What Are the Physical Components of the Roulette Wheel?
There’s more to the roulette wheel than meets the eye. Although it looks like a rudimentary device, a roulette wheel is an ingenious contraption that is made up of multiple components. For the most part, Roulette Wheels are manufactured by leading companies such as Cammegh of Kent, England, Paul-Son, and TCS John Huxley. The number of roulette wheel manufacturers is steadily increasing, but these manufacturers remain the gold standard.
Among the many requirements for roulette wheel assembly are an even weight distribution throughout the wheel, the roulette cylinder must move freely without any friction, the components must be non-magnetic, to prevent third-party interference with its functionality, and there must be even depth of roulette pockets, with even spacing, and equal-height frets, and balanced turrets. Each of these components makes up the traditional roulette wheel, as pictured above. The typical roulette wheel has a diameter between 27 – 32 inches, and the Teflon balls measure 18 mm – 21 mm across.
Every single design element of a roulette wheel must be crafted with 100% precision, to avoid creating what is known as wheel bias. Simply put, this phenomenon will result in skewed outcomes which savvy roulette bettors will be able to anticipate. Defective wheels are rare, but they do exist at the odd land-based casino. There are no defective online roulette wheels, given that these games are computer renderings governed by complex software, and RNGs – not physical roulette wheels.
Around the wheel track, you will notice ball deflectors. These are also known as diamonds, and they are designed to deflect the ball’s trajectory, thereby creating greater uncertainty about where the ball will land. Another point worth considering when discussing roulette wheels is the depth of the pockets. The deeper a pocket is, the less bounce there will be when the ball lands; the shallower a pocket is, the greater the scatter. In between individual numbers on the roulette wheel, you will notice triangular vertical separators – these are known as frets.
These frets can also vary in height and width. Small frets result in greater bounce, while larger frets tend to keep the ball firmly in the pocket. Of course, the triangular patterns can be imprinted onto the roulette wheel itself in a zigzag-style fashion, and the ball will invariably come to rest of its own accord. Naturally, casinos prefer roulette wheels which don’t have any slowdown, with no deceleration effect on them whatsoever. Once again, this is not a concern with online roulette since these are governed by computer-generated outcomes.
- The Roulette Wheel & Wheelhead
The bowl is the external housing units, and there is a centerpiece too. The centerpiece rotates. It is typically made of solid wood, and the mechanism includes a ball track as well as a lower ball track, with each of the components listed above. The spindle is the vertical component. The cone is the central part of the wheelhead and it slopes upward from the center.
- The Roulette Ball Track
The simplest definition of the roulette ball track is the area where the ball spins around the roulette wheel and the wheelhead. There are a series of deflectors along the ball track, designed to interrupt the predictive passage of the ball, to make its landing that much more difficult to forecast. The entire design and structure of the roulette wheel is such that players will not be able to anticipate with any degree of certainty where the ball will eventually come to rest.
- The Roulette Wheel Frets
The frets are the diamond-shaped separators which are strategically placed along the roulette ball track. Recall that no magnetic components are used, since these could be manipulated, or potentially interact with roulette balls and a metallic core.
Roulette wheels are a dime a dozen, and the manufacturers of these products sell them from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars, depending on the quality, grade, style, and material that is used to manufacture them. An exploded view of a roulette wheel would reveal the turret at the top – the centerpiece, followed by the base of the turret, the height adjuster for the turret, the roulette wheelhead (the circular component which includes all the roulette numbers, and the wheel frets). The base houses the ball track, and the ball deflector, as well as the spindle which holds everything together.
Roulette Wheels and Roulette Balls
There is no standard size roulette wheel or roulette ball that is used at all casinos around the world. In fact, there are traditionally 8 different types of roulette wheel sizes and multiple different types of roulette ball sizes. There are 16 inch, 18 inch, 19 inch, 22 inch, 25 inch, 27 inch, 30 inch, and 32 inch roulette wheels. The ball sizes for these roulette wheels will vary accordingly. They start at 3/8 of an inch for the 16 inch roulette wheels and can be as large as 7/8 of an inch for the 32 inch roulette wheels. Ivory is sometimes used to create roulette balls, although this has lost favor at many casinos around the world, due to animal-rights conservation initiatives.
The Layout of Roulette Wheels
The roulette wheel layout varies between European Roulette wheels and American Roulette wheels. This is to be expected, since European Roulette wheels have a single green 0 while American Roulette wheels have a green 0 and a green 00. This changes the numbers sequence on the wheels. European and French Roulette wheels have 37 numbers and 37 pockets. American Roulette wheels have 38 numbers and 38 pockets.
We will close out the section with the number sequence starting from the single Green 0 on European Roulette wheels (moving clockwise): 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. On American Roulette wheels the number sequence is as follows (moving clockwise) from 0:0, 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.
For further information about the betting table layout and the types of bets that are available on different roulette games, please consult Casinofy’s American Roulette, European Roulette, and French Roulette guides.