Most people think a roulette wheel will produce totally random spins. This is for a few reasons, but you only need to look at a few spins, and see at the ball seemingly bounces chaotically. So it looks totally random. But is it?
The short answer is spins are far from random. Furthermore, wheels have many imperfections that lead to predictable spins. This article explains some of the major points, but no means is it an exhaustive or complete explanation. to explain everything would take a book. So this article is more to give you a taste of roulette wheel physics.
Wheels Are Manufactured With Imperfections
Roulette wheels are manufactured equipment. And any manufactured equipment inevitably has flaws. This is the case whether the wheel-base is made from wood, or a kind of plastic resin.
Even a brand new wheel from the factory floor can be biased. And when I refer to bias, I mean that some numbers will win more than others. Even some of the more seasoned roulette players still believe that biased wheels don’t exist anymore. The fact is that every roulette wheel is biased to some degree. But for casinos to be aware of the bias, thousands of spins need to be analysed. An experienced player can detect a bias much sooner.
Analysis of The Casino’s Bias Detection Software
I have had the benefit of being sent roulette wheel bias analysis software, which was designed by one of the wheel manufacturers. I received it back in 2016, and was surprised to see how simplistic it was. How did I receive the software? It was sent to me by an ex-casino floor manager, who worked in a European casino. He also sent me months of data from the various wheels in their casino. It may have been a small sample compared to the rest of the world’s data. But it gave an interesting insight into what casinos know about biased wheels.
I should also add it isn’t the first time an ex-casino employee defected to the side of players. Many of my players once worked for casinos. I’ve even had some casinos ask me to apply roulette computers in their own casino, which appeared to be some form illegal collusion. That’s another matter for another day.
Basically the software placed wheels in three main colored categories. They were green, orange and red. The wheels with green ratings did not appear to exhibit any significant bias. At least a bias not strong enough to be exploitable by professional roulette strategy players.
Orange wheels had a moderate bias, but were not necessarily removed from the gaming floor. They were more something for the floor managers to kept an eye on. As the casino manager explained, some roulette wheels can cost in excess of ten thousand dollars each. And because most players don’t have the first clue about exploiting roulette wheels, there is no hurry to change a wheel rated as orange.
Wheels that rated red were removed from the floor immediately. These are wheels that Exhibit a strong bias, which is easily exploited by professional players.
Giving casino floor managers a color rating for wheel bias is an overly simplistic approach. Wheel bias from imperfections is not a simple thing.
So was the buyers software sophisticated? Actually no. It was no more complicated than a typical Excel worksheet. It gave chi-square analysis, Which involves very simplistic calculations. The software gave very little data that would be used by modern professional players. So became very clear the software was designed to be sold to casinos, rather than be effective protection for casinos.
Casino staff in land-based casinos are rather unaware of how inadequate their bias analysis software is. They lack the required training. This is more-so the case with online casinos that use real wheels, because the staff are often poorly trained. On this note, if you intend to play online, see the various casino bonus websites. They will apply to casinos with live dealer real or RNG roulette. But be aware of the requirements of any bonus. They always come with strings attached. So don’t expect to win large amounts from bonuses, and be able to cash out immediately.
The Ball Track
The most vulnerable part of a roulette wheel is the ball track. This is where the ball is released, and rolls around before falling onto the rotor. Usually the surface of the ball track is made from a kind of resin. The resin is specifically designed to be durable against wear and tear, and even chemical spills.
The issues will occur with any online roulette spin, where real wheels are used. They don’t apply to RNG roulette because there is no physical wheel.
It doesn’t mean the material is space-age, and going to last forever. In fact it is really not much harder than any other plastic. Like any other material, it will eventually wear down.
Consider the roulette wheel will stay in the same place often for weeks at a time. In many cases, it is not even rotated. This means that the dealer releases the ball from around the same point on the ball track. Dealers are taught to release the ball in a manner that does not cause undue wear on the ball track. But it is inevitable that greater wear and tear will occur at the point of ball release.
Even if the wheel is rotated on a daily basis (to change the balls first impact point), the ball track will degrade over time. The effective similar to dirt road corrugation. All it takes to start the corrugation is one imperfection. And over time, a single imperfection has a ripple effect on the rest of the ball track. Seen below is a photo of typical road corrugation:
So what does this mean professional roulette players? It means that dominant drop zones for the ball are inevitable. A dominant drop zone is where the ball falls from the ball track at certain points more than others. This is not random behavior, which therefore makes spins more predictable.
The only way to correct imperfections is to completely strip back and re-apply the resin. This is usually done by contractors the casinos use. Although some of the bigger casinos have their own in-house roulette wheel repair service.
I could write an entire article just on the ball track alone. Essentially it doesn’t take long for a ball track to develop significant imperfections that make the wheel predictable. Even a brand-new or polished wheel may start with a smooth ball track. But after a few hours of spinning, the ball release point becomes rougher than at the opposing side (even just from a collection of dirt and grit). This is the beginnings of the corrugation effect, which I explained above.
More To Come
I’ll be writing more about roulette wheel imperfections, and attributes that make them predictable. Really I could write a book about it. While it’s nothing wheel manufacturers don’t already know, most casino employees have relatively little understanding of how predictable wheels can be.
Although i referred to wheel bias, strategies I use do not rely on bias. But they do utilize wheel imperfections if they are present. Do my techniques need wheel imperfections? No, they are just contributing factors. What makes spins predictable is ultimately the designs and fixed physical features. To summarize it, it’s nearly impossible to design a completely unpredictable wheel. But it’s not at all difficult to have slightly accurate predictions, which is all you need to overcome the house edge.