The Physics behind Roulette: Newton’s analysis and contribution

Albert Einstein once said, “No one can possibly win at Roulette unless he steals money from the table when the croupier isn’t looking.” Now imagine a real-life quest like in Ocean’s 11, only this time, laws of motion help cracking the code instead of rigging the entire casino.

Predicting the probable outcome amongst the tremendous possibilities in gambling is no piece of cake. This especially holds true for Roulette casino gaming where the chance of getting it right is less than 5%. Well, this area too has not been left untouched by some geniuses.

The Physics behind Roulette: Newton's analysis and contribution

How does Roulette casino gaming work?

On a Roulette table, a few key components bring the whole act together. For knowing how to crack the code, it is necessary to get accustomed to them.

  •   The bowl and the wheel head: These are the parts of a Roulette wheel. The bowl is the external housing, and the wheel head is the centrepiece that rotates.
  •   The ball track: The track in which the ball spins until it is settled on the deflector.
  •   The frets or ramps: These are elevated ridges on the Roulette wheel which divide the entire wheel into pockets.

For playing Roulette, a player places his bet on or predicts a certain number, groups of numbers, either the colour red or black, whether the number is odd or even, or if the numbers are high as in 19–36 or low as in 1–18.

Then the croupier spins the wheel in one direction, and the ball in the opposite direction. Eventually, the ball loses its momentum, falls from the ball track, hits the deflectors, and falls onto the Roulette wheel, and on one of the 37/38 coloured and numbered pockets.

This is the working principle of Roulette.

The Physics behind Roulette: Newton's analysis and contribution

Is it possible to break the code?

It is clear from above that the mechanics of Roulette follow the laws of motion, which is why the speed of the wheel and the ball gradually decelerates, and they finally come to a halt.

This leads one into thinking that if the initial position, velocity, and acceleration of the ball and the wheel are known, he/she can determine the most probable outcome/outcomes. This is also known as the Chaos Theory.

Within an experimental set-up, considering the weather conditions are ideal, and gaining a better perspective of the roulette table with the help of an overhead camera, it has been made possible to increase the chances of getting a winning number by 18 per cent. Also, the game can be manipulated by tilting the wheel by a small angle which could substantially work in favour of the predicted number.

Unfortunately, Roulette casino gaming is a little more complicated than that. The winning outcomes are influenced by many other factors like the variable size of the frets and the ball, the deflectors, and even atmospheric conditions, which the calculated outcome obviously doesn’t take into account. That is why although some pioneers have tried to break the code of Roulette casino gaming, they have been gravely unsuccessful in gaining riches.

What about an online Roulette game?

It is obvious that nobody is actually spinning the wheel and the ball behind a computer screen. Like in a real-life Roulette, the outcomes of an online Roulette game too, are independent of one another.

An online roulette game for e.g., the Online Roulette UK sure exhibits the spinning of a virtual wheel before the eyes for a life-like experience, but it differs from online casino gaming right from its core.

Most of the online Roulette games work on the basis of random number generators (RNG). Random Number Generators are computer algorithms that produce millions of numbers in a second. Each of the numbers generated is associated with a game outcome. In the case of online Roulette, the winning outcome could be any arbitrary number such as 2, 11, or 34. Every number has an equal chance of being the chosen outcome upon spinning. Therefore, the aforementioned ways to “cheat” or any other trick for that matter is not applicable in an online roulette wheel.

Online Roulette casinos that do not employ random number generators, however, have been beaten by some very skilful gamblers in certain instances. Digital cheating of roulette is a vicious and up and coming trend. In brick and mortar casinos, many gamblers have managed to earn millions using computer software to detect the biased wheels or predict winning ramp pockets. This obviously is the work of a very experienced gambler with the aid of an employee or an ally.

All being said, it is a federal offence to use unfair means at a casino, and the slightest anomaly could trigger the authorities which would lead to unfavourable events.

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Name: The Physics behind Roulette: Newton’s analysis and contribution

Posted On: 17/06/2020

Author: Tony Willets

The Physics behind Roulette: Newton’s analysis and contribution
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