Wheel of Fortune (also known as The Big Six Wheel) is a popular game of chance available at casinos across the world. The wheel itself and the concept might seem simple, but as all things simple it's also incredibly exciting. The game can be enjoyed online, but it's much more impressive up close, with the wheel spinning slowly, making everyone around gasp as the pointer struggles to cross over to the new segment. At any land-based casino you will typically find a big crowd of people in front of a big wheel hoping to get lucky and pocket some cash, but no matter the outcome, Wheel of Fortune guarantees the kind of thrill every gambler's right to seek. Wheel of fortune slots might lack the excitement of being in the crowd, but are very popular with gamblers across the world.
How it works
This unique and engaging game is built around a sizable spinning wheel broken up into equally-sized segments with numbers/symbols showing in each one. To ensure a precise outcome, there is a pin or a spoke between two adjacent segments. This way the pointer will always land on a specific segment without being stuck in the middle, creating confusion and raising questions. Of course, this issue only applies to real-life Wheels of Fortune, as the ones at online casinos are powered by random number generators, with the pointer always landing on a certain number or symbol leaving no room for doubt.
The game used to be known as Wheel of Fortune, but now it can be called lots of things - The Big Six, The Big Six Wheel, as well as Lucky Wheel, Money Wheel and alike. The point is, this game might appear under different names at different casinos you visit (land-based or virtual), but as long as it has the word "wheel" in it, the chances are - that's the good old Wheel of Fortune. The "six" bit in some of the names is reference to the six fixed payout options available to players based on the segment the pointer stops at. There are more segments with some numbers or symbols, but the payouts are also lower. Rare symbols give you much more enticing returns on your bets - but the chances of winning are really slim.
There usually are from 50 to 54 segments on the wheel depending on the variety. A typical Wheel of Fortune displays dollar amounts on the segments - $1, $2, $5, $10 or $20 as well as two special segments - one usually bearing the casino symbol and the other being a joker symbol. Placing a bet comes down to choosing a segment or a few segments to wager on. There are usually twenty-four $1 segments with the payout of 1:1, fifteen $2 dollar segments with the payout of 2:1, seven $5 segments with the payout of 5:1, four $10 segments with the payout of 10:1, two $20 segments with the payout of 20:1 and two custom segments with the payout of 40:1. As you probably noticed, there are quite a few $1 segments that offer 1:1 payout, which means for $10 bet, if successful, you get $20.
Game odds and house edge
If you're looking to have some fun and losing just a few bucks is not going to bankrupt you, the Big Six Wheel is a great way to go about it. The $1 bets give you the winning probability of around 44.5%, with the house average around 11%. The probability declines as the odds increase, down to 1.85% for the custom segments for the player and 24% average house edge. In terms of strategy, that means you are most likely to win if you stick to betting on the $1 segment. The $1 segment gives much higher odds but the lowest payout possible. So, if you're looking to make $1 million playing the Big Six Wheel with the lowest possible risks, you'd better have $500,000 to wager on the $1 segment. As most other games of chance, this one is not played for its high return on minimal investment rather than the exciting probability of making it rain with cash by correctly guessing a rare outcome.
Curious fact: due to the difference in regulations, Wheel of Fortune comes with different odds depending on where you play. When it comes to land-based casinos, it makes more sense to gamble in Atlantic City, for example. The Atlantic City casinos, with increased payouts for custom segments offering 45:1 instead of the 40:1 at Las Vegas casinos, make the steep house edge look much better for you as a player.
Game variations involve different number of segments, using different symbols, numbers and amounts for the segments, as well as offering different odds for the segments available. Money Wheel is the most common Wheel of Fortune variety available in the US, usually featuring symbols of $1, $2, $5, $10 and $20, as well as two custom symbols. Dice Wheel features random combinations of three dice in a vertical row, with players betting on numbers 1 through six and getting paid if the number they guessed shows on one of the three dice in the winning selection (1:1 payout). There are also cases when the number guessed appears on the final selection two or three times - giving you the payout of 2:1 and 3:1 accordingly).
It's easier to understand the payout basics while actually placing your bets. For instance, when you place $5 dollar bet on the $1 segment and the pointer lands on one of the segments with this value, you get a 1:1 payout, getting back the $5 you bet plus the $5 won. You might also choose to make multiple bets. For instance, you may place a $5 bet on the $1 space and another $5 bet on the $20 segment. If the pointer lands on the $1 segment, you get $10, while losing the $5 bet on the $20 space. If the pointer happens to land on the $20 space, you lose the $5 bet on the $1 segment, but get the other bet multiplied by 20 - resulting in a $100 win.
The Big Six strategies
If you're interested in more predictability and are not used to relying on pure luck, you should probably keep in mind that the house edge in this game is among the highest in the industry. And yet people keep winning big time while having tons of fun. Seeing as The Big Six Wheel is a game of chance rather than skill, the most important aspect to consider in terms of strategy is how much you bet and on which segment. Betting on the $1 segment is the safest - but definitely not as exciting as betting on the custom segments.
An interesting idea in terms of strategy( if the word strategy can even be applied to this game) is the concept of the wheel completing a specific number of rotations once spun, which in theory allows you to tell with a certain degree of probability where the pointer is going to land. The problem with that theory is the human factor, as typically the dealer in charge of turning the wheel will do his or her best spinning the wheel at different strength to make the results unpredictable - alternating tuning speed or using a different hand. This strategy would probably play out well in a movie but in real life it simply does not. And when it comes to online casinos, this strategy will not work for an obvious reason: the wheel is "spun" by the random number generator and every outcome is unpredictable.
Wheel of Fortune at online casinos
Wheel of Fortune slots available at pretty much any casino out there are as various in themes and options as they get. The concept of the game is the same, but gaming providers are sure to put a new spin on everything these days. As a result, you get scatter symbola excitingly transforming into mini fortune wheels and generating more combinations, bonus games and so on. All that with stunning sound and visual effects that nearly make you believe you are standing in front of the real thing. In many cases you are the one that gets to stop the wheel - when it comes to online gambling the options are incredibly various.
These days you don't have to book a ticket to Vegas or Atlantic City to enjoy this awesome game - just find a good online casino and see if Lady Luck is on your side tonight!