Traditional roulette games are played in real casinos using real wheels and real croupiers. Real wheels are mechanical devices that are supposed to be "fair". A fair wheel will, over time, result in every number from 0 to 36 appearing with a probability of 1 in 36. This means that over time the odds that a single number will appear is 36 to 1. The problem for the punter is that even given a fair wheel, the payout is actually 35 to 1. This gives the casino an edge and in the long run the casino can't lose. These odds are made even worse for a punter using an American wheel. American wheels have 00 as well as 0, so the odds are even more in favour of the casino.
NEVER PLAY ON AN AMERICAN WHEEL
In recent times casinos, and other organisations, have seized the opportunity to take the roulette game on-line. The transition started with the development of computer software that mimics a roulette table as an animation. They have even created sounds that mimic the noise of a spinning ball and the noise made when it dropped into a slot. This is nonsense of course. The roulette table animation could simply by replaced with a box. The random number just appears in the box. This has nothing to do with the real game of roulette.
A variation of the online game came when pneumatic wheels were developed. The wheel is spun automatically at regular intervals and the ball propelled by a blast of air. This mechanism could be on-line 24/7 without the expense of a real croupier.
Yet another variation was the web cam in a real casino. The web cam, with sound, gives a sense of the atmosphere in the casino with real croupiers and punters placing bets. Online bets are synchronised with the game at the table. The best example of this is dublinbet.com. Some organisations broadcast on terrestrial TV. A real person is on hand to spin the wheel but bets are placed online. The table is located in a TV studio rather than a real casino.
To sum up you have 3 choices: Either a real wheel spun automatically, a real wheel in a studio or real casino spun by a real person ,or an animation and computer generated pseudo random number. Is one these choices more likely to be less fair than another though ?
The answer to this question is simple. It's impossible to create a totally fair, statistically perfect, random number generator with any of these mechanisms. Operators of real casinos deploy all sorts of strategies to maintain a fair wheel. Legally they are obliged to ensure that the wheel is balanced but go further by switching croupiers after so many spins. In the case of studio based systems which are broadcast on television , the viewer has no idea if they are even looking at the same wheel from one minute to the next. If the operator can maintain a fair wheel they at least can be sure that in the long run the odds are stacked in their favour.
An operator of a real wheel can shift the odds even further in their favour by deliberately fixing the wheel so that it has a bias towards one sector. In modern well supervised casinos this is unlikely to happen. In the past though this activity was commonplace and the target of what became known as wheel analysis. Wheel analysis is similar to card counting in blackjack. In both cases, had a casino operator become aware of people employing such tactics, they would be barred.
If a wheel analyst found a fixed wheel, the odds shifted in their favour and they could quite literally wipe the board.
Let's turn now to the roulette table animation played on-line. The game has nothing to do with roulette and the pretty pictures and sounds you hear on your computer are meaningless. A computer is simply running software that generates a random number. The software is rightly called a pseudo random number generator because such programs are notoriously unreliable. In fact if you were prepared to wait for thousands of outcomes you would notice that the sequence repeats itself. For all practical purposes the software does generate a reasonable set of random numbers.
We gurantee though that if you use our software to analyse a real wheel and compare the randomness with that of a computer generated random number you will find that a real roulette wheel is far superior.