Understanding The Roulette Wheel: 7 Secrets Uncovered


Roulette is the most well-known of all the casino games even those who have never played the game and experienced the thrill of the emblematic roulette wheel spinning have seen it on movies or TV.

In this article, we are going to take a detailed look at the roulette wheel and explore its many secrets. Did you know the numbers on the wheel add up to 666 the number of the beast, you now know why it’s sometimes called the devil’s wheel. We won’t be revealing any diabolical secrets but understanding the wheel is one of the roulette topics that might increase your odds at the casino.

The first roulette wheel played in American casinos only consisted of 28 numbers as well as a zero, double zero pockets and another with the image of an American Eagle on it. The House edge was extremely loaded on the side of the casino, luckily the odds aren’t so bad these days.

There is a distinct difference between American roulette and European and that is an extra double zero pocket on the American wheel. The double zero results in a higher house edge for the casino. American roulette has a house of 5.6% while European roulette is a much more player-friendly 2.70%.

If you are playing roulette at a land-based casino you will have little choice of which version you can choose to play. At online casinos, you’ll usually encounter both European roulette and American as well as other variations of these roulette games. You’ll be wise to search out the European Roulette table if you want to lower the house advantage.

The European Wheel

On a European wheel, there are 37 pockets. They are numbered 1 to 36 and alternate red and black in color, Also there is one 0 green pocket.

Black pocket numbers: 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 11, 13, 15, 17, 20, 22, 24, 26, 28, 29, 31, 33, 35

Red pocket numbers; 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 12, 14, 16, 18, 19, 21, 23, 25, 27, 30, 32, 34, 36

Green pocket; 0

The European wheel starts at the 0 pocket and continues in clockwise order with the numbers in this sequence:

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.

There are some particular bets that are exclusive to French and European roulette are based on the roulette wheel layout rather than the table layout. They are known as call or announced bets.


Voisins du Zéro – This bet translates to ‘neighbors of zero’ this bet covers the 16 numbers that are on either side of the 0 on the roulette wheel, including the zero the bet will be on a total of 17 numbers. The numbers covered are 22, 18, 29, 7, 28, 12, 35, 3, 26, 0, 32, 15, 19, 4, 21, 2, and 25. This is a 9 chip bet, two chips on the 0, 2, 3 trio. 1 chip goes on each of these splits; 4/7, 12/15, 18/21, 19/22, and 32/35 and two chips go on the corner bet 25, 26, 28 and 29.

Jeu Zéro – This is like a mini Voisins du Zéro bet with fewer numbers and chips played. It covers the four numbers left of the zero and the two numbers to the zeros right. The numbers covered for this bet are 12, 35, 3, 26, 0, 32, and 15. Four chips are played for this bet 1 chip on the number ’26’ and the remaining 3 chips are placed 1 on each of these split bets 0/3, 12/15, and 32/35.

Le Tiers Du Cylindre – This translates as ‘thirds of the wheel’ The wager is placed on the 12 numbers that are on the opposite side of the roulette wheel to the Voisins du Zéro. With this bet, these numbers are covered 27, 13, 36, 11, 30, 8, 23, 10, 5, 24, 16, and 33. 6 six are placed 1 on each of these split bets 5/8, 10/11, 13/16, 23/24, 27/30, 33/36.

Orphelins – This is the ‘orphan’ bet and covers the rest of the wheel that wasn’t covered by the Tiers Du Cylindre or Voisins du Zéro. These numbers are 1, 6, 9, 14, 17, 20, 31, and 34. There are two versions of the ‘Orphelins’ bet, Orphelins en Cheval, and Orphelins en Plein. The most common played is en Cheval which is played with 5 chips, one chip on the number ‘1’ and then one chip on the following split bets 6/9, 14/17, 17/20, and 31/34. Orphelins en Plein is played with 8 chips and straight-up bets, so a chip for each number.

The American Wheel

On an American wheel, there are 38 pockets. They are numbered 1 to 36 and alternate red and black in color, additionally, there are two green pockets 0 and 00.

Black pocket numbers: 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 11, 13, 15, 17, 20, 22, 24, 26, 28, 29, 31, 33, 35

Red pocket numbers; 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 12, 14, 16, 18, 19, 21, 23, 25, 27, 30, 32, 34, 36

Green pockets: 0 and 00

The American wheel starts at the 0 pocket and continues in clockwise order:

0, 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

The American Roulette game also has one of the worst bets available on the roulette table, this is a five number bet, wagered on 0, 00 and 1, 2 and 3. The house edge is 7.99% so you’ll not see experienced roulette players don’t place bets on this wager.

Wheel Layout Logic

While you might look at the roulette wheel and see it is a random bunch of numbers with little coherence, there is actually a reason for the layout and understanding this balance can be very useful.

Confusion – It’s difficult for a new roulette player to picture the wheel in their mind and know what the relationship is between the sectors and numbers. It will be hard for the player to notice any particular influence or to wager on a specific sector of the wheel. Seasoned roulette enthusiasts will be able to close their eyes and repeat the sequence of the numbers on the wheel by heart. We suggest spending a bit of time memorizing the wheel if you are a roulette newbie.

Alternate colors – No two consecutive numbers on the roulette wheel will have the same color, this is equally true of both the American and European roulette wheels.

Even distribution of even and odd numbers – There shouldn’t be any more than two odd or even numbers beside each other on the roulette wheel.

Low and high numbers to alternate – Ideally the numbers 1-18 [low[ and 19-36 [high] should end up next to one another. On the European wheel is fairly strictly adhered to with just the 10 and 5 adjacent. The American roulette wheel is far less balanced with many high and low numbers not alternating making the European wheel the superior version.

Construction of the Roulette Wheel

A lot goes into the construction of a roulette wheel. A small defect or lack of upkeep can have a profound outcome for both the player and casino. Roulette wheels are usually made of wood such as mahogany, maple, and oak, though some are made of ABS, a type of hardened plastic. The standard size is a diameter of 32 inches or 80 centimeters for a professional roulette wheel.

Considerations When Manufacturing a Roulette Wheel

First of all the weight of the roulette wheel must be dispersed equally all round. To avoid any interference from magnetics the roulette wheel as well as the ball ought to be constructed from non-magnetic compounds. While the cylinder of the wheel should be able to move easily and independently all the other fixed parts should be held securely with no movement. The pockets on the wheel should all have the exact dimensions of each other as well as being spaced evenly.

Famous Roulette Wheel Manufacturers

There are two big players in the roulette manufacturing industry and strangely enough, both of them are UK based. Cammegh has been producing precision-engineered roulette wheels since 1989 and supplies prestigious casinos all over the globe including Vegas, Macau and Monte Carlo. TCS John Huxley Europe Ltd is the other big player in the roulette wheel market and they started manufacturing around 10 years earlier than Cammegh in 1979. Both of them are now involved in producing a wide range of casino solutions. Other well-known brands include B.C. Wills & Co and Caro.

Parts of the Roulette Wheel

The Base

The outer part of the roulette wheel is referred to as the base, usually, it is made of wood while the interior is made of metal. The base is the toughest part of the roulette wheel and can withstand a lot more damage than other more sensitive components such as the ball track.


The Shaft

Sometimes also known as the spindle, the roulette wheel shaft is the component that supports the wheel rotor. If the roulette wheel spindle is not looked after properly there is a chance that it will bend. This can result in a biased roulette wheel as the rotor will spin at an angle if this occurs there is more chance of the ball landing in the lower section of the wheel.

The Rotor

This rotor is the mechanism of the roulette wheel that revolves along with the pockets. It weighs around 66lbs and is interchangeable with other wheels. As the rotor is the only moving part of the roulette wheel it is subjected to more wear and tear and therefore more likely to result in wheel bias. This is the reason that this particular component is paid the most attention to by the casino staff.

The Ball Track

The path that the ball travels on around the roulette wheel is known as the ball track. At brick and mortar casinos the ball tracks are usually made of wood that is strengthened with an epoxy resin coating. Recently casinos have started using Velstone ball tracks, while wood tends to eventually crack, Velstone will just wear down evenly over time. As the ball is released from the same position all the time the roulette wheel needs to be rotated to limit wear and tear.

Roulette Diamonds

Roulette diamonds are the metal deflectors that jut out on the wheel’s face so that the ball’s trajectory is disrupted. They are sometimes called stops, pins, slats, and deflectors. You may have heard the term ‘dominant diamond’s this is where certain deflectors have more wear and tear because the ball has landed on them more often. If a ball is falling more frequently at a certain section of the wheel it will be picked up and put to use by professional roulette players.

Roulette Wheel Pockets

The pockets are the compartments on the wheel where the ball comes to rest. In years gone by the pockets on roulette wheels were deep. This prevented the ball from bouncing around too much before coming to rest. Casinos soon cottoned on that it also made the spin of the ball less random and players had a better chance of predicting where it would land.

Another issue that can be taken advantage of is loose pocket separators. These are the pieces of metal that separate the roulette pockets on the wheel if they become loose it can impact the trajectory of the ball and cause it to come to rest faster.

Roulette wheel manufactures have worked on specific pocket designs that are developed to combat predictability as much as possible. These include the Huxley Starburst triangular-shaped pockets, low fret pockets which are shallower and scalloped shaped pocket separators.

The Roulette Ball

Originally roulette balls were made from wood or ivory, these days they are made from Teflon and Ivorine. Ivorine is a synthetic material that is designed to resemble ivory so it has a slight yellow tinge to it while the Teflon roulette balls will be a plain white color. Experienced roulette players prefer a Teflon ball to the ivorine one as they tend to bounce less making it easier to predict where they will land. The common size for roulette balls are 18mm for the small and 21mm for the big one, usually they will be alternated once a day at a casino.

Roulette Wheel Bias

A biased roulette wheel is where certain sections or pockets of the wheel are likely to win more often. This is usually down to wear and tear, but even new roulette wheels aren’t impervious to wheel bias. There is no perfect roulette wheel. If a player can identify a biased pocket or section of the wheel, then they have a great advantage. As you read earlier there are many components to a roulette wheel and the smallest of defects can result in a benefit to the player.

Finding a biased roulette wheel is not so easy, casinos will regularly carry out inspections and monitor any signs that the wheel might be defective. Modern-day roulette wheel manufacturers are always looking at ways to improve their products and make them as flawless as possible.

While it is rare to find a biased wheel, over the years many roulette players have succeeded in exploiting casinos who haven’t maintained their equipment. For instance, in the nineties, Gonzalo Garcia-Pelayo won over a million euros at the Casino de Madrid after he found bias in a particular roulette wheel. The casino tried to sue him once they found out what he had done but this time the little man won as the courts ruled in his favor after deciding that the casino should have been taking better care of the maintenance of their wheel!


The way to determine if a wheel is biased or not is to track the numbers at the roulette table; this is known as clocking. Many players track numbers so it wouldn’t be seen as suspicious but it’s probably best to keep a low profile rather than draw attention to yourself. Professional roulette clockers believe you should collect around 400 winning numbers initially to make the first decision on if there is bias and then another 1,000 to confirm. What makes the chances slimmer is that any casino of worth will be doing something similar and checking for any wheel bias. We’ve not heard of any celebrated wins since Gonzalo Garcia-Pelayo in the 90s but that’s not to say that it doesn’t still work, out of all the roulette wheels in all the casinos in all the world there has to be a few with bias, you just need to find them!

Roulette Wheel Visual Ballistics

There are many roulette systems available to try such as the Martingale, d’Alembert, and Paroli, there’s even a James Bond method. One of the most intriguing methods is using visual ballistics to predict where on the wheel the ball will land by sharp observation.

I can tell you now unless you are exceptionally talented this is a tough one to learn. When using visual ballistics the player tracks the trajectory and velocity of the roulette ball and uses the information to try to predict where it will land.

The difficulty is in trying to calculate how many times the wheel spins at the same time as counting how many times the ball spins as well. Rhythm counting by tapping the feet is one method that is used to keep track of everything. With all the concentration involved as well as the amount of practice required in trying to master visual ballistics, we’d say for the recreational roulette player it really isn’t worth the time.

The Roulette Wheel At Online Casino Sites

When you play roulette games online you have two main types that you can play. The first is the RNG version and the second is live dealer roulette.

Instant Play Online Roulette – The instant play games that you find at all online casinos are computer-generated and use an RNG [random number generator]. The RNG determines the outcome of the game’s result, so while it may appear the wheel is spinning and the number has landed in a random pocket, this is just simulated and behind the scenes, a computer algorithm is doing its magic resulting in a random and fair outcome for the game. As the RNGs are regularly audited by independent authorities you can be assured of a roulette game that isn’t rigged if you are at a reputable online computer.

Live Dealer Roulette – This is becoming the most popular way of playing roulette at an online casino. Live casino is an immersive experience where you interact with a real-life croupier from either a land-based casino or a studio made up to look like a casino. Using the latest webcam technology its broadcast live in real-time and using a genuine roulette wheel and ball, not a computerized simulation. While you get the chance to see a real roulette wheel in action it isn’t likely that it will have any imbalances that you can use to your advantage. The online casinos use the latest equipment and they are checked regularly for any imperfections.


We hope that you have enjoyed this article on understanding the roulette wheel. When you are next playing at a land-based casino you might be able to use these roulette wheel secrets to narrow down the odds a little. If you are playing at an online casino it is more likely that it will be using a computerized RNG so the actual wheel won’t really have any impact on the outcome. At least you can rest assured that you will be getting a fair spin.

Related Posts​