Roulette Wheel Explained: Win More at Online Roulette

Roulette Wheel Explained

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Knowledge is power - every good roulette player knows this.

To play roulette - heck, to play any casino game efficiently - you have to learn to recognize the ways a casino might take an advantage of you.

I don't mean you have to learn everything - but a bit of info won't hurt. Especially when money is at stake.

If you think you have a hang of it already and just want to play, pick a version you fancy and head straight to a roulette session, bonus included!

But if you looking to learn more about roulette, keep reading for some great insights!

So, what do you need to consider?

Yes, roulette rules for dummies will do if you're a complete newbie, but what's important moving further is the wheel.

Yes - the roulette wheel exists not only to look good (although it does have its charm).

It is the game itself.

Even the word "roulette" is just "little wheel" in French.

Why French? Because roulette and its rules are a product of the 18th-century France.

However, the roulette wheel itself, or at least its primitive model, was invented a century earlier. It was an attempt to create a perpetuum mobile (a perpetual motion machine) by none other than Blaise Pascal himself - the same guy responsible for Pascal's law and Pascal's triangle.

During all these years, the roulette wheel evolved quite a lot.

It even managed to split into a few variations , the most notable of which are the European (or French) roulette wheel and the American roulette wheel.

European Roulette Wheel vs American Roulette Wheel

Even though they look identical from the first glance, there is a lot to unpack once you take a closer look.

The most apparent difference is the number of zeros. The American version has two, while the European wheel offers only one.

American Roulette Wheel vs European Roulette Wheel

The more, the better, right?


The more pockets a roulette wheel has, the less chances of winning money you have.

Which only means that you should pick the European version no matter what.

Unfortunately, some of us don't have this kind of luxury. In the USA, most casinos offer only the two-zero variant - apparently, it isn't called American roulette for nothing.

But, if you have the freedom of choice (especially when playing online), get your hands on the game with the European roulette wheel.

Your wallet will thank you.

American Roulette Wheel

The wheel of American roulette has 38 pockets.

The first 36 pockets include all the numbers from 1 to 36. The two remaining ones are 0 (zero) and 00 (double zero), resting on the opposite sides of the wheel.

Now, there's something that might seem confusing if you witness the roulette wheel for the first time.

If you take a look at the American version of the Roulette wheel, you'll notice how there are no consecutive numbers. In fact, all the numbers are placed in such a manner so that there would be as much variation as possible.

And this is the complete sequence:

28, 9, 26, 30, 11, 7, 20, 32, 17, 5, 22, 34, 15, 3, 24, 36, 13, 1, 00, 27, 10, 25, 29, 12, 8, 19, 31, 18, 6, 21, 33, 16, 4, 23, 35, 14, 2, 0.

You'll also notice that there is an equal amount of red numbers and black numbers - as well as even and odd numbers. The two zero pockets are green.

European Roulette Wheel

The European wheel has 37 pockets - one less in comparison to its American cousin. And that means it has the best roulette odds.

The fact that there are fewer slots for the ball to fall into instantly creates a higher chance to win - and decreases the house edge by a couple percent.

Which is something we all want.

And we have to thank the absence of 00 for that.

Frankly speaking, you should always play this version if you have the choice at a casino. You might save quite a lot of money in the long run - just because the odds are much better.

The sequence of numbers on the European roulette wheel is also different.

It goes like this:

0, 32, 15, 19, 4, 21, 2, 25, 17, 34, 6, 27, 13, 36, 11, 30, 8, 23, 10, 5, 24, 16, 33, 1, 20, 14, 31, 9, 22, 18, 29, 7, 28, 12, 35, 3, 26

The pockets are balanced in a way that gives you as much variety as possible between odd and even numbers, as well as high and low numbers.

You can never predict where the ball may land on the wheel.

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French Roulette Wheel

The French roulette wheel is identical to its European counterpart - from the high and low number sequence to the single zero.

However, its table looks a little bit more interesting, as it offers a variety of unique bets like voisins du zéro and jeu zéro - we explore these bets a little further into the article.

There are also two player-oriented rules that reduce the house edge of the game to 1.35%. These are called la partage and en prison, and they give you the chance to get your bet (or a  half of it) back after the ball lands on the zero.

Triple Zero Roulette Wheel

There's one roulette wheel not many players talk about - because it's downright useless.

It's the triple zero wheel (as if two zeros are not enough).

Here's its story.

In October 2016, the Venetian resort in Las Vegas introduced a brand new roulette wheel - also called Sands Roulette - that included a single zero, a double zero, and the letter S (which acted as the triple zero).

The resort used Sands Roulette to replace their regular American Roulette.

And the reason?

Bigger profits for the casino, as the additional pocket increased the house edge from 5.26% to 7.69%. Compare it to European roulette's edge of 2.7%, and you have a gambling game that nobody wants to bet on.

Unfortunately, many people did - some even preferred it. This is a living example of what the lack of knowledge about a casino game can do.

So, if you happen to find one online - run away and choose a roulette wheel that has less than 39 pockets.

The Differences Between the Roulette Wheels

Now you know the basics of the roulette wheel, and you know that the European and the American versions are different (let's ignore the triple zero roulette for all eternity).

However, there's more than initially meets the eye.

Let's take a look at all the differences between the European wheel and the American wheel:

  1. The number of pockets. This is the most important thing that sets the two roulette wheels apart. The European version has 37 slots for the ball to fall into, while the American version has 38.
  2. The number of zeros. The American roulette variation has a single zero (0) and a double zero (00), which is the reason for the different number of pockets on the roulette wheel.
  3. The house edge. The additional zero on the American wheel almost doubles the house edge by additional 2.56%, which results in a total of 5.26%. The European wheel stands at 2.7% - a great deal if you're concerned about winning.
  4. The number sequence. Another difference is the sequence of numbers. Even though the low and high numbers on the American roulette wheel are balanced quite well, the European wheel takes this to the next level. Here, the smallest difference between two numbers next to each other is 5 - and it occurs between 5 and 10.

Of course, when it comes to the roulette wheel, the similarities outweigh the differences.

For example, you'll never see a roulette wheel where consecutive numbers don't have different colors. Red, black, red, black - it's all you'll ever see (except the green zero or zeros). Red numbers never touch each other, and you can say the same about black numbers.

In addition, you won't find more than two consecutive odd numbers - or even numbers.

The creators of the roulette wheel maximized the randomness as much as they could, and it shows.

Some casino enthusiasts claim that this randomness is a way for a casino to confuse its players. When there's no legible sequence of numbers, how can one notice that nothing is emitted - or added?

Well, that's why you should try to memorize the number sequence of a roulette wheel at least a little bit - so that you could tell there's nothing fishy about the one at your casino.

The Roulette Table

The roulette table isn't nearly as confusing as the wheel.

For starters, it doesn't differ across all the roulette variations - the American, European, and French roulette tables are all the same.

Take a look at the European version of roulette table:

European Roulette Table

And then there is the American Roulette table:

American Roulette Table

As you can notice, the only actual difference is the additional double zero pocket on the American Roulette wheel that we have covered previously.

The French version shares the exact same concept but has the bets written in French - as well as an additional table for its custom bets - but that's all.

French Roulette Table

However, the roulette table looks quite different from the roulette wheel. Just take a glimpse:

Here, the numbers are not put at random - you'll get to see the familiar sequence of numbers starting from 1 and ending with 36.

Also, the roulette table includes the betting options (if you choose to bet on a set of numbers), which are as follows:

  • 1st 12
  • 2nd 12
  • 3rd 12
  • 1 to 18
  • 19 to 36
  • Even
  • Odd
  • Red
  • Black

When you play roulette, whether at a land-based or online casino, you have to place your chips on the roulette table to bet.

You can bet on a single number or a set of numbers, like "odd" or "1 to 18". Use a betting system or just wing it - most importantly, have fun (while possibly winning some money).

French Roulette Wheel: The Types of Bets

As we established before, the French roulette wheel differs from the American one in terms of the number sequence - and this allows for a set of bets that are unique to the French version:

  • Voisins du zéro (sometimes called Serie 0/2/3). It is a set of 17 numbers, situated on the wheel between 9 and 17, not including the latter two. The literal translation of the phrase is "neighbors of zero". The numbers include 22, 18, 29, 7, 28, 12, 35, 3, 26, 0, 32, 15, 19, 4, 21, 2, and 25. The bet consists of nine chips.
  • Jeu zéro (zero game). These are some of the numbers closest to zero on the roulette wheel (12, 35, 3, 26, 0, 32, 15). The minimum bet is four chips, however, some casinos prefer five chips.
  • Le tiers du cylindre. Translated as "the third of the wheel", this bet encompasses 12 numbers at the opposite side from Jeu zéro. The bet consists of six chips and includes the following numbers: 27, 13, 36, 11, 30, 8, 23, 10, 5, 24, 16, and 33.
  • Orphelins. The word literally means "orphans". This bet contains leftover numbers on the opposite sides of the roulette wheel, which are 17, 34, 6, 1, 20, 14, 31, and 9. Here, your bets should consist of at least five chips.
  • Neighbors. This bet is different from the others, as there is no established set of numbers to bet on. Instead, you choose a lucky number yourself - together with its four neighbors (two from the right side and two - from the left).

All the other types of bets you know, like straight up bet, split bet, street bet, etc. belong to both European and American roulette table games - the wheel has no influence on them.

Did you know that you don't have to spin the wheel to play roulette? In 2004, California legalized a game called California Roulette. Here, you get the winning outcome when an automatic shuffler picks the winning cards. Doesn't sound like roulette? Well, spinning a wheel with a ball is illegal in California, so players have to compromise.

Where Do Roulette Wheels Come From?

No matter whether you play roulette online or at a brick-and-mortar place, someone had to create the game you get to enjoy.

Let's take a look at some manufacturers who produce physical roulette wheels for us to spin at a casino:

  • Cammegh. Many claim Cammegh wheels to be the best roulette wheels in the world. Based in the UK, this company has been producing roulette equipment for more than 30 years.
  • TCSJOHNHUXLEY. The roulette wheel is just one of the numerous products of this company. From table games to roulette balls, this manufacturer can produce anything.
  • CTC Holdings. A leading casino manufacturer in Europe, CTC Holdings produces high-quality single-zero roulette wheels.

When it comes to online play, the most prominent developers that come to mind are Microgaming and Playtech. However, there are many more.

The Qualities of a Good Roulette Wheel

All roulette wheels must meet certain requirements for a fair play.

First of all, the weight of the roulette wheel must be distributed evenly, otherwise the ball might want to fall on a particular side or even a pocket.

Secondly, the wheel must spin smoothly, while all the other parts should safely stay in place.

In addition, the pockets of the roulette wheel have to be identically sized and evenly spaced. In other words, precision is the key when it comes to roulette games.

However, the quality of the wheel is not the only requirement for a good gaming session - the wheel itself must not be rigged.

Because then it can be used by a casino to scam you - even though this doesn't happen often, especially if you get to play at a reputable place.

So, firstly, the roulette wheel must not contain any magnets to attract the ball into a desired spot. This is quite an old method - and not that difficult to spot.

Another way to cheat is called ball tripping. In this case, the cheating dealer prepares a lever with a small pin, hidden under the table. He/she then controls said pin to place in on a desired pocket - usually the zero. The ball then falls into that pocket, and the player loses.

There are some other methods to rig the roulette wheel, like padding, when the manufacturer chooses specific padding materials to make the ball bounce more on particular pockets and bounce less on others.

Luckily, this method remains a relic of the past.

Other Roulette Wheel Differences

Even two European (or American) roulette wheels can differ from one another - mostly thanks to the pocket pads.

You see, different pocket pads create different ball scatter. Let's take a closer look:

  • Same-height pads. These are the most common - and they make the ball more inclined to stay in one place once the wheel slows down, but more jumpy when it moves.
  • Pads that get shallow toward the middle of the wheel. The ball gets to move more freely and gets more unpredictable.
  • Pockets without pads. As there are no pads, only curved slots for the ball to get into, the game can become even more intense. The ball doesn't bounce. Rather, it glides across the roulette wheel until it finally lands into one of the shallow pockets.

Let's not forget the ball. In the game of roulette, the ball carries as much importance as the wheel. It can differ in size (from 16 to 21 millimetres) and material (ivory, teflon, acetal, or nylon). Different size and weight can greatly affect how fast the ball moves and how high it jumps.

No matter which roulette variation you play, don't forget these few tips:

  1. Choose a reputable casino
  2. Double-check the house edge of your chosen game
  3. Set a limit on how much money you're ready to spend - and stick to it

Other than that - enjoy yourself and stay away from the Russian version.

Roulette Wheel FAQ

Can you predict where the ball will land on the roulette wheel?

Although scientists have created algorithms that allow to predict roulette numbers, even if they work, people have no way of using them in real life because the wheel spins too fast and the algorithms are too complicated. So technically there might be a way to predict roulette outcomes, but practically no.

Is the roulette wheel rigged?

If you're playing at a reputable online casino, definitely not. If you are concerned though, look carefully to see if there are no more than two consecutive odd or even numbers or two black or red pockets next to each other. If you see something like that, stop playing and go choose a licensed and regulated online casino establishment that respects your money.

Which is better, European Roulette or American Roulette?

Speaking strictly about the house edge, you have more chances at winning when you play the version with the European Roulette wheel. That is because the American Roulette wheel is equipped with an additional double zero pocket, and more options mean lesser winning chances. But in general, it's the version you enjoy most and know how to play best.

What number hits the most in roulette?

There have been different experiments that claim they found a certain number that has the highest probability to grant you a sweet win, but in reality it's all about your roulette strategy and bankroll management.

Disclaimer: Gambling is a game of chance and there's no sure-fire formula that guarantee winnings. You can improve your winning chances by using the right in-game strategies but there is no way to predict when a machine or a Casino game is going to pay. Also, this page contains affiliate links. If you click through and play, we might earn a commission. That’s what allow us to keep CasinoSmash free and bring you the best online Casino bonuses!

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