Roulette Numbers and Ball Drop

french_rouletteTo come across a wheel with a certain bias is not something extraordinary. Casino staff tends not to focus on this topic and would do anything to convince players that a biased wheel is an extremely rare occurrence. The reason to do so is that any bias, when discovered by a player, may be used to his/her advantage and therefore, this would adversely affect casino profits. A variety of wheel biases can be pinpointed. Some of them were caused by accident, others were a result of deliberate actions, while a third group of biases were introduced after years of heavy use.

The case with wheel randomness

A roulette wheel is considered to be random, when it is perfectly symmetrical, dimensional and balanced. For instance, the width and depth of each ball pocket need to be one and the same; the frets need to be of one and the same height and need to have one and the same stiffness; the ball track needs to be perfectly flat and circular; the pocket pads need to be equally resilient. The truth, however, is that there is no such roulette wheel. Even those wheels having the finest design, may appear to have inherent manufacturing variances. This leads us to the term ”a random enough wheel”. No matter what inherent bias a wheel may have, it is usually not an easy task to detect it, while in other cases the bias is not sufficiently strong in order to neutralize the advantage of the house. A brand new roulette wheel needs to be not only random enough, but also sufficiently jagged in order to preserve that condition after years of constant use.

A roulette wheel being random enough when it is brand new, however, does not mean it is immune to irregularities as it amortizes. These irregularities may be caused by ordinary wear, accidental damage, or deliberate actions. Small anomalies during construction, that may seem inferior when the wheel has not yet been put into service, could lead to particular non-random characteristics.

On the other hand, in time a number of wheels tend to develop wear patterns, which could lead to various biases, especially if those wheels have lacked proper maintenance. These biases can be detected, and respectively, exploited, by vigilant players through methodical observation during play.

European Roulette Wheel

Number Biases

As we already discussed, the ball is usually spun in the opposite direction to that of wheelhead rotation. Because of this fact, a number of players tend to believe that it is not possible for a roulette wheel to give preference to specific numbers. In fact, it is not that difficult to cause a wheel to favor particular contiguous groups of numbers. A wheel can also be deliberately set to favor red or black, odd or even numbers. At present, the majority of biases are introduced by accident.

In case a wheel has an obvious bias, sooner or later it will be detected by casino management and a solution will be found as soon as possible. In case, however, the bias is rather delicate, it may remain hidden to casino staff, but not to a cunning player who may have been using it for a while to score small but steady gains.

Roulette Ball Speed

Ball Drop-Off Point

A curious feature of older roulette wheels is that the ball tends to leave the ball track from one and the same spot on the perimeter of the bowl. It can be a result of a slight warpage of the circular track or of an insignificant wear-groove, which causes the ball to exit the track at the particular spot every time it begins spinning below a certain speed.

At times the exit point from the ball track is not that easy to notice, but still appears useful for prediction methods. In other cases, there may be more than one exit spots from the track, something which can be observed on wheels, that are not perfectly level.

It is reasonable to believe that once casino management detects this tendency of the ball to leave the track regularly from one and the same spot, the wheel would immediately be taken out of service and fixed. Practice has shown that it is not an easy task at all. A casino will probably not try to fix the problem, but instead scrap the entire roulette wheel or have it completely reconstructed. Not to mention that some casinos may prefer to leave the wheel as it is as long as it earns them a profit on a consistent basis.

To find a predictable exit spot is a key moment in visual tracking. In order to track the ball visually and determine which pocket it is likely to come to rest into, a player needs to determine the following: first, the spot on the perimeter of the track where the ball will exit; second, when the ball will exit; third, the position of the rotating wheelhead when the exit is being made. In case any of these unknowns are taken out of the way, it would turn visual prediction into a possible task. Once a predictable exit spot is located, the visual tracker will know where the ball will drop and what is more, it will also have a good idea of the timing of the drop. With the help of a decent computer prediction program to determine the positions of the wheelhead and the roulette ball at any moment becomes not that hard. The truly hard part is to project where and when the ball will leave the track.

Roulette Ball Bounce

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