The pockets of the Roulette wheel are an essential part of the game. They act as the perfect place for the ball to stop and signify the winning number and colour. The pockets are located in the “ball track” of the wheel, where the Roulette ball “runs” before landing on a number.
The Roulette wheel was originally designed to make it as easy as possible to view the Roulette numbers as it spins around and the ball travels around the outer track. The numbers are always angled behind each pocket so that the player will still be able to view them when peering down onto the wheel.
Most Roulette wheels will have frets of the same size at both ends of each pocket, which can make it a little easier for players to estimate where the ball will land once the wheel stops spinning.
There is a wide number of Roulette wheel manufacturers, hence why there are so many routes and formats in which the game can be played and, with this, there is also a diversity in the way the pockets are constructed. In American Roulette,there are 38 pockets which range from numbers one to 36, including two additional green pockets which represent zero and double zero. Due to the addition of these pockets, American Roulette is often referred to as “double-zero Roulette”. European and French roulette tables only include 37 pockets, operating with only one singular zero. The one green zero, along with slightly less numbers (ranging from one to 36), means the house edge is reduced for players.
Recently, a lot of casinos have been having their Roulette wheels formed with shallow pocket pads, leading to a wider ball scatter across the board. The majority of Roulette wheels are made with even frets that have the same height at both ends, which helps regulate the predictability of the ball’s resting place. However, some places have wheels where the fret drops towards the centre which makes it easier for the ball to jump ship when it is released, jumping from the narrow gap to the next number.
What’s even more common is small, even frets that aid casinos in building suspense during their games, as the ball is now able to jump easily – bouncing between pockets before it finally chooses a resting place. Overall, the higher the fret, the less chance of the balls skipping across pockets.
Some Roulette wheels forego the standard curved frets in favour of having curved pockets, even though they have a similar effect on the game. However, the main difference between the two curves is that the bouncing of the ball is reduced, although the player still remains just as helpless when it comes to guessing the ball’s destination as the large scatter remains. Curved pockets are becoming increasingly popular amongst brick-and-mortar Casinos; providing much sought after suspense but with a certain level of regulation.
Manufacturers are widely encouraged to find new ways of making the Roulette wheel their own, without altering the game itself, so there is always a lot of room to customise the structure of the pockets.