The Big Six Wheel is a familiar sight in most casinos. Known also as Wheel of Fortune, The Big Wheel or, most simply, Big Six, it is a game of pure chance that gets its name from the large vertical wheel that is spun to determine the winning numbers. It’s not, perhaps, as popular as a game like roulette, which it is obviously quite comparable to, but it has been a popular gambling option for years. Worth noting, though, that like most games of chance, the odds are stacked firmly against the player.
Here’s how the game breaks down.
Basic Composition of a Big Six Wheel Game
There are several popular variants available of the Big Six wheel. Dice wheels, for example, are more common at carnivals than in casinos. For our purpose, though, we will look at classic Big Six wheels, though all variants basically work the same.
Each Big Six wheel is a large, vertical wheel that is divided into, usually, 54 equal segments, with each segment separated by spokes or pins. Within each of these segments is one of six numbers/ dollar values (usually 1, 2, 5, 10, 20) or one of two wilds.
Mounted just above the wheel is a pointer, usually made of rubber or leather. These wheels are often displayed prominently and tend to be both colorful and very well lit. As a game with one of the worst house advantages in a casino, casinos need to draw people to the game and its famous wheel is a huge part of the draw.
How to Play
The betting in a game of Big Six is really very straightforward. Bettors place their wagers on any of the five numbers and two wilds – in most American casinos, they’re allowed to place between $1 and $100 on any individual number or wild and up to $500 on various numbers and wilds per spin.
Once bets are placed, the croupier spins the wheel and the pointer immediately produces friction to slow down and eventually stop the wheel. Whichever value the pointer lands on when the wheel has come to a complete stop is the winning number. Lower numbers are most common and have smaller payouts, larger numbers are less common and have bigger payouts and there being only one of each wild, they have by far the biggest payouts.
Here’s how the payouts break down in most casinos:
|Segment Value||Payout Rate||Chance of Landing on It|
A Note on Payouts and House Advantages
To finish off, a few points to keep in mind about these payouts and what they mean for the house advantage.
First, remember to understand the payout rates, the number on the left is the amount you multiply your bet by. So, if you place a bet of $50 on a 10, you would win $500 back; $2 on Wild 1, you get $80 back. Betting on 1 only ever gets you back exactly what you bet.
The house advantage of the above wheel is 19.84%, which is, by far, one of the worst house advantages of any game on the casino floor. Think about it: if there’s only 1 of each wild on the wheel, so each wild is, theoretically 54:1 odds, but if you land on it, you only get a 40:1 payout.
Big Six is one of the most purely entertaining casino games, but if you’re looking for something with the highest chance to win big, it’s really not the game for you.