The roulette wheel is the iconic part of the game that everyone is familiar with. But unless you have studied it closely (or looked at an online roulette guide), you would probably not be able to say much more about it except that it contains black and red slots. A real wooden roulette wheel is a joy to look at, and they can be ornate or plain to suit the casino. Some have dark wood, black wood or in some casinos plastic wheels; however, you cannot really beat the classic wooden look.
The quality of the wheel will impact how well it spins, and this is important. High-end casinos will only want quality wheels in their establishment, and there are several factors that need to be considered. A good wheel must have an even distribution of weight in order to spin well, and there must be nothing magnetic used in the construction of the wheel itself or the ball used.
Obviously, all of the compartments need to be identically and evenly sized, and there will be either 37 or 38 depending on the type of wheel being used. The compartments must be designed so that the ball can land and rest with ease. If any of these things are not taken into consideration, you are looking at a wheel that is basically, although possibly unintentionally rigged. Professional players have learned to spot a badly designed wheel due to the pattern of winning numbers and could easily take advantage of any defect to ensure that they win.
Around the edge of the wheel, there will either be 16 or 8 deflectors which knock the direction of the ball and the speed at which it moves to add an extra layer of unpredictability to the game. These are called diamonds or canoe stops because of their shape. The
real wheel is one of the reasons why live dealer roulette has gained so much popularity as users feel it is too easy for virtual random number generators to be biased or rigged. There is a confidence in seeing a quality wheel used in play. Depending on the casino you can expect to find wheels of 27, 30 or 32 inches to create the wow factor and the balls will often alternate between a small 18mm ball and larger 21mm to bring even more unpredictability to the game.
European Roulette Wheel
All forms of roulette must use either the European roulette wheel or the American roulette wheel. The majority of games use this wheel, and it is by far the most popular. The European wheel features 37 slots, with the traditional alternating red and black spaces and a single green space represented by a zero. While this is often misrepresented as the original wheel, it was actually the second incarnation after the game was revamped in the 18th century.
The green space ensures that the house has a slight advantage as bets placed on an either-or scenario are not technically 50/50, and the house edge is actually only 2.70% overall on a 1/37 basis. French roulette uses the same wheel as do many other versions, and you will also hear this design of wheel referred to as single zero roulette. The sequence of the numbers is very important and can never be changed.
It may look random, but there is actually a plan behind the location of all of the numbers. It is often queried why the numbers do not just run sequentially around; however, they are deliberately scattered to try and ensure a fair mix of odds and evens and highs and lows. Anyone making a European wheel would not only need to comply with the design features but would need to use this sequence of numbers to be authentic. Starting at one in a clockwise rotation the numbers must be shown as: 1-20-14-31-9-22-18-29-7-28-12-35-3-26-0-32-15-19-4-21-2-25-17-34-6-27-13-36-11-30-8-23-10-5-24-16-33.
American Roulette Wheel
The only other accepted version of the wheel is the American roulette wheel. This is the original wheel and features two green sections — one carrying the already seen 0 and the other featuring 00, which in terms of odds gives the house a slightly better advantage. Many people assumed this was the newer design and a deliberate move by the American casinos to fall in their favour however it is as it was designed in the 1600s by Pascal.
The odds are now 1/38 which over al does not have a massive impact, but some people will avoid this wheel for that reason alone. One a 50/50 bet the odds are actually 47.37% on the American wheel compared to 48.65% on the European version: not a massive difference but enough to put some people off. You would only expect to find the American wheel when playing that specific version of roulette, but even with the difference in odds it is still widely offered and played at online casinos all over the world.
The American wheel is numbered differently with the order being:0-28-9-26-30-11-7-20-32-17-5-22-34-15-3-24-36-13-1-00-27-10-25-29-12-8-19-31-18-6-21-33-16-4-23-35-14 and unsurprisingly this is often referred to as
double zero roulette. Of course, the different versions of the game produce slightly different betting mats for you to stake your wager, and these will be arranged in a similar fashion with lines of three numbers going up incrementally, with the zero and outside bets marked around the edge of the mat. Red or black will either be defined by the words or by diamond shapes of the correct colour. The American roulette game has many of the same bets as the European but may differ slightly from the French version of the game.