Unbalanced or biased roulette wheels have been a hot topic among roulette players for many decades (if not centuries) since the roulette game first became widely known. Indeed in theory, if the wheel axis is not properly adjusted or if there is any other mechanical imperfection, the rotation should not be uniform. This can lead to a statistically distorted result distribution of the ball landing. Having noted this, the gambler might well get an advantage.
There have been many stories about lucky gamers who are said to have gained a huge advantage over the casinos and won a lot of money when they were playing on biased roulette wheels, and the casino staff had no idea what was going on. However, we haven’t heard many truly reliable and confirmed facts about imbalanced roulette wheels in recent times. But this topic is still widely discussed, as many gamers around the world still dream of beating the casinos and winning big; and there seems to be a pretty substantial risk they may encounter a biased roulette wheel. But is it really so?
Casinos have invested a lot of time, effort and money in protecting the house edge. The roulette ball has to land in a way that is completely random, in statistical terms; this is one of the foundations of this game, as well as of the house edge. So the kind of situation where a casino is unknowingly using an improperly balanced roulette wheel is difficult to imagine nowadays. Casino management and equipment manufacturers have studied the issue thoroughly and developed a range of adjusting, controlling and checking procedures to make sure the wheels are not biased.
However, it is still a mechanic movement, and we know it cannot be 100% ideal and uniform. A fully unbiased roulette wheel is something like an absolutely black body or ideal fluid in physics. It does not exist. There still can be some tiny imperfections below the accuracy measurement threshold. And these imperfections, theoretically, can indeed influence the range of the ball landing on the roulette table. But there are several technical answers to that.
Casinos are generally using maintenance services: special teams regularly check the wheel rotation and eliminate any problems if they find the wheels need adjustments. They usually work in the early hours of the morning, when there are no players by the tables. It is serious technical work, in a way; similar to regular car maintenance, insofar as proper actions, timely taken, help keep things running smoothly. It is also interesting to mention that the issue of the proper balancing of roulette wheels does not include mechanical checks only! Because for. For the past ten to fifteen years, casino technical maintenance has improved a great deal, and roulette wheels are only a part of this overall progress.
There are special sensors used to record data of every spin and ball landing, as well as special software to process this data. The software analyses a huge mass of information, in order to find out whether the results are indeed random. There is a mathematical model predicting the range of every individual pocket result. And if there is a slight deviation of randomness, it might be necessary to adjust the rotation. The maintenance teams also check the performance of special in-built sensors that register every separate spin result, and how the respective database processing software works.
The massive of the data collected is indeed impressive, covering a scope of six years. So if there is ‘something,’ the teams will find it out. The software and database analysis represent some really advanced technological advances. There might even be a way, one day, for it to tell us how pure luck works!
In mechanics, everything that moves can be damaged and worn out over time. Besides, people around is also a risk factor: they risk unnecessarily hardening the rim of the bowl; and yes, this is not only true of players, but also dealers!The casinos know about this and try to make sure that people around the table do not cause a mechanical impact; even though the table itself is very reliable structure, with a robust design.
Just in case there was an impact, there are also some special inclinometers in use: these will detect any related imbalance, and the staff will level the whole structure again pretty quick.
Even though the roulette wheel mechanics does not involve high wear, some process of wear takes place anyway. However, it takes a lot of time and millions of spins, so the casinos make sure to replace the wheels long before the ball tracks and defectors get worn out. Experience shows that a properly maintained twenty-year-old roulette wheel that has been in use every day is very unlikely to be biased.
However, improper maintenance of the moving parts can result in rotation problems – the bearings might underperform in case the lubricants are improper or aged, or due to contamination issues. But of course, you can’t notice anything like this purely by standing around the table. Neither it is possible to gain an advantage in this particular kind of case, anyway; because even if you could notice a small wobbling of the wheel, there is no way to translate this observation into any reasonable conclusion about the probability range of where the ball will land.
If you really want to find a biased roulette, you need to spend a lot of time and effort in observing and collecting a lot of relevant data. If you have noticed the wheel wobbling or heard sounds of undue friction, then this one is a good candidate for a biased wheel! Try to observe the reflection of the light, watching the roulette from different standpoints, and then you might possibly be able to determine the inclination. But this is indeed a difficult task. You may also want to gather the landing data and analyze them on an Excel spreadsheet – but again, it would take a lot of time.
You may also want to take a video record and then to watch it in slow motion – maybe you will see that some of the pocket dividers make the balls bounce away, but some do not, taking the ball in instead. A roulette with perfect rotation and balance can have this ‘divider bias’ because of wear or mechanical damage caused to the dividers.
The chances of finding a biased roulette wheel nowadays are very small. But as nothing is perfect, and even the sun has dark spots, you can still go on and give it a try!
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