over a million francs before the casino discovered his method and corrected the bias.

After the First World War, Monte Carlo faced a competition from casinos on the French Riviera, and it was necessary to reestablish its supremacy. Elsa Maxwell, the professional party giver, was asked to revitalize the social life.

Soon, not only was royalty to be met again, but successful businessmen like Andre Citroen and Gordon Selfridge became familiar figures at the tables.

The late Aga Khan was a frequent visitor; show business people flocked there; the chronicler of the twenties, Scott Fitzgerald, was at the parties; Winston Churchill holidayed there.

The casino continued to operate during the Second World War, but another savior was required soon afterwards, as it began to lose money. He arrived in the person of Aristotle Onassis, who bought the Sea Bathing Society and rejuvenated Monte Carlo.

His yacht, Christina, was usually in the harbor, on board statesmen, industrialists, artists, film stars and the great opera singer maria callas, whose attachment on Onassis kept Monte Carlo in the world's newspapers for months.

In 1956, Prince Rainier married the beautiful American film star Grace Kelly. Two thousand writers and photographers made sure the wedding was not unnoticed.

Inside, the casino does not quite live up to the splendor of its reputation. The big gambling takes place in the salles privees (private rooms); tourists fill the smaller rooms, known collectively as 'The Kitchen', where the grandeur is missing and first impressions usually disappointing.

Craps was added in 1949 to satisfy the increasing numbers of American visitors, and there are now even slot machines.

The early success of Monte Carlo led to competitors. Casinos were built in the leading French resorts once public gaming was allowed by the law in 1907. The biggest French casinos are at Deauville and Cannes.

The casino at Deauville was founded in 1912 and is now a complex which contains a huge restaurant, a cinema and a theater.

Nico Zographos and the Greek Syndicate did much to make Deauville and Cannes famous, winning millions of francs in the twenties and thirties from gamblers like Andre Citroen, Solly Joel and the Duke of Westminster

The casino uses its own chips or plaques, different colors representing varying denominations, and employs its own police force and security guards. Croupiers are trained at the casino's own school. The games played are mainly roulette, baccarat, chemin de fer and trente et quarante.

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