Nevertheless, the average player is at a disadvantage to the casino. You increase the likelihood that you’ll end up in the red when continuing to play roulette.
But some players are so skilled that they’ve turned the tables on casinos while making a roulette fortune. These gamblers have used wheel bias to gain an advantage.
Certain gamblers have even made millions of dollars through wheel bias. These events have left casinos doing everything in their power to diminish this advantage play technique’s effectiveness.
I’m going to discuss three ways that gambling venues work to discourage wheel bias. But first, I’ll cover how the strategy works and players who’ve got rich with it.
What Is Roulette Wheel Bias?
Wheel bias is a roulette strategy that involves finding a wheel that favors certain pockets and/or sections. The goal is to identify these biased numbers/sections and bet on them to take advantage.
Roulette wheels can break down over time and favor specific pockets. This phenomenon happens through several ways, including loose frets (pocket dividers), a shaky wheel, deformed ball, and different-sized pockets.
It’s impossible to spot these imperfections and tendencies with the naked eye. You instead need to record results and use the data to spot biases.
The easiest way to do this is by finding section bias. If you find that the wheel favors half of a side, you can gain a long-term edge.
Here’s an example:
- You record 500 roulette spins.
- You put all of the results into a spreadsheet.
- You find that a section of 19 numbers running between 0 and 5 is biased.
The best thing about looking for section bias is that you only need several hundred spins to find this with confidence. The wheel is favoring a large group of numbers,meaning you need less data to spot the bias.
Compare this to looking for favored pockets, which requires far more data and analysis. You’re searching for a bias in one or more pockets out of a possible 37 (European wheel) or 38 numbers (American wheel).
Finding single favored pockets can be more lucrative, because you’re narrowing down where the bias(es) occur. But it also takes 4,000 to 5,000 spins to find a single biased number with any confidence.
The problem with individual pocket biases is that you’ll waste an incredible amount of time if/when your search turns up nothing. I suggest focusing on favored sections, because it requires one-tenth of the work.
Gamblers Who Have Made a Fortune with Wheel Bias
Wheel bias is a time-consuming advantage play technique that requires discipline and mathematical skills. The reward is great, though, because anybody who successfully uses this strategy is due for big profits.
You can read about three of the most-famous cases of wheel bias practitioners below. Each of these players made millions of dollars through their skills.
Joseph Jagger was an English engineer who lived in the 1800s. Jagger used his engineering skills to deduce that roulette wheels can wear down and favor certain pockets.
He hired six clerks in the early 1870s to visit Monte Carlo’s Beaux-Arts Casino and record roulette results. Each clerk was assigned to a different wheel and recorded thousands of spins during their stay.
He suddenly began taking heavy losses. But Jagger eventually figured out that the biased wheel had been moved and quit playing.
In the end, he walked away with a £65,000 profit. According to the 1873 multiplier used in this inflation calculator, Jagger earned what equates to £7 million today.
Billy Walters & The Computer Team
Billy Walters is a skilled sports bettor who’s made tens of millions of dollars. And part of his success is attributed to the “Computer Team” group he formed in the 1980s.
Walters and the Computer Team used PCs to crunch data surrounding sports bets and other casino games. They used the data to spot potential advantages.
This practice was significant at the time, because most people were just learning the basics of PCs—not using them to run advanced calculations.
One of the gambling syndicate’s greatest feats is when they took the Atlantic Club Casino for nearly $4 million in 1986. Much like Jagger before them, they recorded roulette results at the casino.
The Atlantic City venue asked the gamblers to stop playing at this point. But they repeated their success by winning another $610,000 from the Claridge Casino in AC.
Gonzalo Garcia-Pelayo is a retired Spanish film and music producer. He’s also a gambling aficionado who became curious about wheel bias.
Garcia-Pelayo recruited his family members to track roulette wheels at Casino de Madrid. The Pelayos eventually found a biased wheel, which Gonzalo exploited to the tune of over €1 million.
Casino de Madrid sued Garcia-Pelayo under the guise that he was cheating. But the courts sided with the gambler, noting that advantage play isn’t a crime.
The lawsuit was enough to convince Garcia-Pelayo to take his act elsewhere, though, and he traveled to Las Vegas. Here, the Spaniard made millions of dollars before his reputation became known.
Garcia-Pelayo has since shared his story through the 2003 book The Fabulous Story of The Pelayos, which recounts how his family beat the house. The Pelayos are also featured in a History Channel documentary called “Breaking Vegas: The Roulette Assault.”
How Do Casinos Stop Wheel Bias Practitioners
Jagger, Walters, and Garcia-Pelayo have proven that roulette wheel bias can be very effective. And like any other successful advantage play technique, casinos work hard to limit wheel bias opportunities.
Gambling establishments use a variety of methods to stop advantage roulette players. You can read about three of the most-effective techniques below.
1 – Starburst Wheels
British casinos began losing a lot of money to advantage players in the early 1980s. They eventually asked police to investigate the matter, because they suspected cheating.
Authorities found that wheel bias — not cheating — was the culprit behind the losses. While the casinos couldn’t do anything from a legal standpoint, they did seek out other means to stop these players.
The latter is key, because wooden frets are notorious for becoming loose and/or worn down. Metal frets, on the other hand, are less likely to break down.
Starburst are so effective that they’re still used by casinos today to cut down on advantage gambling. These wheels have extended far beyond Britain.
In fact, Walters and the Computer Team returned to Atlantic City after their initial success, only to find that every AC casino had switched to Starburst wheels.
The key element to wheel bias is that you need a wheel to be defective in some manner. This is why Starburst products are so valuable to casinos, because they eliminate any kind of an edge that players can gain.
2 – Tracking Results
You may have visited a land-based casino before and noticed that they feature electronic boards on roulette tables. These boards serve two purposes:
- 1) Display to the last 10-20 results for players who use trend betting.
- 2) Record results so that the casino can spot biases.
The first point is good for business, because roulette players who are into trend betting are more excited to keep playing. Furthermore, they don’t hurt the casino’s bottom line through trend betting, which refers to using previous outcomes to make feature wagers.
Here’s an example of betting based on trends:
- You’re wagering on high in the high/lowbet.
- You notice that low has won three consecutive times.
- You feel that high is due for win.
- Therefore, you triple your next bet.
This style of gambling is harmless to casinos, because previous outcomes don’t change future odds. Due to this fact, trend betting is nothing more than a fun way to play roulette.
Regarding the second point, casinos use data collected from these electronic boards to ensure a fair distribution of roulette results. If they notice that the results are skewed towards a certain pocket or section, they can examine the wheel and decide whether to keep it on the floor.
3 – Equipment Inspections
Casinos regularly perform equipment inspections to ensure that everything is running smoothly. These inspections cover roulette wheels, which must be working properly in order to avoid giving skilled gamblers an edge.
Staff members look at a variety of aspects to the roulette wheel, including frets, pockets, and the wheel shaft. The wheel can feature biased results If just one of these features is off.
Inspections provide an additional layer of protection against advantage gamblers. If a high-quality when does break down for any reason, then staff members serve as a backup in catching the problem before players exploit it.
Can You Still Pull Off Wheel Bias?
Casinos have been burned too many times by wheel bias users to ignore the problem. Therefore, they take the precautions I covered above to eliminate this problem.
But has wheel bias truly been eliminated?
For starters, you’re probably not going to find a biased wheel today within a reasonable time frame. You could record spins on every wheel in a large casino resort and still come up with nothing.
Regardless, it’s naïve to think that there are no biased wheels throughout the world. I’m willing to bet that even with upgraded wheels, you can still find biased games attwo dozen casinos worldwide.
The question, though, becomes whether it’s worth looking for these wheels. Casinos have made it so that you’re essentially searching for a needle in a haystack.
If anybody is dominating casinos through wheel bias these days, they’ve done an excellent job of keeping a low profile. I haven’t seen any famous accounts of players winning millions through this strategy since Garcia-Pelayo in the 1990s.
To answer the question posed in this section: yes, you can still win with wheel bias. Butit’s such an inefficient method that the average gambler should look for a different strategy to beat casinos.
Wheel bias is a simple concept in theory. You track roulette spins and use your findings to look for biases.
Running the math and pouring through the numbers isn’t easy. But you’ll be motivated to figure out the results if you’ve spent considerable time tracking spins.
Unfortunately, wheel bias is hard to pull off due to the circumstances. Certain casinos lost millions to skilled roulette players, which led them to seek the best prevention methods possible.
John Huxley’s Starburst wheel almost closes the door on finding roulette bias. Equipment inspections and spin tracking further diminish any possible player edge.
If you want to be an advantage gambler, I suggest using another technique like card counting, shuffle tracking, or hole carding. You can also gain a long-term edge through daily fantasy sports, poker, or sports betting.
But if you’re still hellbent on becoming a wheel bias expert, then I suggest tracking sections instead of pockets. You can spot bias within 400-500 spins when looking for large sections.
You won’t make as many hourly profits with biased sections versus individual pockets (assuming similar bet sizes). But this is the more-realistic route to gaining an edge.
The odds of you being able to find a biased section are still low. But it’s not theoretically impossible when considering all of the roulette wheels throughout the world.