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Physics of Roulette

  1. Aug 23, 2011 #1
    Hi guys I have a question.
    What are the physics involved in roulette?

    I know you have these:
    -Spin or momentum of the roulette table
    -Friction on the ball from the table
    -wind resistance on the ball
    -momentum of the ball
    -And the bounce when the ball finally drops and hits a few groves

    Anything I've missed?

    I've placed this in number theory because I was also curious how the maths works.
    I've been watching some online roulette and keep seeing certain numbers pop up, it looks like more than chance. Is it possible that the ball lands in some places more than others because the guy applying the momentum to the ball is consistent? Kinda like throwing pennies into a cup, if you do it long enough you become consistent due to muscle memory.

    What do you guys think?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 23, 2011 #2
    This is where you want to start your research.


    Some physicists in the 70's figured out how to make a wearable roulette computer. You'd watch a roulette wheel for a while and input the results; and it would figure out the wheel's bias and tell you how to bet.

    Fascinating story. It worked but of course they had some problems ... wearable electronics weren't exactly easy in the 70's, they had to invent everything they used. One team member was burned when a unit shorted out.
  4. Aug 23, 2011 #3
    Thanks, I think I've heard of the story. I know some guys did it recently with lasers, if you have a fixed point on the table and the ball breaks the laser you can work out its velocity, you then have to take into consideration wind resistance and the bounce.
    But as you say each table has a bias, do you think its based on the guy spinning the ball or the actual mechanics of the table that produce the bias?
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