The Roulette wheel was created by Frenchman Blaise Pascal – albeit accidently – in the 17th century, but still to this day the popular game dominates both land-based casino floors and online casino pages. The thrill of the white ball zipping by, before it makes its final few laps, and bounces between the roulette wheel numbers, is second to none in terms of classic brick-and-mortar games.
However, with the excitement comes sheer unpredictability. There’s no ‘idiots guide on how to win at the Roulette table’, as there’s no proven winning strategy, but there are secrets to the ‘Devil’s Wheel’ – as it’s also known. Read on to find out!
The two types of the Roulette wheel
The American Roulette wheel has a total of 38 pockets, with numbers ranging from zero and double zero to 36. The numbers are evenly split between red and black, whilst both zeros are green – and on opposite sides of the wheel. The numbers on the American wheel run clockwise in this order: 0, 2, 14, 35, 23, 4, 16, 33, 21, 6, 18, 31, 19, 8, 12, 29, 25, 10, 27, 00, 1, 13, 36, 24, 3, 15, 34, 22, 5, 17, 32, 20, 7, 11, 30, 26, 9, 28.
The European Roulette wheel excludes the double zero pocket, therefore giving it a lower house edge – meaning punters win more often. The numbers are also half black and half red with a green zero. The numbers on a European wheel run clockwise in this order: 0, 26, 3, 35, 12, 28, 7, 29, 18, 22, 9, 31, 14, 20, 1, 33, 16, 24, 5, 10, 23, 8, 30, 11, 36, 13, 27, 6, 34, 17, 25, 2, 21, 4, 19, 15, and 32.
Behind the layouts
As you can see from above, the European and American wheels have completely different layouts. These are well thought out layouts that achieve several different things. Mainly, that it makes it difficult for players to imagine the layout of the wheel, the combination of the wheel – which isn’t in numerical and order – and the table – which is. This makes it very difficult for beginners to get a mental image of specific sectors and the sequences of numbers.
The numbers are also split evenly – mostly! The colours alternate every pocket, as well as the low (1-18) and high (19-36) – and this is where the mostly comes in! In European Roulette the five and the 10 are next to each other, this is the only acceptation to this rule on the European wheel.
However, in American Roulette there are several pockets where low and high numbers are next to each other, for example, two is next to 14 and four is 16. This means the American version isn’t as balanced as the European.
Finally, odd and even numbers tend to be evenly distributed with no more than two of the same kind of number beside each other. Both wheels tend to go; odd-odd-even-even.
The different types of pockets
The most avid of Roulette players will keep a close eye on the wheels pockets. Believe it or not, there are a wide variety of pocket styles and each can determine the outcome of the spin for different reasons. Pockets can be shallow or deep and be separated into a metal blocks or kept apart by thinner frets. Here are some of the most common pockets;
Small and even frets is the most common found pocket style. This is because the ball jumps or skips about more – making the game more exhilarating. The higher the fret, the less likely the ball is to bounce between pockets.
Frets which drop towards the centre are also commonly found. These make it harder to predict where the ball will eventually land as it can jump or even roll between the gaps.
Curved frets or curved pockets – in some cases – are much less popular. The ball bouncing between pockets is less common on this style of wheel. Instead, the ball rolls between the pockets a lot easier as they don’t sink into the pocket as easily.
Roulette balls – which used to made of ivory – are proportional in comparison to the wheel and the pockets. Land-based casinos wheels tend to have a diameter of 27, 30 or 32 inches, whilst the balls are usually 18mm or 21mm. Casinos usually swap the ball from the smaller 18mm ball to the larger 21mm ball once a day, in order to make the game even more unpredictable. When the other ball isn’t in use it tends to patiently sit in the centre of the wheel – on top of the spinning mechanism.