The roulette wheel is a marvelous example of meticulous engineering and subtle design. For years, the structure of the wheel has been of great interest to gamblers and players alike. It’s understandable since many believe that winning in this game of chance lies within the roulette wheel itself and its mysteriously placed numbers.
But are the numbers really arranged randomly? Or have they all been arranged methodically using mathematics and logic? The answer is both. The roulette wheel is designed using the countless subtleties of mathematics to ensure that the game has just the right amount of randomness in it.
The Basic Layout
Basically, the roulette wheel is a large bowl whose walls are slanted and separated into several compartments, called pockets. The pockets of the roulette wheel are just large enough to accommodate the ball when the wheel stops turning. The roulette wheel pockets are numbered 0 through 36 and alternately colored red or black with the 0 pocket colored green. In Las Vegas casinos, the number placement around the roulette wheel determines the randomness of the game. However, in online roulette wheels, it’s a little different.
Most online roulette sites use a piece of software called a Random Number Generator (RNG) to determine where the ball lands in a virtual roulette wheel. The RNG used in slot machines is quite similar to those used by online casinos. The software produces thousands of random numbers per second and when the roulette wheel turns, these numbers get extracted and forwarded so you can see on which number the ball rests. Using a set of rules that correspond to the odds for a game, the software gives an accurate outcome based on randomness and appropriate odds.
The Two Types of Wheels
There are two types of roulette wheels used – the American roulette wheel and the European version. The only difference between these two is that the American roulette wheel uses two zeros – the single zero (0) and the double zero (00). This type of roulette wheel allows the house an advantage of 5.26% which means that for every $100 bet you make, the house earns $5.26.
The European roulette wheel on the other hand has only one zero, the single zero (0). Therefore, as opposed to the American roulette wheel which has 38 numbers, the European roulette wheel has 37 numbers from 0 through 36. The European roulette wheel allows the house an advantage of 2.70% which is much lower than the American roulette wheel.