Roulette Wheel – An Introduction

The roulette wheel is one of the most iconic sights in a casino. Depicted rather brilliantly across famous films and TV series, there is an element of elegance and class to the roulette wheel that has captured the imagination for generations.

And yet, despite being a game that we associate with sophisticated cocktail sippers or perhaps even James Bond with his dry martini, the game is surprisingly simple. Easy to pick up for beginners and yet still with chances to make original and refreshing bets for the experienced roulette wheel player, the roulette wheel is an accessible game that welcomes gamblers of all levels. The limited amounts of outcomes, as hard as they are to predict, has meant that over the years the roulette wheel has become a figure of fasciation for many great mathematicians and thinkers.

You will find various strategies and methods that can be applied to the popular casino game that many players try out each and every day. While some are more useful than others, they all offer unique and interesting ways of looking at this age old game from a new perspective, creating talking points for discussion which we are sure would still be able to hear from the game’s original home of France, right across to the casinos of Las Vegas where it captures the imagination of so many high rollers.

Founded in 18th century France, the simple mechanism of the roulette wheel was a hit in the earliest casinos of their kind and it was not too long before the game spread across Europe and over the Atlantic ocean. It is incredible to think that now even online, the focus of the game is still the same. Players still have as little idea as ever about where that silver ball will land and yet, with so many ways to place your bets and hope to get lucky, roulette still captivates all who play. While graphics may change from game to game in online casino, roulette wheel numbers and roulette wheel odds stay the same as they are in the traditional casino setting and there is something beautiful about the timeless nature of the game.

The chance to enjoy a fee play roulette wheel and varying offerings is now the result of the thriving online casino industry, in which you can now play online roulette from the comfort of your own home. Available across mobile devices, tablet devices and of course, laptop and desktop computers, roulette is now being enjoyed as much as ever, so far removed from France in the 1700s. With an American adaption and online games made available across the UK and abroad, roulette truly is an online gambling game beloved by the world.

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Roulette Table Image

American Roulette

As is often the case when something arrives in the United States of America, a country and culture with it’s own rich tradition of gambling, there are some subtle and not so subtle tweaks to the game of roulette when played in that part of the world. Widely regarded as one of the most popular casino games in the world, it is hard to believe there was a time when the game was new to America but in the 18th century the game eventually arrived thanks to the French.

The game was already very popular in Europe and American gamblers were as excited as you might expect about this new trend arriving on their shores. However, as the game was evolving and as the casino trade was evolving too, there were certain people looking for ways to slightly tilt the odds in favour of the casino. After all, an industry built in chance was always likely to be a risky business. This is perhaps best exemplified by the roulette wheel itself as, with it’s chance to go double or nothing on bets on red or black, odds or even, the risk and reward has never been no clear - so black and white, more so.

How crucial then are the green pockets that are neither odds or evens, blacks or reds? Well, in the USA version of the game, there are not one but two of these green pockets, ever so slightly increasing the chances of a player losing when he or she bets on one of these outcomes classified as an evens bet. The addition of the extra green pocket is subtle and yet very important, with a small but significant shift towards the house in terms of odds.

This extra green pocket, in true patriotic American style, was often represented by an eagle figure or even, in the earliest days of American roulette wheels, there would be a second extra pocket added. This would make one zero, a double zero and an eagle pocket, further increasing the house advantage. This was eventually ruled out from the game of roulette but eve today, the occasional antique roulette wheel will have these extra pockets and as such, be evidence of it’s age.

While the American adaptation of roulette is very similar and just as popular as European roulette, this subtle but well known slight favouring of the odds against the player means that the wise roulette players among us will always swear by European roulette. A house edge of 5.26% makes a larger opposition for gamblers to face than in the European game, but the chance to place a ‘five number bet’ does not exist like it does in the American game. This is simply because the bet in question includes the double zero pocket, with a five number bet being all of 00, 0, 1, 2 and 3.

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European Roulette

As the game in question was of course invented in France, many traditionalists among us will often favour the European Roulette as opposed to the American Roulette Wheel. As you would have already learned by reading the above section, there are subtle but important differences between the American roulette wheel and the European roulette wheel that make a difference to your chances of winning against the house, that is, the casino hosting your game.

The difference is the amount of pockets on the wheel with there being one less zero pocket in the original game. The pocket with zero is marked with a green colour and as such, will not reward you with a win should you bet on a red or a black, odds or an even. This outcome of landing in the green is always likely to cause a stir of excitement around the table as its an unlikely outcome, or so it seems, at least.

Having one less zero on the board is of course good news if you consider the advantage of the house being lessened by this. Whereas American roulette has a house edge of 5.26%, European roulette only has a house edge of 2.7%. This, for some gamblers at least, is the only information needed before they choose which of these roulette wheels to play but there are actually more factors to consider before choosing which game to play either way.

The En Prison rule is an aspect unique to the game of European Roulette, just as the chance for a five number bet is to the American roulette wheel players. The En Prison rule makes it so that if the ball should land on the zero, green pocket after an even bet such as red or black, odds or evens, the player does not lose or win and rather, they can spin again at no extra wagering cost. This is a classic rule that adds another element and works as a little bit like a safety net for players using the European roulette wheel. On this next spin, the player is no less or more likely to win that before, but the illusion of a second chance is a really interesting element when it comes to debating odds versus emotion in gambling.

Roulette Wheel Cover

European Wheel Based Bets

The European wheel, should you choose to play on it, offers the following bets. While the game of roulette is very simple in some ways, the amounts of different bets and how best to use them is how to separate experienced players from inexperienced ones. You might find that those with the added know how and confidence around the table know their stuff and are able to get more bets placed, primarily just through needing less time. After all, once the dealer spins the wheel, that’s it, it is time to get your bets in.

Here are the European roulette wheel based bets.

Zero play
This bet will cover all the numbers of 12, 35, 3, 26, 0, 32, 15. For this best you must place four chips in total with one chip on 0/3 split, one chip on 12-15 split, one on 26 straight up and the final chip on 32-35 split.

Voisins de zero 

Translated from French, this bet specific to European roulette means the neighbours of zero. This covers the numbers of 22, 18, 29, 7, 28, 12, 35, 3, 26, 0, 32, 15, 19, 4, 21, 2, 25. In order to do this bet, the player will need 9 chips in total and to do Voisins de zero correctly, the chips will be placed accordingly. That is, 2 chips on the 0-2-3 trio, 1 on each of the splits: 4-7, 12-15, 18-21, 19-22, 32-35, 2 and 1 on 25-26-28-29 corner.

Orphelins
This bet name translates from French as orphans. This is something of a sad name but there will be nothing sad about it if it helps you to predict where that ball lands and rewards you with a win. This covers the numbers17, 34, 6, 1, 20, 14, 31 and 9. To do this bet, you will need 5 chips with 1 chip on 1 and 1 chip on each of the splits: 6-9, 14-17, 17-20, 31-34.

Tiers

Tiers is another bet exclusive to European roulette and it will cover the numbers 33, 16, 24, 5, 10, 23, 8, 30, 11, 36, 13 and 27. This one requires the gambler to use six of their chips in total, with one chip on each of the splits. A simple bet in some ways, this requires the chips to be placed on all of 5-8, 10-11, 13-16, 23-24, 27-30 and 33-36.

Neighbors
Another family simple bet the name of this one is self-explanatory. It covers five consecutive numbers on the wheel and the player will call out the number in the middle. This one will require 5 chips with consecutive numbers getting one each, easy.

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Roulette Wheel Layout Explained

The layout of a roulette wheel, be it an American roulette wheel or a European roulette wheel, is course a source of intrigue. Similar to a darts board in that the numerical values are not in ascending order, the logic behind this is simply to confuse the player a little. The wheel is of course so hard to predict with 37 or 38 different pockets that the ball could land in. Jumbling the numbers adds a little further to that, meaning it is hard to predict even in one’s own head what your number will look like should it land correctly.

You will of course notice that the red and black numbers alternate, as well as the evens and odds numbers as well being no more than two in a row each time. This is done with the idea of making the table or wheel as balanced or balanced looking as possible. In theory it should make no difference how the wheel is laid out and yet the roulette wheel is finely designed to look a certain way. Low and high numbers also alternate as much as they can on the reel.

Are there asymmetries in European Roulette?

On the fascinating collection of numbers that is the spinning roulette wheel, the most eagle eyed of players - or perhaps those who have done a good bit of research - will notice some asymmetry on the European roulette wheel. If the wheel was spilt in half from the zero pocket down, on one side all the numbers of the black pockets would be low along with high numbers in red. On the opposite side, the red numbers would be low along with high numbers in black.

Another quirk of the roulette wheel is that in the 9 number run of a section that is 29-7-28-12-35-3-26-0-32, there is no number from the second dozen. What does this mean? Well, perhaps not much, or perhaps an awful lot, depending on how you decide to bet on the roulette wheel odds.

Manufacturers of Roulette

Who manufactures roulette wheels is of course hugely dependent on whereabouts you are playing the game. In the UK, a company called Cammegh is one of the most prolific manufactures of roulette wheels with their European roulette wheels coming out of Ashford in Kent. Gaming Partners are also a well known maker of roulette wheels in the UK, and this brands in many ways are unsung heroes of the casino culture int he country. Without these brands and their attention to detail, gambling would not be the traditional, fun and very importantly, fair activity that it is.

As for online and mobile, if you are playing a freeplay roulette wheel, you will be working on a game that was made by one of the many developers who make the online casino industry what it is today. The likes of Microgaming, NetEnt and Yggdrasil are brands who are constantly innovating and creating online gambling titles for people to enjoy from their own homes. In many ways, these are the modern day manufacturers, using random number generator software to ensure a fair and reliable gambling experience for their thousands of clients.

Creating a Roulette Wheel - how to make it trustworthy

Roulette wheels, the physical ones that is, not the ones on your laptop or online casino site of choice, have to be built to certain standards. These are actually rules of gambling in many ways and are made public for anyone wanting to know how the roulette wheel is made. There are lots of aspects to these specifications which relate to weight and distribution with all kinds of physics involved in a fair game of roulette.

  • The wheel should have its weight distributed evenly throughout.
  • The wheel and ball must be constructed of non-magnetic substances to prevent interference from magnetic sources.
  • The cylinder should rotate and move freely of its own accord but all affixed parts of the roulette wheel must be secure and free from
  • The ball pockets or compartments on the wheel track (wheel ring) must follow these rules:
  • Each compartment (pocket) has precisely the same dimensions with every other compartment.
  • They are evenly spaced.
  • They allow the roulette ball to land and rest easily and smoothly within the compartment.

In older days, there have of course been cases of wheels being unfair perhaps due to wear and tear, a lack of precision when creating it or even, on purpose, in order to gain a larger house advantage. Thanks to gambling laws and regulations though gambling has never been safer and this is also largely thanks to technology as well which has allowed for perfect laser precision when making roulette tables.

In order to keep these standards, casinos will have members of staff that regularly check the wheels and these staff can also be backed up by third party staff, too. Should something slip through the system and a wheel be faulty, there are rather serious consequences for the casino. So accurately must manufacturers follow the regulations of the roulette wheel spec, that in theory you should be able to make a wheel using parts from different developers and have no issues at all. Deceleration of wheels is pretty much a thing of the past now, too, thanks to improvements in new roulette wheels that cope much better with ageing and wear and tear compared to those first created in the 18th century - as you might expect!

Roulette Pockets - Size Does Matter

As for the roulette pockets, when it comes to providing a completely fair game of roulette, be this on a European roulette wheel or on an American roulette wheel, the size of the pockets are very important. They must be, as made clear above, all the exact same size. This is to ensure that the ball has just as much chance of dropping into each compartment as the last. They must also be evenly spaced for the same reasons, so as you can see, the effort that goes into a roulette wheel is incredibly important to offering a fair service.

Roulette Pocket

How does the Ball Stop in a Roulette Pocket?

It is a mesmerising sight to watch a roulette ball roll and spin and eventually stop in a pocket. The ball stops at the end of the spin but the wheel itself may still be spinning. The ball will roll around the track inside the table and outside of the wheel, spinning around the circle in an opposite direction to the how the wheel spins. It will stop when it’s speed slows down and it rolls onto the wheel, falling into a pocket where it’s momentum will stop.

The Roulette Ball

The ball itself is always of a certain weight, perfectly round and usually white in colour. A more lively ball is not very popular with some gamblers due to way they bounce around a little more unpredictably. These make it hard for those who bet with a visual cue, late on in the spin. Typically balls will spin for between 20 and 25 spins in land-based casinos but online games can be over much quicker. Heavier balls tend to roll around a little slower than lighter balls, but this makes little difference to the outcome.