In a previous post, we looked at roulette systems. These are betting strategies where you adjust your bets in the hope of making a profit from a gaming session.
For this post, we’re focusing on airball roulette, a game that isn’t too widely available but is still enjoyed by players at some land-based casinos. We’ll go over how it works and discuss whether you should use betting strategies for it or not. Keep reading to learn more about this roulette variant.
You know how roulette works in land-based casinos. There’s a large wheel with 37 or 38 numbered pockets. A croupier spins it and drops a ball onto it. This ball then comes to a stop in one of the pockets. If the winning number is covered by your bet, you win and get paid.
Airball roulette is a special version that works a bit differently. For starters, it doesn’t have a croupier. Instead of a person spinning the wheel and dropping the ball, everything’s automated.
Computer software starts a new round at regular intervals and spins the wheel. Those sitting at the gaming table can place bets using screens. You usually have 60 or 90 seconds to get your bet placed.
Once ‘No more bets’ has been announced, the betting stage is over. The ball is then launched onto the wheel using a powerful blast of air, hence the name airball roulette. A glass dome prevents people from interfering with the game and the ball from hitting people.
In a standard game of roulette, there’s no telling what pocket the ball will land in. It’s entirely down to luck whether you win or lose. The wheel doesn’t spin at a set speed; the ball doesn’t move around at a set speed either. In other words, each round of roulette is completely random.
With airball roulette, a computer controls both the launch of the ball and how fast the wheel spins. This is believed to reduce the randomness somewhat. In fact, a patent for this type of roulette reveals that outcomes can be pre-determined.
If you scroll down to page 4 of this patent, you’ll see the following text:
‘A random outcome generator (e.g., random number generator) provides a roulette spin outcome, the ball drops into a moving pocket and the pocket with the ball in it is rotated into alignment with the number in the set of alphanumerics so that it appears that random movement of the rotating support alone created the random ball drop outcome.’
What this essentially means is that airball roulette isn’t random like standard versions of the game. The outcome can be determined by the computer system before the ball stops.
When you play airball roulette, it’s perfectly reasonable to assume its outcomes are random. Despite there being no croupier and despite the game being automated, you would think there’s still a true element of luck to it. However, the patent shows that this isn’t necessarily the case.
It appears that not all airball roulette machines use random number generators. For some of them, the outcomes are purely determined by chance with no computer interference whatsoever. They still work in the same way - the ball is launched by air etc. - but the final outcome is random.
If a gaming machine uses a random number generator (or RNG), it’s classed as an EGM, or electronic gaming device. Air ball roulette is usually given this classification.
Slot and video poker machines are categorised in the same way. This is because they use computer software to determine the result of each spin/turn. With slots, for example,
If you happen to come across an airball roulette gaming machine in a casino, think carefully about whether you’ll spend money playing it. Some players, knowing an RNG is behind the outcomes, might be put off. They may prefer playing roulette when each result is down to chance and nothing else.
Does it really matter though? Are you going to have a worse gaming experience if a roulette game uses an RNG?
Yes and no.
Let’s say you play airball roulette and the wheel is European (it has 37 pockets). You place a bet on number 7. You therefore have a 1/37 chance of winning. Whether the game’s outcomes are computer-controlled or not, you technically have the same chance of scoring a win. If a software program’s controlling the outcome, the chance of it picking number 7 is still 1/37.
For one-off games, the fact that there’s an RNG shouldn’t matter too much. However, it can have a noticeable effect if you’re playing lots of roulette games back to back.
Why is this the case? The software used in EMGs doesn’t just come up with random outcomes; it can determine specific ones as well. If a particular betting pattern is detected, the outcomes can be tailored to prevent players from winning repeatedly.
For example, let’s say you bet on numbers 1-18. Slightly fewer than half of the wheel’s pockets. Keep placing this bet over and over again, and the RNG may adjust the outcome so it’s not one of the numbers covered by your bet. You may notice the numbers 19-36 and 0 winning slightly more often than they should. In other words, the game is capable of being a step ahead of you; it has the upper hand.
We’ll end this post by talking about roulette betting strategies such as the Martingale and Oscar’s grind systems. Many people use these for both land-based and online roulette games. They believe that using such strategies boosts their chances of making money over long-term play.
Betting strategies can help you boost your balance. However, they can’t help you ‘beat’ roulette - or any casino game for that matter. This is because each game has an RTP that, no matter what, is always in effect.
RTP is a figure expressed as a percentage. It represents how much of your bet you should be paid back over many turns. Most online slots have RTPs of around 96%, for example.
Of course, you won’t get exactly 96% of your money back on every spin; most spins you’ll lose and only a few will bring in wins. The more you play, the closer your average payout per spin should get to the slot’s RTP.
Going back to roulette, let’s say you use a betting strategy for a short gaming session. You manage to earn some wins and make a small profit. You’ve been lucky. However, not every session will be as rewarding. Sometimes you’ll lose; no strategy can guarantee a win, after all.
So while it’s possible to be in profit thanks to using a betting system, eventually the game’s RTP will catch up to you. The more you play, the more losses you’ll get - you’ll eventually end up with an overall loss.
What about airball roulette? Like other versions of the game, betting strategies won’t work over long-term play. They’re not recommended for this particular variant because of the possible use of RNGs. There’s no real point in using a strategy when there’s a program that can detect this and reduce your chances of winning.
Airball roulette isn’t like normal real-life roulette games because it can use an RNG. This determines the outcome of each round, instead of having the result decided by luck.
Betting strategies won’t work, no matter what type of roulette you’re playing. They can help you bring in a few wins, but sooner or later you’ll end up with an overall loss.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t avoid playing airball roulette. By all means give it a go if you come across it in a land-based casino. Just remember that outcomes may not necessarily be down to luck.
05/09/2020 - 6:38 AM
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