Stay informed with the
Recent Articles
Best of John Grochowski

# Roulette Evolution

6 September 2011

Roulette has never been my game of choice. I'll use it as a diversion at low-limit tables when I'm taking a break from my usual mix of blackjack, video poker and perhaps a little craps.

Truth be told, my wife Marcy likes the game a lot more than I do. Give her a low-minimum table and the ability to break chips down to about 25-cent level, and she's in player heaven. In an old Las Vegas casino, we found a table with \$1 minimum bets and chip values as low as a quarter. That meant she could spread her dollar over four different bets, and if she splurged and went to \$2, well, she could cover a good portion of the layout.

I once colored up my chips after a break-even blackjack session, and walked over to the roulette wheel. She had big stacks of chips in front of her.

"I was down to my last few, but then your birthday came up, and I had it on a single number," she said. "Then it came up again!"

That's a fun diversion, but when you get up to \$5 minimums and \$1 chip values, she shies away from the game. So do I.

Still, I'm always on the lookout for something new on casino visits, so I had to take a look when I spotted an International Game Technology Roulette Evolution.

I've played virtual versions of roulette before, but this was my first time at slot giant IGT's take on the game. It was in a bank of six machines, three on either side of a central screen that shows the image of a wheel. Players make their bets by touching the screens on their consoles. When the video wheel spins, a random number generator determines just where the ball drops — right up the alley of an old hand at electronic games like IGT.

The betting minimum was \$3 a spin, but just as in table roulette, you could spread that across several wagers. The setup allowed me to choose between two sets of chip denominations. In the set I chose, you could break wagers into 25-cent, 50-cent and \$1 denominations. The other set includes chip values of \$1, \$2 and \$5.

There are some extras. Across the bottom of the central screen, the last 27 numbers to land are shown. On individual consoles, touch the screen for information and it'll tell you how many times each number has come up in the last 500 spins, or how many times each even-money wager has won in the last 100 spins.

I didn't really take note of which numbers had been hot and which not. With the game's random number generator, every spin of the video wheel is an independent trial. The RNG doesn't take into account previous results in generating its next number. If the last number was 17, the chances are still 1 in 38 that the next number will be 17. If 17 hasn't turned up in the last 27 spins, then the chances of the next number being 17 remain 1 in 38. The odds are the same on every spin.

I did take a peek at the tally on the last 100 even-money outcomes. Red had come up 50 times and black only 45 — the other five were green 0 or 00, losers on both red and black. Same deal on first 18 and second 18 — 45 were first 18 and 50 second 18, so neither side made a profit over 100 spins. The one even money bet that would have made a profit was odd, which had turned up 55 times to 40 for even.

None of that really mattered to me. I was going to an old family standby: betting combinations built around family birthdays and surrounding numbers, just as Marcy had been doing that day I found her with her big stacks of chips.

My main numbers were 7, 27 and 29. Sometimes I bet the single numbers along with all four corners around each. Sometimes I bet the three-number streets that included the key dates.

It was not my day. With those choices, I needed either high or low numbers. Instead, it was a time of middles. The first spin brought a 16. Next was an 18. Then 21, 21, 22, 13 and 20 sent me packing. And naturally enough, my No. 27 came up as I was printing out the ticket with my remaining funds.

Would that dissuade me from playing again? No, it was a realistic representation of roulette, one I'd use again for a little low-cost diversion. For bigger play, well, roulette is just not my game.

Recent Articles
Best of John Grochowski
John Grochowski

John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.