Brick and mortar casinos have been hosting roulette games since just after the time of the dinosaurs, in 18th century France. The roulette wheel began its life as a perpetual motion machine, designed by Frenchman Blaise Pascal a century earlier, before making its mark in Paris in the late 1700’s. From here it traveled around Europe where it became a favorable game among royalty, and the aristocrats of The Continent.
When roulette reached America one major change was apparent in the game; an extra zero had found its way onto the wheel. This was no accident, and affects the game in a huge way; by doubling the house edge. Allow me to explain.
European and American wheel. The significance of the Green color
The European roulette wheel contains the numbers 1-36 and a number zero. 18 numbers are black, and 18 numbers red, with the zero displaying the all important green that makes the odds of a 50-50 red/black bet a little less than 50-50, and the odds of a bet on a single number 1/37, where only 1/36 is actually paid out. This is known as the house edge. The single “zero” stand-alone green color is the defining factor of the European roulette wheel, and is the reason why roulette is a game of gambling. The odds are slightly in favor of the casino for every spin, and even covering the zero does not negate this; it costs an extra bet and still pays out with less than the odds of the event actually happening.
The American roulette has a “zero” and a “double-zero”, both green. It also displays the numbers 1-36 with 18 black numbers and 18 red. The 50-50 red/black now contends with two green colors, where before it had only one to cause an offset. Similarly, a bet on a single number on an American wheel pays out odds of 1/36, where it should now pay out 1/38 given the zero and double-zero.
The two green colors are placed opposite one another on the wheel, and there remains a wide spread of the high and low numbers, and alternating black and red numbers. The layout of numbers is different to on a European wheel, though this makes little difference to the gameplay. The European wheel still has the spread of numbers, and alternation of colors that is designed to be difficult to predict.
Given that the only real relevant difference in the American wheel is the addition of the double-zero, and therefore the addition of a stronger house edge, most players tend to prefer the European game where possible. Many casinos in the USA offer only the American version of the game, so US players in the brick and mortar casino may have no choice but to bite the bullet when it comes to the decreased odds they are paid out. Players in Europe, and players online, will usually have the option for both, though it is unbeknown to me why anyone would play the American version out of choice, when the European clearly displays better odds.
Online Roulette and Random Number Generators
Of course the game is not only played in brick and mortar casinos, and has catapulted itself into the online world, along with every other form of game available, and every other form of making money available. To traditional players, and those who haunt the wealthy wheels of the casino, this may sound a little disconcerting. There will not, after all, be any hot waitresses serving free drinks, and while I say this a little in jest, the glamor of casino life is what attracts many of its customers. So what can online casinos offer the punter, and how do they work when there is no physical wheel to place bets on?
Online roulette works by way of random number generators, or RNG. The only way to replicate the random generation of the results of a turn of a card, a roll of a dice, or a spin of a ball on a wheel is to use software programs that generate random numbers. The RNG is constantly churning out a sequence of numbers using complex algorithms to generate them, and when it is called upon it pulls out the next number in the sequence. This is then converted to the visual representation of what is seen on screen, such as the ball landing on the generated number, which helps to make the game more exciting and interactive. No one wants to gamble on a string of numbers, it just doesn’t have any appeal; except in lotteries but this is usually the temptation of an obscene pay out for a small bet.
Is RNG Really Random?
Before we question whether The RNG software is completely random, let us question whether the spin of a ball around a wheel by a dealer is random. As the dealer spins the ball he applies a certain amount of force to the ball, which is then acted upon by its friction, and the spinning of the wheel, as well as gravity and air resistance. If we were to accurately identify and measure all of the forces and factors involved with the spin then technically we would be able to accurately measure the drop zone of the ball. In a way, the position of the ball could be said to be predetermined as soon as it was set off, and so it should be possible to calculate the end result. The event therefore, cannot really be considered random at all.
Whilst there is truth in this, the spin of the ball and its final position can be considered so immeasurable and so close to random, as to consider it so. We do not currently have the instruments of measurement to make those predictions. We would need the exact location of the wheel, the speed of the ball, and would need to place our bet later than is allowed. To go back to randomness consider that in this context “random” just means so close to being unmeasurable that it may as well be random.
The same is true of RNG. Technically speaking the computer software is not capable of generating entirely random numbers. It can however, produce an algorithmic pattern that is so complex that it is beyond producing any sort of measurable pattern. The RNG then may not be totally random, but they are considered to be close, and are used across the board by online gambling sites. Each number in the pattern is generated from a random “seed” number, so numbers do not follow on from one another in a sequence, and are independent every time. The factors involved in an RNG generated roulette result are arguably more complex than those on a wheel, although either way people have tried.
You can have a taste for yourself and even compare the outcomes of RNG spins to physical roulette spins, by downloading and looking at many thousands of roulette spins in our free spins section.
Read our research about the reliability of Automated Air-ball roulette, often called rapid roulette.
Is Online Roulette Safe?
The safety and legitimacy of online gambling sites in general has been the subject of scrutiny by weary members of the public who have not taken the leap. The RNG, as discussed is very reliable, and there is no reason to doubt its capabilities for generating numbers. Would it be possible for a site to use a rigged RNG to swindle players out of money. Well, possibly. It is possible that a site could write and program their own software that was fixed to take money and avoid payout.
Whilst this is theoretically possible, there is really no reason for online casinos, who rake in millions, to do this. The risks involved are too great, and the profits easy enough for them to make anyway. Having said that it is wise to avoid scammy looking sites, and to choose out of the many that have solid reputations. For anyone who is still in doubt it is possible to play roulette via a live video link to a physical wheel and a dealer on many sites.
However a very important practical consideration is to use the best, most reliable and easy methods to deposit and withdraw money online without attracting unwanted attention. Find out more about your options in our detailed comparative review of e-waletts.
|An espresso, your notebook and online roulette. Enjoy!|
Play Roulette from your couch
The online experience offers a few things that the brick and mortar cannot; the comfort of playing from home with some slippers on, and a pipe not least. The pace of the game can be much faster too. It is even possible to play multiple tables and sites, and have many wheels spinning at the same time. As if this was not enough it is now possible to play multiple games at the same time, whilst not even sitting in front of the computer, or having any touch of the game at all. This has been made possible by roulette “bots,” complex software programs that have been made available to the player, sometimes at a price, and sometimes even for free.
In order to understand the role of bots, how they came about, and why they are used today, it is time to consider how people have tried to beat the game in the past, and look at the evolution of the trail of thought that drives people to try to solve the rather intense problem of beating the odds.
Beating the Game
First of all, you want to make sure you know and have read this very important advice about online roulette.The first person to attempt to beat the game may have been the original designer of the perpetual motion wheel, Mr Pascal himself. According to myth, or perhaps savage rumor, he made a bargain with the devil, who gifted to him the secrets of beating the game. What advice did the devil give to Blaise Pascal? Perhaps he told him to understand the laws of physics and the motion of the ball? Maybe the devil told him to cheat, or maybe he told him a certain betting pattern that was pre-destined to make money. A more likely story is that the only advice the devil could give to him was to be on the side of the wheel that always wins; the casino side.
For every favorable story of a big roulette winner; a master magician who manages to pull the wool over the eyes of statistical variance, there are a million stories of guaranteed success on the part of the casino, which pulls in the punters hoping that they may hedge their bets on any combination of numbers on the wheel. Betting pattern is of no concern to the casino, who know that as long as they have their edge they will be bathing in cash by the morning.
Still, roulette is not a game that appeals only to degenerates. On the contrary, the most popular casino game in the world attract a wide variety of players, often wealthy business persons who wager only on profitable expectations in their lives outside of the casino walls. Perhaps it is the lavish lifestyle, or the enjoyment of the buzz that allures them. For most, both high earners and those with only a small amount of disposable income, roulette offers a chance to take a true gamble, with the hope of a payoff, and a risk of losing what they can afford to lose.
Whilst this might be true of many players there have always been those that believe they can beat the odds of the game. Common sense and house edge may tell us that we can’t, but intelligent minds across the world have been locked in a battle of will and wit, as they devise complex theory and strategy to spin the odds in their favor. Like card-counting in blackjack these tactics often think outside of the box, but still inside of the wheel. Physicists and mathematicians have proposed theories that mostly probe at the wheel from two distinct angles; predicting the spin and landing point of the ball, and working out betting patterns that offer the most shelter from the hell-fire of statistical variance.
Many studies, both scientific and otherwise, have aimed at working out the factors involved in the process of a brick and mortar wheel spin. Michael Small of the University of Perth sums it up when he says that “knowing the initial conditions allows us to beat the odds.” Their experiments showed that they could significantly increase the odds in their favor, by up to 20%, by recording the conditions first. The important conditions they identified were the relative speed of the ball and the wheel when the ball is set into motion.
This is understandably difficult to know. These conditions are not easily recorded by human observation, and the regular rotation of the dealer means that the conditions, such as the speed of the ball as it is released, change too. The wheel itself is also designed to add extra dimensions, with bounce added by the bumps on the wheel, and the slots of the numbers.
It may be possible to advance this method by using greater observational power such as cameras or computers, and there have been roulette victories fought and won this way. Even though the method will rarely predict a single number, it is said to be possible to be accurate enough to predict a section of the wheel. If this is true it would be enough to beat the house edge and yield profitable results. Equipment like that is suitable banned in most casinos, who would not want to allow their edge to be withered away, but it is not out of the realms of possibility that an extremely well trained eye could make slight predictions, that could improve odds.
Using Bots and Betting Patterns
Of course the game is not only played in brick and mortar casinos, and has now catapulted itself into the online world, along with every other form of game available. Now the war is waged online where computer-wizards and maths circles collaborate to discuss how technology can be used to beat the game.
The algorithm of an RNG, as the representative of the physical wheel, does not have these physical factors at play. It does, however, have something of a pattern. As stated before nothing is truly random when it comes to RNG; only very, very close to random. The pattern on the RNG should be extremely hard to distinguish due to the multi-tiered way in which it is generated. It would certainly be too much for the human eye to detect. Enter “bots.”
Roulette bots are programs which can play roulette automatically. This implies one of two things depending on a person’s inclination; some claim that it still cannot change the game, because the odds will always be the same, and the house will always have an edge. Others claim the bot can revolutionize the game, and allow profit to be made, with no effort other than what is required in its initial programming.
The bot requires programming prior to its use. It is not a program that guarantees any sort of profit, or claims to hold a secret formula. What it does provide is a way of analyzing information faster so if there is a pattern that can be discerned from the RNG, then it is the bot that will be capable of doing it. The war is fought between developer of RNG and developer of bot in the end. The RNG’s used by online gambling sites are some of the most profound, and safest on the market. The programmers of the bots, and the mathematicians that aim to devise methods to beat the game have got a heck of a contender.
Using a bot it would be possible to track the sequence of a wheel for a long time with minimal effort, and it is also possible to test out betting strategies without wagering money. This would beat sitting at a roulette table for days recording numbers. The RNG is more likely to produce something of a sequence than a physical wheel, whose factors are forever changing. It is programmed to produce each number afresh from its “seed” so it too claims to be unpredictable.
The other use of a roulette bot is to input betting patterns, but again these have to be devised by the player. One of the most famous strategies of all, the Martingale system will work for an example here, although any other would do. Many betting systems have been devised for roulette each providing what is essentially a different perspective on how best to bet. The Martingale system is particularly aggressive, forcing the player to double their bet every time. If the player had an unlimited bankroll this theory is close to being perfect. The problem is very few of us have an unlimited bankroll, and even huge bankrolls can be subject to erratic variance that can cost us the job lot. Furthermore many casinos, and often online sites too, whether for legal reasons or to prevent such strategies, implement a betting limit; a maximum amount that can be played in a single bet.
So, what can a bot bring to the table, or the wheel as it were. As stated it must be programmed within its parameters to play a betting strategy on the player’s behalf. It can be programmed to play the Martingale system, but it does not actually make it work anymore that it did before. It can play the system for a long time, over several games, but again, it does not negate the house edge any more than before. The battle continues.
[Read: Human brain vs Computer]
The War Rages On
In fact the battle I predict, will always continue. The closest we might get to beating roulette is in working out its pattern. In the physical realm this means becoming capable of predicting the balls landing position, and in the online world this means cracking a complex algorithm. Bots still have constrictions in a huge way. They function only on certain sites, they have limits in how they can be programmed, and they often have time limits too (thats the Martingale out of the window then!)
Perhaps if a bot could automatically track the RNG over a very long period of time, and work out both the algorithm for its seed, and for the final number sequence, then it may be possible to beat the online game. If a person succeeds in doing this they will undoubtedly become very rich in a short burst of time. I will hold my hands up and say “Fair play to you good sir.”
Then, the RNG programmers would work without sleep until they produced algorithms with an extra tier. The cycle would continue. The war would rage on. The day the house edge can be negated by the use of simple software, is the day roulette dies its death, for no company would spin the wheel if each spin didn’t spin in their own favor. So if you find a way to win, keep it quiet, hush hush!