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Wheel of Fortune

The Big Six Wheel

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As a smart player you are looking for casino games that have a small house edge. We all know that some of the table games offer better odds and a lower house edge than others do. By far one of the worst table games is the Wheel of Fortune or Big Six Wheel.

Actually I don't think this game should be considered a table game, as there are no chairs for the players to sit down on. Why? Because no one in their right mind wants to play this game for very long.

The Wheel of Fortune, or Big Six Wheel as it is sometimes called, is an old carnival game and you have about as much chance at winning in the casino as you do on the carnival midway. The wheel is about six feet in diameter. The wheel has 54 slots and each slot has a symbol, which will be the winner if the wheel lands in that slot. There are seven symbols on most wheels: $1, $2, $5, $10, and $20, A "Joker" and a "Casino Logo."

In front of the wheel is a table with places for you to bet on the symbols that are on the wheel. The dollar amounts on the wheel correspond with the pay off you will receive if you have the winner. You place your chips on the symbol of your choice. After all the bets are made the dealer spins the wheel and when it stops the winner is paid according to the chart below.

At first glance a pay off of 40 to 1 for the joker and the casino logo seems like a pretty nice pay off for a dollar bet. After looking at the wheel you see that the odds of hitting it is not too good as there is only one joker and one casino logo on the wheel. The true odds of hitting it is 53 to 1 but the casino is only paying you 40 to 1.

The number of times the symbol appears on the wheel and your true odds of hitting in relation to the payoff determine the house edge. The house edge ranges from 11 to 24 percent. This is shown in the chart below.

In some casinos the joker and the casino logo spots pay 45 to 1 which lowers the house edge to 14.81 percent for that bet. That is still a very large house edge.

You now see why the Wheel is a bad bet and should be avoided. One interesting note is that you often see the Big Six Wheel located by the exit to the casino. Many players will make the last desperate bet on the 40 to 1 shot as the head out the door. Don't fall into this little casino trap.

House Edge

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Symbol Pay Spots On Wheel House Edge %
$1 1 to 1 24 11.1
$2 2 to 1 15 16.67
$5 5 to 1 7 22.22
$10 10 to 1 4 18.52
$20 20 to 1 2 22.22
Joker 40 to 1 1 24.07
Casino Logo 40 to 1 1 24.07