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  • What’s in a (casino) game… Wheel of Fortune

    The Wheel of Fortune is a game often derided by casino purists, but it’s a worthwhile addition to any fun casino party – not least because it’s so simple to play and offers the best chance to win big on a single spin.

    The Wheel of Fortune is often referred to as a carnie, or carnival, game. Gamblers steer clear, because unlike games like poker and blackjack, it requires no skill to play. It usually offers the player terrible odds and gives the house a massive edge.

    The set up varies from casino to casino, who may give the game their own exotic name. All follow the same pattern though. Players place their chips on the colour or symbol they think the wheel will land on, and the croupier will spin the wheel. The house pays out on any bets corresponding with the winning segment and all others are losers. The payout table is based on the probability of hitting the winning colour/symbol, with the frequency of that segment dictating the odds given.

    We once paid out at 400 to one!

    As an example, British casino Aspers calls its wheel of fortune game the ‘Super Wheel’. It has 52 segments on the wheel: 24 orange, 12 green, eight blue, four red, two burgundy and one each of black and white. Black and white are the least common, and each pay 50:1 for a win, while orange is the most common and pays out even money. As there are 24 oranges, with a 24-52 chance of a hit, if you played 52 spins probability would mean that you would expect to lose more than half of the time. On those more common colours the casino has a 7.69% house edge, which rises to over 19% for the white and black. By contrast, the house edge is just 2.7% on a single number in roulette (and only 1.35% on an even money bet).

    So in real life casinos the wheel is seen as something of a mugs’ game. It usually stays closed until the peak hours, when the more popular games fill up and the punters get well lubricated. Despite that, it remains an alluring game, not just because of the attractive top payout but because it’s a large, colourful and imposing attraction, which makes a distinctive noise as the flapper brushes between the dividers on the spinning wheel.

    For these same reasons, the wheel (at Red we call it the Super Money Wheel) makes a great attraction that adds authenticity and is super simple for your more casual guests to play. Because we only use play money, we’ve modified the wheel to reduce the house edge and improve the player’s chances of winning big. We’ve added in a bonus segment, which gives a multiplier when landed on. We’ve had the ‘x2’ multiplier hit three times in a row, after which it unbelievably landed on the top 50:1 shot. Just as well it wasn’t real money, as we paid out at 400:1!

    If you’ve got a fun casino tournament going on, with prizes for the winner, the Super Money Wheel represents a high risk/high reward way for guests to build up their chips. It can also be a focal point for a final table play off if you want luck, rather than skill, to prevail. And if you’re hosting a corporate event you can get a bespoke wheel made with your own branding and segments customised with certain spot prizes.

    At Red we offer the Super Money Wheel as a standalone game or as part of our popular Casino Combo package, which also includes a blackjack table, a full-sized roulette table and a closed photo booth, as well as three fully trained, uniformed staff to ensure that your guests can learn and play the games with a smile on their faces.

    If you want to host a five star casino party including a Wheel of Fortune, contact us for a free consultation and no obligation quote.

Author

Paul is the founder and MD of Red. He's an experienced events professional who's passionate about creating great customer service and is fanatical about attention to detail. When he is not running Red, he is equally fanatical about motorcycling and earns a few quid writing about all things with two wheels and an engine.

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