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The Big Wheel

Big wheel games are an old standby at land-based casinos, if not a particularly famous one. They’re among the simplest games on the floor, and often let players participate for less money than games like blackjack or roulette. The house edges might be higher than in most other table games, but you can’t beat how easy it is to play: just plunk some cash down, and if your number comes up, you win.

SkillOnNet’s The Big Wheel is a slightly more complex version of this style of game. You’ll be able to guess what number will be spun next, or play a selection of other bets in order to cover entire sections of the board. There are even some bets that are based on the previous number spun, offering dynamic odds that change every round.

Pick a Number, and Number

Playing the Big Wheel is very simple, though there is an impressive spread of betting options for this type of casino game. At the start, you’ll see a display that is dominated by a large, round wheel, one that contains the numbers 1-30 around the outside of it. Inner circles contain a variety of other betting options, with a picture of a big top at the center.

At the start of each round, you may place as many bets as you want anywhere you like. There are several different options available, ranging from bets that cover half the wheel to single number wagers. There are also two “dynamic” bets near the center of the layout, all of which offer odds based on the previous result. There are higher and lower bets, which pay out if the next result is higher or lower (respectively) than the last spin.

The complete range of bets and payouts are listed below. In this game, payouts are listed “for one,” meaning that your money is considered spent as soon as you put it on the wheel, and is not returned when you win. If you bet $1, and get a return of 2.00 on a winning wager, then you’ll receive $2 – or a profit of just $1, since the initial money is not returned along with your winnings. Keep that in mind as you read the odds chart that follows.

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The Big Wheel

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Bets and Payouts

  • Single Numbers: 28.6
  • Blue (1-14): 2.00
  • Yellow (15-23): 3.00
  • Purple (24-28): 5.00
  • Red (29-30): 12.00
  • 1-10: 2.80
  • 11-20: 2.80
  • 21-30: 2.80
  • Odd: 1.90
  • Even: 1.90
  • Higher/Lower: Varies

Once you’ve made your bets, you’ll be able to hit the spin button and set the wheel in motion. After a few seconds, the ticker will stop on the winning number. All of your winning bets will be paid out, and a new number will be set for the higher/lower wager on the next spin. You’ll once again be able to make new bets, or you can use the “rebet” option to make the same exact plays for the next round.

No Real Strategy, But Know Your Odds

The Big Wheel is not a game of skill by any means: there’s nothing you can do to influence the results, so you’re at the mercy of luck when it comes to each number that is picked. That really limits how much “strategy” there can be in this game. However, there’s still the matter of picking what kind of bets you want to make, as they offer different payouts, and as such, different house edges. Here’s a quick look at the advantage the casino has on each of the wagers you can make:

  • Single Number: 4.67%
  • Blue: 6.67%
  • Yellow: 10%
  • Purple: 16.67%
  • Red: 20%
  • 1-10/11-20/21-30: 6.67%
  • Odd/Even: 5%

As you can see, the numbers vary dramatically depending on which bet you want to make. Some of the “color” bets suffer from the designers’ desire to provide easy to remember, round number payouts, as adding just a fraction more to the payouts could improve the return to player tremendously. The higher/lower odds vary for a similar reason, though they tend to be somewhere in the middle of the road compared to the rest of the bets available.

That said, a couple of the bets here are not so bad. The single number bet, at under a 5% advantage for the casino, is in line with the lower end of popular table games, making it a reasonable play. Odd/Even isn’t bad for such a simple offering, either. If you’re going to play these games, we recommend sticking with these two bets: single number bets if you’re looking for a big payout, or odd/even if you want to play it safe. You should also keep in mind that no matter how much you bet, the maximum payout is supposedly $10,000 – so high rollers may want to limit the risks they take, particularly when taking a single number.

Questionable Design May Lessen Appeal

As we said at the top of this page, The Big Wheel is a mainstay at just about any casino you’ll even visit. That suggests there’s definitely a market for games like this, and SkillOnNet’s version adds a few twist that would seem to make it an appropriate and popular version for an online gambling site to use.

But there are a few issues with the game that are likely to turn a lot of people way. As we discussed already, the house edge is rather high, and many online gamblers love getting the maximum possible return to player – something that will definitely have them looking elsewhere. The number of betting options is still much lower than a similar game like roulette, which makes it less interesting without having any real reason to play this game instead.

We were also a bit concerned with the version of the game that we played. This may well get fixed at some point, but the odds displays were sometimes off in an unusual way. In particular, the overlays for odd/even and single number bets were switched: pick a number, and the payout was listed as 1.9x, while odd/even said they would return 28.6x. That is obviously incorrect, and thankfully, the game had the actual payouts correct (casinos running these games wouldn’t stay in business long if they didn’t). But that lack of attention to detail is certainly concerning whenever you see it at an online casino site.

Overall, then, we have to give The Big Wheel rather low marks. There’s nothing terribly broken or wrong with the game, so if you really enjoy this sort of action, it’s safe to go ahead and play it. But for most gamblers, there are too many superior options available to bother with this uninspiring title.

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