For decades and even centuries now, people have been trying to beat the game of roulette in every possible way, including mathematics, betting systems, various fallacies, and sometimes people would resort to outright cheating. So, can the game of roulette be cheated and how?
Cheating online roulette
Let’s get one thing clear – the random number generator (RNG) of online roulette cannot be beaten as the outcome of the spin is generated totally randomly with every new spin. There are animations of the wheel and the ball, but this is not a real spin, the RNG decided everything, and then the animation plays out. This version of roulette can’t be cheated in any way. Take a look at all roulette game variations
Some people got an idea that they’ll roll over their deposit bonus on roulette, in those online casinos that allow roulette to contribute towards the rollover requirements, but a quick calculation always shows that this is actually a much worse idea than simply playing a slot machine with a high payout.
Cheating a real roulette wheel
The one and only way to cheat in roulette is when you’re playing a game with a real physical wheel and a human dealer who spins the wheel and throws the ball in the opposite direction. To really cheat in roulette, you need access to the wheel, so this is why casinos have in fact cheated much more often than the players.
Casinos that want to cheat their players would often do that by rigging the wheel so the ball lands on zero and double zero more often than it should, as those are the numbers very few players play. Casino would use magnetic material for those two pockets in order to attract the steel ball to them. An obvious problem for the casino would be a gambler who figured out the wheel was rigged and which numbers were more common than they should be, as that would allow the gambler to exploit the cheating casino. Many gamblers are in fact persuaded most wheels are rigged and are actively trying to find which numbers are more common at a given casino.
It’s also possible that the wheel simply has some numbers pop up more often than the others as the wheel itself is imperfect, and might be heavier on one end or have wider pockets somewhere, or lower barriers to a certain pocket. It’s possible for an untampered wheel to still show bias towards a certain number or an area of the wheel, and if the player notices this and exploits it, it’s not really cheating even if the player gained an edge and is winning money. Courts side with the player in this particular situation. Do you want to play roulette? Chose the best online casino that suits most to you and starts to win big!
In 1873, Joseph Jagger noticed nine numbers on a Monte Carlo roulette wheel were more common than they should be, and he took 2 million francs from the casino, which is roughly $5 million in today’s money. Charles Wells did the same in 1891, in fact, he played on the exact same roulette wheel in Monte Carlo casino, and walked in with 4000 francs and walked out with 2 million only eleven hours later.
Handheld devices that predict where the ball will land have been used for a long time. In the modern age, professor Richard Muller, a physicist at the University of California, Berkeley, explained how a colleague of his had used physics to beat roulette. As long as the version of roulette played is one where bets are accepted while the wheel and the ball are still spinning, in that second or two, Muller claims, there’s enough information to accurately predict the half of the wheel where the ball will land. His colleague built a device with two switches that he’d tap when the ball spun a full circle and when the wheel spun a full circle. The device signalled him where to place his bet. The guy won a lot of money and wasn’t prosecuted for cheating, but the casino banned him.
Sleight of hand
An alternative method of cheating on roulette is to quickly put some chips on the winning number while the dealer isn’t watching. Easier said than done, this practice has almost completely been wiped out with modern surveillance technology. Also, the dealers are taught to memorize the bets placed before the spin outcome is known, so they too would notice if a new bet or a larger bet appeared. The last man to successfully do this was Richard Marcus, who would remove chips from losing bets as he was a masterful sleight of hand. He was eventually caught in 1999 and banned from Nevada casinos for life.
Can roulette be cheated at all?
Yes, but pretty much the only way to do it is to find a rigged wheel and then start betting on the rigged numbers. This isn’t technically cheating, either, as the casino is responsible for the quality of the wheel. A player can’t be blamed if they notice that the wheel favors a certain section or certain numbers.
In all other scenarios, the player is probably better off simply choosing to play French roulette which has a really minimal house edge even compared to European roulette, and American roulette with two zeros should be avoided at all costs as the house edge is too big. French roulette is very close to a fair game, so this is the player’s best option.
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