Wheel of Fortune
Sometimes called “the money wheel” or “the big 6 wheel,” the wheel of fortune is a game of chance with no skill involved. In the United States, the wheel typically has fifty-four slots, most of them marked with various denominations. Bets are placed on boxes on the table layout that correspond to the slots on the wheel. Usually, the wheel has twenty-four $1 slots, fifteen $2 slots, seven $5 slots, four $10 slots, and two $20 slots. The remaining two slots may have either the casino's logo or a joker.
Some wheels have a slot marked “respin.” When this slot comes up, all bets remain on the table and the next spin determines whether you win or lose your wager.
After all the bets are placed, the dealer spins the wheel and waits for it to stop. A large clapper indicates the winning number or type of bet. The dealer pays all winning bets and collects all losing bets, then calls for new wagers for the next spin.
Australian wheels of fortune have only fifty-two slots, with a slightly different payout structure. Because there are two fewer slots to bet on, and because of the way the other slots are divided among the betting options, the house edge is reduced to under 8 percent.
Payouts may vary slightly from casino to casino. In general, payouts correspond to the amount of money wagered. Bets of $1 pay even money, while $2 bets pay 2:1. Bets of $5 usually pay 5:1, $10 bets pay 10:1, and $20 bets pay 20:1. The logo or joker slot typically pays 40:1 and even 45:1 at some casinos.
The house edge on wheel of fortune games is quite high, with the lowest being 11 percent on the even-money bets. The 2:1 bets carry a house advantage of almost 17 percent, and the edge on the 5:1 bets is more than 22 percent. The house advantage on the joker or logo bet is more than 24 percent.