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How Understanding the Physics of Roulette Can Help Your Game
For centuries, mathematicians and physicists have studied the mechanical aspects of the roulette wheel. Their findings provide data about the wheels that provide more insight about the game of roulette as well as about online slots. If you’re prepared to spend a little time reviewing these elements you may be able to positively influence your game.
One aspect that bears closer examination involves the logic of the wheel layout.
In both European and American roulette, the way that the numbers are ordered on the wheel-track differs from what their arithmetic value would suggest.
The layout is totally different on both wheels but the layout on either wheel suggests the reason that roulette is, in theory, a very balanced game.
The succession of the numbers on the wheel was designed to:
- Alternate low (1-18) and high (19 – 36 or 37) numbers. The European wheel is considered to be more balanced because the only time that a high and low number meet is when you see the 5 next to the 10. On the American wheel, there are several sectors with adjacent high and low numbers. So the European wheel isn’t perfectly balanced but it comes closest.
- Confuse players. With the mix of colors and numbers, it’s not easy for a novice player to remember the placement of the pockets or understand the relation of the sectors and numbers. That makes it almost impossible for anyone but an expert to notice a bias or bet on a specific sector. The roulette table layout adds to the confusion. Expert roulette players know the sequence of numbers on the wheel by heart but casinos know that for most gamers, it’s impossible.
- Alternate colors – There are alternating colors on both American and European wheels.
- Alternate odds and evens -- odd numbers and even numbers are evenly distributed along the wheel with no more than two odd or even numbers situated next to each other.
By splitting the circumference in two halves from the zero you’ll see all the red high numbers and the black low numbers on the left side. All the black high numbers and the low red numbers are on the right side. In addition, in the 29-7-28-12-35-3-26-0-32 sector, there are no numbers from the second dozen.
Throughout the centuries roulette players have always looked for patterns or ways to exploit the game’s flaws as they explored how to beat the game. Today’s technology has llowed roulette manufacturers to build precise wheels that don’t malfunction or have age biases.
However, the advances in technology brought with it new challenges including the problem of roulette deceleration.
Roulette deceleration refers to the ever decreasing speed at which the ball travels across the wheel until it stops in a slot. Manufacturers have been working on designing roulette wheels that have no slow down. The latest wheels are virtually unaffected by deceleration but it’s still an issue.
For roulette gaming machines, which is the main form of roulette played online, this is not a concern. There, the wheels are basically computer software at work. But for those online players who play Live Dealer games, or for gamers at brick-and-mortar casinos, it’s an issue. The slow down makes it difficult for professional roulette players to extract the most from a roulette betting system. Casinos love it and players hate it.
Since as roulette wheels age, deceleration is inevitable. The casinos see it as having time on their side and against system players.
Roulette balls are proportional to the number of pockets in the wheel and the dimensions of the wheel itself. Land-based casinos and Live Dealer online casinos generally use large wheels that have a diameter equal to 27, 30 or 32 inches. The balls used are accordingly sized at 18mm and 21mm.
In the past, in order to make the outcomes even more unpredictable, the casinos would alternate once a day between one “small” (18mm) and one “big” (21mm) ball. The non-playing ball would rest on top of the center of the roulette until it’s “turn.” Casino quality balls are generally made of Teflon, resin or ceramic material.
The old roulette balls used to be made of ivory and balls are still called “ivorine,” even though they are actually synthetic, though they still resemble the ivory look and feel. Players should note that the differences in weight, dimensions and material of the ball can impact the game. A small, light ceramic ball makes more revolution on the wheel track. When it falls it jumps more unpredictably before it lands on a number. A big ivorine ball is more stable and makes less revolution.
Casinos are careful to use anti-magnetic and unpredictable balls so that they can deter casino cheats and advantage players. Be careful if you’re playing at an unregulated casino since there have been some reports about such casinos using piezoelectric roulette balls to rig roulette games.
There are basic standards to which roulette manufacturers must adhere when constructing a roulette wheel:
- The weight of the wheel should be distributed evenly throughout.
- Both the ball and the wheel must be constructed of non-magnetic substances and may not include anything that would invite interference from magnetic sources.
- The cylinder should move freely and rotate of its own accord while all parts of the roulette wheel that are affixed are free from movement and secure.
- Each compartment/ball pocket on the wheel track (wheel ring) must:
- Have precisely the same dimensions as every other compartment.
- Be evenly spaced.
- Enable the roulette ball to land and rest smoothly and easily within the compartment.
If you see a wheel that doesn’t meet these conditions, it’s either a biased, defective wheel, that has slipped the attention of the casino and can be taken advantage of by some expert players or an intentionally rigged wheel that is controlled by the casino.
If you look above the number pockets and under the ball track you can see 8 or 16 ball deflectors. These deflectors are also called “diamonds” or “canoe stops” because of their shape. When the ball leaves the ball track it hits these deflectors at which point they change the speed and direction of the ball before it lands in a numbered pocket. The deflectors are designed to make outcomes even more unpredictable.
There’s a new patented technology called Random Rotor Speed (RRS) which was developed by Gammegh. RRS is an optional security upgrade for the Mercury 360 roulette wheel which employs a contactless technique to imperceptibly and randomly change the speed of the machine’s rotor after the game has already started. RRS was designed to deter expert players from using roulette computers or a dealer’s signature (metronomic dealers) to gain an advantage.
RRS is described as a security feature. Many roulette players view any attempt to affect the rotor speed with suspicion.
A player who is trying to gain an advantage over the house in roulette might look for a roulette wheel with deeper pocket pads. Wheels with shallow pocket pads experience a wider ball scatter. The pockets are either divided through the smart use of metal frets (separators) or forged into a metal block.
On most roulette wheels there are even frets where the height at both ends is the same. On some wheels in which the frets drop towards the center it can be harder to anticipate where the ball will eventually land since the ball can theoretically jump the narrow gap to the next number.
Small yet even frets are the most common. These are the kinds of wheels that are preferred by brick-and-mortar casinos because it adds more suspense and anticipation to the game. The balls jump and don’t stay in place. The casino can use a wheel with high frets but that takes too much excitement out of the game.
For those who prefer a roulette wheel that doesn’t favor ball jumping, there’s a wheel with curved frets. On such a wheel the balls move easily from one number to the other without sinking into the pocket on which they first land.
There are even wheels with curved pockets. The impact on these wheels is similar to those with curved frets but on a curved pocket wheel the player won’t see bouncing. Similarly, it’s impossible to predict the ball’s final resting place on such a wheel.
Finally, there are wheels with scalloped pockets where the scatter is quite large even though the ball “jumps” are minimal. Some of the big Vegas casinos use this type of wheel.
Engineers say that all of these wheel, fret and pocket variations don’t change the random results of the roulette spin but some gamers continue to try to discover how these elements can work in their favor.