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Casino: Spin the wheel of fortune with Virgin Casino's
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Wheel Roulette is available to play now on Virgin
3 Wheel Roulette and Colour Up Bonus are trademarks
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and international patents pending.
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is a casino and gambling game named after the French
word meaning "small wheel". In the game,
players may choose to place bets on either a number,
a range of numbers, the color red or black, or whether
the number is odd or even. To determine the winning
number and color, a croupier spins a wheel in one
direction, then spins a ball in the opposite direction
around a tilted circular track running around the
circumference of the wheel. The ball eventually loses
momentum and falls on to the wheel and into one of
37 (in European roulette) or 38 (in American roulette)
colored and numbered pockets on the wheel.
first form of roulette was devised in 18th century
France. The roulette wheel is believed to be a fusion
of the English wheel games Roly-Poly, Ace of Hearts,
and E.O., the Italian board games of Hoca and Biribi,
and "Roulette" from an already existing
French board game of that name.
game has been played in its current form since as
early as 1796 in Paris. The earliest description of
the roulette game in its current form is found in
a French novel "La Roulette, ou le Jour"
by Jaques Lablee, which describes a roulette wheel
in the Palais Royal in Paris in 1796. The description
included the house pockets, "There are exactly
two slots reserved for the bank, whence it derives
its sole mathematical advantage." It then goes
on to describe the layout with, "...two betting
spaces containing the bank's two numbers, zero and
double zero." The book was published in 1801.
An even earlier reference to a game of this name was
published in regulations for New France (Canada) in
1758, which banned the games of "dice, hoca,
faro, and roulette."
1843, in the German spa casino town of Homburg, fellow
Frenchmen François and Louis Blanc introduced
the single "0" style roulette wheel in order
to compete against other casinos offering the traditional
wheel with single and double zero house pockets.
some forms of early American roulette wheels - as
shown in the 1886 Hoyle gambling books, there were
numbers 1 through 28, plus a single zero, a double
zero, and an American Eagle. According to Hoyle "the
single 0, the double 0, and eagle are never bars;
but when the ball falls into either of them, the banker
sweeps every thing upon the table, except what may
happen to be bet on either one of them, when he pays
twenty-seven for one, which is the amount paid for
all sums bet upon any single figure."
the 1800s, roulette spread all over Europe and the
U.S.A., becoming one of the most famous and most popular
casino games. When the German government abolished
gambling in the 1860s, the Blanc family moved to the
last legal remaining casino operation in Europe at
Monte Carlo, where they established a gambling mecca
for the elite of Europe. It was here that the single
zero roulette wheel became the premier game, and over
the years was exported around the world, except in
the United States where the double zero wheel had
remained dominant. Some call roulette the "King
of Casino Games", probably because it was associated
with the glamour of the casinos in Monte Carlo.
legend tells François Blanc supposedly bargained
with the devil to obtain the secrets of roulette.
The legend is based on the fact that the sum of all
the numbers on the roulette wheel (from 1 to 36) is
666, which is the "Number of the Beast."
the United States, the French double zero wheel made
its way up the Mississippi from New Orleans, and then
westward. It was here, because of rampant cheating
by both operators and gamblers, the wheel eventually
was placed on top of the table to prevent devices
being hidden in the table or wheel, and the betting
layout was simplified. This eventually evolved into
the American style roulette game as different from
the traditional French game. The American game developed
in the gambling dens across the new territories where
makeshift games had been set up, whereas, the French
game evolved with style and leisure in Monte Carlo.
However, it is the American style layout with its
simplified betting and fast cash action, using either
a single or double zero wheel, that now dominates
in most casinos around the world.
the first part of the 20th century, the only casino
towns of note were Monte Carlo with the traditional
single zero French wheel, and Las Vegas with the American
double zero wheel. In the 1970s, casinos began to
flourish around the world. By 2008 there were several
hundred casinos world wide offering roulette games.
The double zero wheel is found in the U.S.A., South
America, and the Caribbean, while the single zero
wheel is predominant elsewhere.
strategies and tactics
Einstein is reputed to have stated, "You cannot
beat a roulette table unless you steal money from
the numerous even-money bets in roulette have inspired
many players over the years to attempt to beat the
game by using one or more variations of a Martingale
betting strategy, wherein the gamer doubles the bet
after every loss, so that the first win would recover
all previous losses, plus win a profit equal to the
original bet. As the referenced article on Martingales
points out, this betting strategy is fundamentally
flawed in practice and the near-universal long-term
consequence is a large financial loss. Another strategy
is the Fibonacci system, where bets are calculated
according to the Fibonacci sequence. Regardless of
the specific progression, no such strategy can statistically
overcome the casino's advantage.
not a strategy to win money, Los Angeles Times editor
Andrés Martinez described an enjoyable roulette
betting method in his book on Las Vegas entitled "24/7".
He called it the "dopey experiment". The
idea is to divide one's roulette session bankroll
into 35 units. This unit is bet on a particular number
for 35 consecutive spins. Thus, if the number hits
in that time, the gambler wins back the original bankroll
and can play subsequent spins with house money. However,
there is only a (1 - (37 / 38)35) * 100% = 60.68%
probability of winning within 35 spins (assuming a
double zero wheel with 38 pockets).
is a common misconception that the green numbers are
"house numbers" and that by betting on them
one "gains the house edge." In fact, it
is true that the house's advantage comes from the
existence of the green numbers (a game without them
would be statistically fair); however, they are no
more or less likely to come up than any other number.
attempts have been made by engineers to overcome the
house edge through predicting the mechanical performance
of the wheel, most notably by Joseph Jagger at Monte
Carlo in 1873. These schemes work by determining that
the ball is more likely to fall at certain numbers.
Claude Shannon, a mathematician and computer scientist
best known for his contributions to information theory,
built arguably the first wearable computer to do so
try to prevent exploits like this, the casinos monitor
the performance of their wheels, and rebalance and
realign them regularly to try to keep the result of
the spins as random as possible.
recently Thomas Bass, in his book The Eudaemonic Pie
1991 (published as The Newtonian Casino in Britain),
has claimed to be able to predict wheel performance
in real time. The book describes the exploits of a
group of computer hackers, who called themselves the
Eudaemons, who in the late 1970s used computers in
their shoes to win at roulette by predicting where
the ball would fall.
least in the 1930s, some professional gamblers were
able to consistently gain an edge in roulette by seeking
out rigged wheels (not difficult to find at that time)
and betting opposite the largest bets.
the early 1990s, Gonzalo Garcia-Pelayo used a computer
to model the tendencies of the roulette wheels at
the Casino de Madrid in Madrid, Spain. Betting the
most likely numbers, along with members of his family,
he was able to win over one million dollars over a
period of several years. A court ruled in his favor
when the legality of his strategy was challenged by
2004 it was reported that a group of two Serbs and
one Hungarian in London had used a laser scanner hidden
inside a mobile phone linked to a computer to predict
the sector of the wheel where the ball was most likely
to drop. They were arrested, but released without
charge as there was no proof they had technically
interfered with casino equipment.
only on red
conceivable strategy would be to bet on the ball landing
in a red space for a certain number of spins, for
are 18 red spaces on a roulette table with 38 total
spaces. Dividing 18 by 38 yields a probability of
landing on red of 47.37%. This probability can be
used in a binomial distribution and made into an approximate
standard normal distribution.
so indicates that, if one were to spin the wheel 38
times, there is a 99% probability that the ball would
land on red at least 10 times. There is an 83% probability
that in 38 spins, the ball will land on red at least
15 times. Out of 38 spins, there's a 50% chance that
18 will be red.
the break-even point is 19 spins, since the bet on
red is 1:1, and the probability of 19 red spins in
38 is only 37%. This indicates the difficulty of winning
by only betting on red.
results occur because, as indicated by the 18 divided
by 38 equals 47.37% figure, the ball will land on
red less than half the time. This percentage applied
in the binomial and standard normal distributions
creates the vast divide in probability from 18 red
spins to 19 red spins out of 38 spins. It is very
unlikely for anyone to spin much more than 18 red
spins out of 38 spins.
Betting multiple times
type of bet is a combination of the red bet and the
martingale system. The difference is that this bet
also includes the odd. This strategy starts off with
a bet of 1 on each the red and the odd (or you can
do the black and even). Each bet is treated separately.
When one bet loses, it is doubled. When one bet wins,
it gets set back to 1. The reason that this technique
keeps the player in the game so long is that there
is almost a 25% chance of winning both the red and
the odd and there is almost a 50% chance of breaking
even (win one bet and lose the other). Of course,
in order for this method to last, the player would
need an unlimited source of money, and a casino with
another one to boot. In reality, this method backfires
when the player can't bet any longer and loses. The
loss that this causes is possibly hundreds of times
bigger than a loss made when starting. Also, in the
long run, because the house still has an edge, the
player will lose money just like with all other "unbeatable"
Labouchere System is progression betting strategy
like the Martingale but does not require the gambler
to risk his stake as quickly with dramatic double
ups. The Labouchere System involves using a series
of numbers in a line to determine the bet amount,
following a win or a loss. Typically, the player adds
the numbers at the front and end of the line to determine
the size of the next bet. When he wins, he crosses
out the outside numbers and continues working on the
smaller line. If he loses, then he adds his previous
bet to the end of the line and continues to work on
the longer line. This is a much more flexible progression
betting system and there is much room for the player
to design his initial line to his own playing preference.
the dozen bet
are two versions to this system, single dozen bets
and double dozen bets. In the single dozen bet version,
the player uses a progressively incrementing stake
list starting from the casino table minimum, to the
table maximum. The aim here is to use a single dozen
bet to win before the stake list ends. Many techniques
are employed such as: betting on the same dozen to
appear after two consecutive appearances, betting
on the dozen that has appeared most in the last 15,
9, or 5 spins, betting on the dozen that, after a
long absence of 7 or more spins, appears for the first
time. The double dozen bet version uses two dozen
bets and half the stake list size of the single dozen
1st and 3rd column strategy
bet of 2 pieces on the 1st column and one bet of 2
pieces on the 3rd column covers most of the red numbers
on the table. One bet of 2 pieces on the black will
provide insurance for occurrence of black. This betting
system covers nearly all numbers except for the 4
red numbers in the middle column and the zero (and
double zero in American Roulette). If the result is
a red number in either the 1st or 3rd column, the
player only breaks even. If the result is red in the
middle column the player loses 6 pieces. If the result
is black and in the middle column, the player loses
2 pieces. If the result is a black in the 1st or 3rd
column, the player only wins 4 pieces.
are a number of roulette strategies which take a more
mechanical approach to breaking the casino. The most
famous is the biased wheel attack. In the biased wheel
attack, the player clocks the wheel to find statistical
deviations indicating some flaw to the wheel. Given
that the wheel is man made it is quite impossible
for the roulette wheel to be perfect. The biased wheel
attack, seeks to find imperfect wheels and exploit
the fact that some wheels will return numbers more
often than 1 in 35, which means there is potential
to have an edge over the casino. Clocking the wheel
involves taking spin results in great numbers to identify
WHEELS: SECTION BETTING
1982, several casinos in England began to lose large
sums of money at their roulette tables to teams of
gamblers from the USA. Upon investigation by the police,
it was discovered they were using a legal system of
biased wheel-section betting. As a result of this,
the English roulette wheel manufacturer John Huxley
designed a roulette wheel to counter-act the problem.
new wheel was called "low profile" because
the pockets had been drastically reduced in depth,
and various other design modifications caused the
ball to descend in a gradual approach to the pocket
area. In 1986, when a professional gambling team headed
by Billy Walters won $3.8 million using the system
on an old wheel at the Golden Nugget in Atlantic City,
every casino in the world took notice, and within
one year had switched to the new "low profile"
wheel. Recent additional modifications to the roulette
wheel by Cammegh of England has made it almost impossible
to use a mechanical winning system.
* In 1873, the Englishman Joseph Jaggers made the
first famous roulette biased wheel attack. Mr. Jaggers
with a team of six clerks, clocked all the wheels
at the Monte Carlo casino and found one wheel to show
significant bias. In their attack exploiting this
flaw they won over $325,000, an astronomical sum in
* In the summer of 1891 at the Monte Carlo casino,
a part-time swindler and petty crook from London named
Charles Wells, broke the bank at each table he played
over a period of several days. Breaking the bank meant
he won all the available money in the table bank that
day, and a black cloth would be placed over the table
until the bank was replenished. In song and life he
was celebrated as "The Man That Broke the Bank
at Monte Carlo." He later admitted that it was
all luck, and he eventually ended up in jail for many
years because of his fraudulent schemes.
* In 2004, Ashley Revell of London sold all of his
possessions, clothing included, and brought US$135,300
to the Plaza Hotel in Las Vegas and put it all on
"Red" at the roulette table in a double-or-nothing
bet. The ball landed on "Red 7" and Revell
walked away with his net-worth doubled to $270,600.
* In the 1942 film Casablanca, Rick's Café
Americain has a trick roulette wheel. The croupier
can cause it to land on 22 at will. Rick (Humphrey
Bogart) urges a Czech refugee with whose case he becomes
sympathetic to put his last three chips on 22 and
motions to the croupier to let him win. After the
man's number dramatically comes up, Rick tells him
to let it all ride on 22 and lets him win again. Although
the details are not mentioned in the film (the croupier
only notes that they are "a couple of thousand"
down), it appears that Rick has given the man 3885
* In the music video for "Palace & Main"
by Kent, guitarist Harri Mänty goes to Las Vegas
and bets the entire video budget on black. He wins,
and the profits were donated to charity.
In the third part of the 1998 film Run, Lola, Run,
Lola uses all her money to buy a 100-mark chip. (She
is actually just short of 100 marks, but gains the
sympathy of a casino employee who gives her the chip
for what money she has.) She bets her single chip
on 20 and wins. She lets her winnings ride on 20 and
wins again, making her total winnings 129,600 marks
(29,600 more than her smuggler boyfriend owed his
boss, Ronnie). The odds of two consecutive wins on
the same number on a European roulette wheel are exactly
* In the South Park episode "Red Man's Greed",
the town, facing destruction at the hands of Native
Americans, bets $10,000 to raise money to save the
town. They win, but let it ride, and lose all of it.
Near the beginning of the 1973 film The Sting, Johnny
Hooker (Robert Redford) takes his share of the money
conned from a numbers runner and loses nearly all
of it on a single bet against a rigged roulette wheel.
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