Roulette Wheel- Complete Guide | LeoVegas

Roulette Wheel: Origin, History and Types

Roulette is one of the most popular casino table games on the planet. It is a game of luck, in which players wager on a colour and/or number and hope the ball lands in the matching pocket on the roulette wheel. There are different versions of roulette, each with its own set of unique characteristics.

Roulette is available in almost every land-based and Internet casino. It is a game that attracts high-rollers and casual bettors alike thanks to its exciting gameplay.

Roulette, along with its iconic wheel, has been providing players with thrills for centuries.


History and Evolution of the Roulette Wheel

While the exact origin of the roulette wheel remains a subject of debate, many gaming historians believe that it was first introduced in 17th-century France. The word "roulette" itself means "little wheel" in French, which perfectly describes the game's central element.

Some historians suggest that French mathematician and inventor, Blaise Pascal, accidentally created the roulette wheel while working on a perpetual motion machine. Although his perpetual motion machine invention failed, it built the foundation for one of the most popular casino games of all time.

Today, the roulette wheel is the centrepiece of the world-famous game. Throughout land-based and online casinos you will find roulette tables with croupiers spinning the roulette wheel and rolling a ball into it. It is a fast-paced game that creates great excitement for players. In many ways, the roulette wheel has changed very little over the centuries.

Components of the Roulette Wheel

The roulette wheel is made up of multiple parts. It is literally a large spinning wheel that sits at one end of the table. You will find the layout of numbers, colours, and other aspects of the game on the table stretching away from the wheel. Knowing the different components of the roulette wheel will help you understand how to play the game.

Wheel Structure and Layout

Players wager on where the roulette ball will land once it is spun around the rim of the wheel. The wheel has various components that contribute to the roulette’s mechanics and randomness. There are nine main components of the roulette wheel. These components include:

  • Ball track
  • Wheel head
  • Central rotor
  • Diamonds
  • Wheel spindle
  • Apron
  • Ball
  • Colours and numbers
  • Pockets

The Ball and its Material

Casinos use roulette balls made from non-metallic material. The use of non-metallic materials ensures that the roulette ball is fair, smooth, and offers randomness. Ensuring randomness is very important when it comes to roulette. If the ball stops in the same pockets multiple times over the course of a session, players will consider the game to be fixed.

Roulette balls are typically:

  • Ceramic
  • Ivory
  • Resin
  • PlasticA casino will have a preference for the roulette balls they use for their games. Online casino roulette with the exception of live casino roulette tables, is determined by random number generation, therefore, the roulette ball is only for show.

Pockets and Numbers on the Wheel

The pockets and numbers on a roulette wheel are arranged to provide fairness, randomness, and to create specific betting opportunities for players. The numbers were haphazardly placed on the roulette wheel when it was created.

All roulette wheels will have the same roulette table layout unless the version of the game differs. For example, an American roulette wheel differs slightly from a European roulette wheel. This is due to the American wheel featuring a “00” pocket.

In addition to fairness and randomness, the significance of the pockets and numbers on the wheel provide:

A house edge – The house edge is a built-in statistical advantage that ensures the casino's profitability over the long term. The more a bettor plays roulette, the more the casino will win.

Payouts – The arrangement of pockets and numbers determines the payout structure for different bets. Bets with higher odds of winning, such as betting on a colour or odd/even, have lower payouts. Bets with lower odds of winning, such as betting on a single number, have higher payouts.

Tradition – Number order has become a tradition. The order is recognizable to roulette players. The layout is now standardized, so players know when they are playing roulette with a respectable casino.

How the Roulette Wheel Works

The roulette wheel is made up of various components and physical factors that combine to determine the outcome of each spin. The wheel’s mechanics are expertly designed to provide randomness. The randomness of a roulette wheel ensures the game’s integrity. If the game isn’t fair, then players won’t play. Moreover, the casino will receive a poor reputation.

Understanding the Mechanism

The roulette wheel is typically constructed from wood, metal, and plastics. Each pocket on the wheel is evenly spaced. Around the edge of the wheel is the ball track. This is where the ball rolls as the wheel spins. Between the numbered pockets are diamonds. These rigid pieces slow down the ball and make it bounce erratically.

The Role of the Croupier

The croupier is responsible for spinning the roulette wheel. The croupier gives the wheel a strong spin in one direction, while the small ball is launched onto the track in the opposite direction. The croupier controls the banking of the game, paying out winning bets or taking losing wagers.

The Physics Behind the Spin

The ball will lose momentum as it spins around the wheel. The ball will begin to slow down and stop in a numbered pocket. Gravity and friction cause the ball to stop and nestle into a pocket. The pocket in which the ball stops produces the winning number and colour.

Types of Roulette Wheels

There are different types of roulette to play in casinos. Nearly every land-based or online casino will provide players with the chance to play American, European, or French roulette. There are also additional versions available from Internet casinos, including double roulette.

American Roulette Wheel

The American roulette wheel has a unique arrangement of numbers and pockets. The most significant difference between American roulette and other versions is the inclusion of the "00" pocket. The addition of the “00” pocket increases the house edge. It also provides another betting opportunity for players.

European Roulette Wheel

The European roulette wheel lacks a “00” pocket. This lowers the house edge and decreases the number of betting options for players. Due to the lower house edge, many experienced roulette players will select the European version over its American counterpart.

French Roulette Wheel

The French roulette wheel and the European roulette wheel are very similar. The biggest differences between the French wheel and the European wheel are the La Partage and En Prison rules.

La Partage Rule

If a player places even-money bets and the ball lands on "0," the player usually receives 50% of their bet back. This rule reduces the house edge further on even-money bets.

En Prison Rule

In some French roulette games, instead of receiving 50% of their bet back, players with even-money bets have the option to leave their bet "en prison" for the next spin. If the next spin results in a win, the player gets their original bet back; if it's a loss, they lose the bet.

Roulette Wheel Manufacturers

The roulette wheel manufacturing industry has several high-profile names. These companies produce roulette wheels for the top land-based and online casinos around the world. The leading manufacturers include:

TCSJOHNHUXLEY: The company was created from the merger of TCS (Table Craft & Supplies) and John Huxley. The two companies were major players in the casino equipment market before coming together. TCSJOHNHUXLEY is known for producing high-quality roulette wheels, layouts, and other gaming equipment.

Cammegh: Cammegh is a renowned roulette wheel manufacturer with a reputation for innovation. They are known for their patented security features and electronic enhancements for roulette wheels.

Abbiati Casino Equipment: The Italian casino company manufactures a wide range of casino equipment. It is well-known for its craftsmanship and attention to detail.

Paul-Son Gaming Supplies: GPI is a well-established manufacturer of casino gaming equipment. It is known for high-quality products and a global presence, with roulette wheels used in casinos around the world.

Roulette Wheel FAQs

Is roulette purely a game of chance?

Roulette is a game of chance. The outcome of each spin is determined randomly, making it difficult to predict with 100% certainty where the ball will land.

Which is better: American or European roulette?

American roulette has a higher house edge due to it featuring an additional pocket. European roulette has fewer betting options and a lower house edge. This makes it favoured by many roulette players.

Can the roulette wheel be beaten?

The roulette wheel is designed to provide randomness to the game. Players may use different roulette betting strategies to increase their winnings or decrease their losses.

Do casinos have magnets in roulette?

A reputable and licensed casino will not have magnets in their roulette tables. The wheels will be regularly checked to prevent the casino from manipulating the outcomes of games.

What are the biggest roulette wins in history?

Roulette has typically been a game for high rollers. It is difficult to pinpoint the biggest roulette wins in history, however, some famous individuals have won large sums from the game. Brazilian billionaire Pedro Grendene Bartelle won $3.5m in 2017 in a Rio de Janeiro casino. In 2008, former Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley won $2.6m on one spin from a wager of approximately $900,000.

What is the expectancy of roulette?

Typically, for every $1 wager placed on an even-money bet, players should expect to lose about $0.027 over the long run.