Components of the Roulette Wheel

french_rouletteIn the past almost all of the roulette wheels at US casinos were produced domestically by renowned masters such as Benteler, Tramble, Wills etc. At present, however, this is not the case. The last of the most noted US roulette craftsmen, Paul Tramble, retired in 1996, while his business was taken over by Bud Jones Gaming Supplies in Las Vegas. Nowadays, it is a practice among US casinos to import their roulette wheels from suppliers located in Europe, with one of them being the UK-based John Huxley. These wheels are manufactured solely for the US market and feature a double zero and the American number sequence. What is specific about the wheels is that many of them include European-style ball tracks and low-profile ball pockets, which may be an obstruction to players attempting to use prediction methods.

Although there are a number of variations in construction, every roulette wheel has physical vulnerabilities. Astute players are aware that certain methods of play tend to be not so effective on particular types of roulette wheels, thus, it is crucial for one to be able to spot any visual differences. In the current article we dedicate some time discussing the main components, which comprise a roulette wheel, and their specific features.

The Bowl and the Wheelhead

Every wheel is comprised by two main elements – an external housing (known as a bowl) and a center piece, which rotates (known as a wheelhead). The bowl is usually 32 inches in diameter and is made entirely of solid wood or wood composition with wood paneling. The bowl mechanism includes a ball track, a lower ball track (apron) with ball deflectors and a vertical component, known as a spindle. The main function of the latter is to support the rotating center piece.

The wheelhead is placed inside the bowl and has a diameter of 20 inches. In the common case, it is fitted with upper and lower ball-bearing mechanisms, though some low-cost roulette wheels feature a needle bearing. The outer edge of the wheelhead features a circle of numbers, while inside these numbers is where the ball pockets are placed. The central area of the wheelhead is known as a cone, because it has an upward slope toward the center of the wheelhead. The main function of the cone is to help a spinning ball return to the pockets. The cone has a decorative piece attached to its center, which is called a turret. Inside the latter is where the height-adjusting mechanism for the wheelhead is located. Height adjustment is critical, because if the outer edge of the wheelhead is too high compared to the lower edge of the apron, the ball may hang up there and may not be able to drop into a pocket.

Illustration of European roulette and betting layout

The Ball Track

The type of track and the condition it is in is of utmost importance for any player using a prediction technique. Two decades ago the ball tracks on American roulette wheels were quite similar. However, at present, a new track design appeared which, according to astute players, is probably diminishing the success of prediction techniques by 90%.

Older types of ball tracks had a lip on which the ball rides, as it spins around the track. As soon as the ball slows down sufficiently, the centrifugal force will no longer hold it up, thus, the ball will eventually fall off the track lip. In case the ball comes into contact with one of the ball deflectors, it will usually jump around for a while before it comes to rest in a pocket. There are cases, when the ball will pass between two of the deflectors and settle into a pocket right away, without showing much action. The ball will usually come to rest within one or two pockets from the one it first entered. On roulette wheels with older type of ball tracks and deep pockets, a less-lively ball will usually come to rest in a pocket close to the one that was slightly ahead of the ball when it left the track. A player using a prediction method will certainly take advantage of such a situation.

The major difference between older and newer types of ball tacks is that the newer types have no lip. For that reason, as soon as the ball slows down sufficiently, the centrifugal force will no longer hold it on the track and the ball will spiral around the apron at a shallow angle. It will not drop directly into the wheelhead. Such a situation will adversely affect results for any prediction technique. The shallow angle will usually cause the ball to come into contact with one or more of the ball deflectors before settling into a pocket. If this occurs, the movement of the ball will become almost impossible to predict, as it may come to rest in any pocket on the wheelhead. Even if the ball rolls between the deflectors, it is the spiral path that makes it almost impossible for a player to predict in what position the wheelhead will be when the ball reaches the pocket area.

Roulette Ball Bounce

The Frets

The frets, or pocket separators, are usually manufactured of non-magnetic materials (brass, chrome-plated brass, aluminum). Magnetic materials, such as steel, are not used, because this would make it too easy to rig the wheel using a ball with a magnetized center. Each separator is held in place with the help of 1-2 small screws, which can be accessed from the underside of the wheelhead.

The wheel can be either of a low-profile type, or of a high-profile type. ”Low-profile” wheels have lower pocket separators and shallower pockets. This way the randomness of the wheel is improved, while the ball is enabled to pass through a larger number of pockets before it settles. On some wheels, the entire area of ball pockets is constructed from a single casting, known as a pocket ring. It makes ball pockets look like square cutouts in a metallic circle around the wheelhead. In some cases, the pocket ring can be adjusted independently, which means it can be rotated in relation to the circle of numbers. This way any biases brought about by particular pockets will be shifted to different numbers.

Roulette Ball Speed

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