When you play online roulette, every number will come up at an equal rate – at least in the long run. The odds for hitting, say, black 17 on a European roulette wheel are 1 in 37. But a roulette wheel in a brick-and-mortar casino is a whole other story.
It’s made from real material, metal and wood, which leads us into the next chapter in the series How to Beat the House.
Old and Worn Out Wheels
Since a roulette wheel is made from real material, it’s quite obvious that things will happen to it over time. The wheel will get small imperfections, maybe not visual to the human eye, but still enough that they can alter the outcome of a spin.
These imperfections, small grooves and dents, can result in the ball landing on a specific number more often that it statistically should. And over time, the grooves will get deeper and deeper, which makes every spin less and less random. A player who can detect these numbers can get an advantage over the house.
How to Detect a Biased Roulette Wheel
It’s impossible to look at a roulette wheel and see if it’s biased. To do that, you must watch a large number of spins and basically detect if a result comes up more frequently than others. Let’s say tat you watch 1 000 spins and realized that black 17 has came up 1 in 30, and not 1 in 37 as it’s supposed to, chances are good you have stumbled across a biased wheel.
If you then bet $10 on black 17, and your calculations were correct, you will make an average profit of $1.9, a $100 bet would earn you $19, and so on.
Conclusion: A bet on a certain number pays 1 to 35. If it comes up more often than that, the wager offers positive expected value.
You Need a Lot of Statistics
Don’t fool yourself and think that you can just pick a wheel, watch a few numbers, and then get an edge. In the short run, a specific number can come up more frequently – not at all because the wheel is biased.
Therefore, the casino has no problem with players taking notes about a game, at least for a while. Actually, the casino wants to give players the false impression that they can beat the game. You need a lot of statistic information before getting an advantage. However, detecting and exploiting a biased wheel can be profitable.