All You Need To Know About the Roulette Wheel

Roulette is one of the most popular games in casinos. The game is played with a ball, a spinning wheel featuring a set of coloured numbers and a croupier. Before each round, the croupier will call for players to place their bets and then spin the wheel once all wagers are placed. The ball will land on a number, that will be either red or black – or the green 0, determining which of the players have won their bets.

Roulette Wheel Origins

The origins of the roulette wheel can be traced back to the 18th century in France. It is believed that Blaise Pascal, a mathematician, was the first person to introduce a primitive form of the roulette wheel. According to historians, he was looking to develop a perpetual motion machine that would evaluate chance. However, he ended up forming a gaming wheel that later went on to be called roulette. Interestingly, roulette means little wheel in French.

In the late 18th century and beginning of the 19th century, roulette wheels were introduced to casinos. They were known to have two slots reserved for the bank, the red 0 and black 00. To avoid confusion, both numbers were changed to green at the start of the 1800s.

By the 19th century, roulette had spread throughout Europe and the US. Over the course of the century, the single 0 roulette wheel had become the most played variant in Europe. The United States, however, continued to use both the 0 and 00.

Fast forward to the 1970s and a large portion of casinos had at least one roulette wheel. In 1996, the first ever online roulette game was developed. Nowadays, you can play live roulette online, giving you the land casino experience from the comfort of your own home.

What makes a Roulette Wheel?

A Roulette Wheel is made up from a number of components. Namely, the base, shaft, pockets, diamonds and rotor. There are 37 or 38 different numbers on a roulette wheel that all have their own colours and pockets. In European and French Roulette 37 numbers are used whereas American Roulette has 38 numbers. When adding all the numbers together, you end up with 666. Hence, roulette is sometimes called the ‘devil’s game’.

The Roulette Base

Every roulette wheel has a base. This is the outer part of the wheel, that is usually made of wood. The base is important for the design of the wheel but does not necessarily need to be maintained. Unlike other parts of the wheel, if it has a few scratches or dents, it does not affect the way the wheel operates. The roulette base is very durable and ultimately protects the interior of the wheel.

The Roulette Shaft

The shaft of the roulette wheel is the inner metal part that supports the rotor. Another name for it is the roulette spindle. The roulette shaft requires maintenance to ensure that it is in working order. If there is a dent or an unsymmetrical spindle, this can damage the randomness of the roulette wheel.

Roulette Pockets

The pockets of a roulette wheel are the slots that have a number and colour on them. The design of the pockets is quite important, as they may affect the predictability of a spin. In older roulette wheels, pockets were very deep, ensuring that when the ball landed, it stayed in a single pocket, rather than jump around a few times. However, modern roulette wheels do not have as deep pockets. This increases the randomness of a roulette wheel.

If a pocket is too loose, it can cause the ball to rest too quickly. One of the most famous designs for a roulette wheel is the Huxley Starburst. This design features pockets that have a triangular shape. With this shape, the ball is likely to deflect in one way or another. This makes the roulette wheel more unpredictable and provides greater randomness on a single spin. In addition, you may also find pockets that have low frets. Frets are the borders that divide the pockets.

Roulette Diamonds

Roulette Diamonds are also known as deflectors, pins, stops or slats. If a roulette wheel features this design, the diamonds will stick out on the face of the wheel. Their main purpose is to change the ball’s path. Most roulette wheels with diamonds will wear out eventually. When this happens, casinos tend to replace the wheel with new diamonds, to ensure that the outcomes are completely random. Any imperfections can alter the result of a spin.

The Roulette Rotor

The roulette rotor is part of the inner mechanism of a wheel. It weights approximately 66 lbs and is fundamental for equal and fair spins. For casinos, maintaining the roulette rotor is important for keeping the games fair. It is the part that may develop wear and tear imperfections over time but should be taken care of.

The Ball Track

The roulette ball track is the path on which the ball is released. It is essential for casinos to ensure that the roulette wheel has a symmetric ball track. Whilst scratches and imperfections are impossible to prevent, the roulette wheel should be maintained to keep all spins random. Typically, the ball travels on a wooden ball track.

Roulette Table Layout

The roulette table has a unique layout. French and European Roulette Wheels have 37 numbers whilst American Roulette has 38. The difference is the former two contain one green zero and the latter contains a green 0 and 00.

An American Roulette wheel has the following table layout:


As for the French and European Roulette wheels, the numbers have a slightly different position. They look like:


Roulette Terminology

A roulette table is made up of different sectors. The zones all have a French name. The sectors include the following:

  • Jeu 0: This includes the numbers 12-35-3-26-0-32 and 15
  • Voisins du Zero: This includes the numbers 22-18-29-7-28-12-35-3-26-0-32-15-19-4-21-2-25.
  • Orphelins: This includes the numbers 1-20-14-31-9 and 17-34-6
  • Tiers du Cylindre: This includes the numbers 27-13-36-11-30-8-23-10-5-24-16-33.

Types of Bets

Ultimately, roulette wheels allow players to place a variety of bets. This includes wagering on up to 5 consecutive numbers. The basic roulette bets are called inside and outside bets, and this refers to where the chips are placed on the betting area.

Roulette Inside Bets

Inside bets are wagers that have a big pay-out but are very difficult to win. The odds of winning are higher but so is the pay-out. Some examples of inside bets include:

  • A bet on a single number paying 35:1
  • A bet on two adjoining numbers paying 17:1
  • A bet on a street, meaning three consecutive numbers on the betting area, which pays out 11:1

Roulette Outside Bets

As for outside bets, they are wagers that are a lot more likely to win. Typically, the odds you’re up against are just under 50%. However, as they are easier to win, the pay-out is not as eye-catching as inside bets. Some standard outside bets include:

  • A bet on red or black paying 1:1
  • A bet on odd or even paying 1:1
  • A bet on 1-18 or 19-36 paying 1:1
  • A bet on a dozen (group of 12 numbers) paying 2:1

Inside and outside bets are available at all roulette tables. They offer a variety of bet types that can be combined in order to develop strategies. Naturally, inside bets are a lot more rewarding but difficult to win. Most seasoned players make copious use of outside bets.

Closing Remarks

To sum up, a roulette wheel requires a lot of maintenance and has many different parts to it. For casinos to ensure their games are fair, the wheel must be close to perfect. If there are any imperfections that can alter the predictability of a roulette wheel, they must be resolved. At Spin Rio, you can play roulette games that feature a real wheel by checking out our live roulette games.

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