Charting the Wheel is an extremely old betting strategy when playing roulette. It was common in live casinos in the 19th century, when roulette wheels were less precise than their modern counterparts, but it is still a betting strategy that roulette players employ to this day, both in live casinos and in online casinos. However, while this may have been a successful strategy back in the days of hand-crafted wheels and no online roulette, Charting the Wheel is now a strategy that is more a waste of time than anything else.
Charting the Wheel involves trying to find any bias that a roulette wheel may have, or a bias the croupier might have developed when releasing the ball, or even less likely, any glitch on the software that the online casino is using to generate the spins on their roulette tables.
To use the Charting the Wheel strategy when playing roulette, you have to keep track of past spins. To get an accurate sample, you will need somewhere around 1000 spins to get a decent result for your research. Most casinos (both online and live) will give you the results from a certain amount of previous spins. This is usually around 10-20 spins, which is nowhere near enough to record any real bias or, of course, a lack of bias. Using such a small set of data would skew the results, and I’m sure most people reading this have seen one number come out a few times in the space of a small amount of spins – this does NOT mean it has a bias. If a certain number or area of numbers came out over the course of 1000+ spins, you could then claim that there is some kind of bias at work. You would then bet on that section of the wheel – Voisins du Zero, Orphelins, Tiers du Cylindre.
So we can see that Charting the Wheel can be a laborious process. Recording 1000+ spins of a roulette wheel is going to take quite some time, and then you have to analyze the results to find any kind of bias from the wheel or the croupier. And the chances are, in a modern casino or online casino, you are not going to find a bias. Modern roulette wheels are made to such an exacting standard that there is very little chance of there being a bias.
Also, croupiers are trained to such a high standard in modern casinos that any bias from them is negligible, and even if it did exist, casinos can spot these things before the player can, and the croupier will be switched out and replaced with a new one, rendering all the hard work you may have undertaken essentially pointless. As for online casinos’ software having some kind of glitch in it that made their algorithms biased – do you really think that’s going to happen? If you are willing to spend that much time correlating that information on something so improbable, you need to find a better way to spend your time, because these algorithms are carefully monitored and crafted by people well aware that their work cannot have any flaws in it. So, do yourself a favor and do not invest any time in trying to implement the Charting the Wheel strategy the next time you decide you want to play roulette. There is no fun to be had by using it, and there is definitely no edge you can gain over the casino by using it.
That being said, back when wheels were hand-crafted and less precise, Charting the Wheel was a way that roulette could be exploited. In fact, there are historical accounts of casinos being hit hard because of a biased wheel. Joseph Jagger, of whom the song ‘The Man Who Broke The Bank At Monte Carlo’ is perhaps the most famous proponent of the Charting the Wheel system. He employed six people to chart the results of various wheels Beaux-Arts Casino in Monte Carlo, finding one wheel that had a significant bias towards 9 numbers of the wheel. Jagger ended up winning 60,000 over three days before the casino caught on to Jagger’s actions. He eventually counteracted the casino’s measures, before they put an end to it, but not before Jagger racked up 65,000 profit from the casino.
There is one other notable instance of a biased wheel in the 1980s. A team of American bettors hit up British casinos and found a bias in their wheels, which resulted in some significant wins for the Americans. The biased wheels were eventually replaced, which also served as a wake-up call for the roulette industry, but not before an Atlantic City casino was stung in 1986. Casinos then moved to a different wheel as standard, which greatly reduced the possibilities of wheel bias.
More sophisticated bettors have attempted to use concealed computers on their person to look for bias on wheels efficiently as possible, but casinos have become wise to this and as soon as anything untoward is suspected, players will be asked to leave before they can do any real damage to the casino.
So now casinos attempt to take preventative measures by constantly observing their roulette wheels, looking for patterns and recalibrating them on a regular basis to ensure that no bias ever appears on their table.