If we’d look back at the whole history of roulette, we might see how many people have tried to find unconventional ways to win the game. Some were pretty illegal, like slipping the bet after the stop of the wheel or somehow controlling the ball or bribing a complacent croupier. But only one method was really successful, spotting a biased roulette wheel.
Finding a bias is like finding the goose that lays the golden eggs. And often players who knew what to look for were able to take advantage of a manufacturing error of the wheel to win big before the casino could realize what had happened. The best thing is that it is not cheating at all. Spotting a bias is somehow considered a skill and you can keep all your winnings. The most famous case is probably that of Joseph Jaggers, a British man who was able to win the today’s equivalent of $5 million on a biased roulette wheel at the casino of Monte Carlo in 1873.
Nowadays it is almost impossible to find a biased wheel due to technology advancement in manufacturing techniques, but it is good to know that a chance actually exists. For instance it may occur when a wheel is not maintained properly and dirt or scratches modify the behaviour of the roll of the ball.
How can you discover a biased Roulette wheel?
That’s indeed not simple. It may take very long time as you must be ready to track the results of the wheel, accurately marking down thousands of spins without arousing too much attention ( you may want to use a lot of our scorecards for this 🙂 ), trying to find patterns that do not seem completely random, analyse variation, etc. If you can do that and spot the bias before the casino management does, huge money can be done. It is probably a lifetime opportunity, so do not waste it!
For the European roulette, a single number wins 1⁄37 and loses 36⁄37. It’s easy to find out that the fair odds for a single number bet is 2.7% ( 1/37 = 0.027 ). It is also possible to know what the edge for the casino is – still 2.7% ( −1×36⁄37 + 35×1/37 = −0.0270 ). Therefore any bias moving the odds on a given number just a bit, maybe to 3%, will turn the edge for the casino into an edge for the player. The kind of advantage any gambler dreams of in his life.
Can even an online roulette have a bias?
The online roulette is completely governed by the rules of statistics. There are no mechanical parts, no air, no friction, no humidity, no croupier that can affect the outcome. Numbers are generated through a RNG (random number generator) processor, probability (i.e. that 2.7% I mentioned before) is hard coded and only a fault in the software can hypothetically generate a bias, that is highly unlikely. If you have ever heard of such a fault it is way more likely that the online casino ownership has voluntarily decided to modify the odds for marketing purposes and create some buzz around its loose roulette. I think you’ll never hear something like this happening in a big and trusted online casino, where rules are very strict and the RNG gets audits and inspections to guarantee fairness.