The Big Six Wheel should be a familiar sight to most casino patrons. It’s that huge, vertical wheel that is the colorful, well-lit centerpiece of the casino floor. It’s also known as Wheel of Fortune and, simply, Big Six, and variants of it are easily found in carnivals, charity drives and on game shows like, of course, Wheel of Fortune.
While the kind of wheels on Wheel of Fortune and various charity events are pretty straightforward – a bunch of prizes are placed in each segment of the wheel and whatever the pointer lands on after it is spun is the prize that is won – Big Six Wheel, the game, is slightly more complicated than that.
Here, then, is a very simple guide to playing Big Six and some simple tips if you’ve never played it before.
A Breakdown of the Wheel
Before you place a single bet, it’s worth understanding the set up of the wheel and the winnings on offer.
The Big Six wheel consists of 54 equal segments in which each of these segments is a single number (1, 2, 5, 10, 20) or a joker/ wild/ logo. Each of the 5 numbers represent the amount of times your initial bet is multiplied if the pointer ends on your number (more on that in a bit).
This is because each of these numbers occur with decreasing frequency as you go along. Here’s how they break down:
- 1 occurs 24 times
- 2 occurs 15 times
- 5 occurs 7 times
- 10 occurs 4 times
- 20 occurs 2 times
- Wild 1 occurs once
- Wild 2 occurs once
Worth mentioning, though, that there are variants of wheel, including those that use symbols or colors rather than numbers and in the case of the Australian version of the game only 52 segments and a higher chance of winning. And then there’s the dice version that is encountered pretty much exclusively at carnivals.
For our purposes, though, we will deal exclusively with the typical Las Vegas setup of the Big Six wheel, which is by far the most common in United States casinos.
How to Play
Once you understand the wheel, the actual gameplay is very, very straightforward.
Here’s how it works, step by step:
- Place a bet on 1, 2, 4, 10, 20 or either one of the wilds/ jokers. The amount you can bet will vary from casino to casino.
- For our purposes, we’ll assume a bet of $5.
- The wheel is spun by the croupier (casino dealer) and sometimes by the player.
- Whatever number the pointer lands on is the amount of times your initial bet is multiplied by.
- So, a $5 on a 1 will earn you $5, whereas a $5 bet on a 20 would net you a very respectable $500. For jokers or wilds, the payout is times 40, so if you bet $5 on a joker, you will get $200!
That’s literally it!
Tips and Strategies
Like most gambling games outside of the likes of blackjack and poker, Big Six is a game of pure, unadulterated chance, so there aren’t any strategies or tips that can be used to win it. There just aren’t.
On the other hand, though, there are a couple of things to keep in mind before spending any money on the game.
First and foremost, the big attraction of Big Six Wheel is that it’s a fun little game that requires no skill but can be exciting in waiting to see where that pointer will end up. It is not the game for you if you’re hoping to make loads of money with minimal effort. The house advantage on the Big Six Wheel is one of the worst on the casino floor so each time you bet, the odds will be significantly against you, especially on the big winning numbers.
With that in mind, the way you figure out how much to bet and on what should come down to how long you want to hang around the Big Six wheel. And, as is always the case with gambling games, set a budget and stick to it. So, if you want to play the game for a while make small bets and stick to betting on the lower numbers, whereas if you have just a few minutes to stick around and want to win big, go for the maximum bet (again, within your budget) and bet on one of the higher numbers.
The ideal middle ground between the two extremes is to make small bets on the higher numbers. That way you will be in the game for at least a while even if you lose every bet, but the wins will be big enough to make you want to stick around.
Other than that, just remember that fun is key. If you’re no longer having fun, get out of there as quickly as your feet can carry you. Nothing good ever comes from “rage gambling”.