Wheel of Fortune

Cash Wheel
Cash Wheel Promotion. Photo Courtesy (Nevada Casino History)

There are many different types of gaming wheels seen in casinos. Some are used for promotions, others for everyday wagers, like the Big 6 Wheel. If you haven't seen a Big 6 Wheel, you've missed out, because the dealer will be hard-at-work trying to entice players to a game that has been known to make the list of some of the worst table games.

If you hear a sound like baseball cards flapping in the spokes of a bicycle, that's the Big 6 Wheel, with the huge gaudy wheel spinning and the leather pointer, flapping between the metal spacers between the numbers.

And, the dealer will be talking up the game and trying to get players to the table. It's a tough gig.

The Big Six Wheel is an old carnival game about six feet in diameter. The wheel has 54 slots and each slot has a symbol, which will be the winner if the wheel lands in that slot. There are seven symbols on most wheels: $1, $2, $5, $10, and $20, A Joker and a Casino Logo.

In front of the wheel is a table with places for you to bet on the symbols that are on the wheel. The dollar amounts on the wheel correspond with the pay off you will receive if you pick the winner. You place your chips on the symbol of your choice and can choose more than one if you want. Many players bet on $1 or $2 as well as the big payoff Joker and Casino Logo. After all the bets are made the dealer spins the wheel and when it stops, the winners are paid.

At first glance a pay off of 40 to 1 for the Joker and the Casino Logo seems like a pretty nice pay off for a dollar bet, but the odds are still tough.

The true odds of hitting are 53 to 1. Some casinos do pay 45-1 on these long-shots which lowers the house edge to 14.81 percent for that bet.

The number of times the symbol appears on the wheel and your true odds of hitting in relation to the payoff determine the house edge. The house edge ranges from 11 to 24 percent.

This is shown in the chart below.

While some players love to play the Big 6 Wheel every trip to the casino, you may only see the game by the exit from the casino. Many players will make the last desperate bet on the 40 to 1 shot as they head out the door. If you want to save a few chips for one final shot at a big 40-1 payoff, give it a shot. Just keep in mind that it's a shot-in-the-dark as to what symbol will come up on the last spin! It's not like blackjack where you'll win or lose. You'll have to actually choose the correct symbol.

Also, keep in mind that while you can bet on any money symbol (such as $5) and get paid when any $5 spot comes up, the happy 40-1 payout only happens when you choose the exact symbol. In other words, if you place your wager on the Joker and the Casino Logo comes up, you won't be paid. You have to actually have a wager on the logo or Joker to be paid when it comes up. If you want to guarantee a payoff when the wheel stops on 40-1, then you must bet on both the Joker and the Casino Logo.


House Edge

SymbolPaySpots On WheelHouse Edge %
$11 to 12411.1
$22 to 11516.67
$55 to 1722.22
$1010 to 1418.52
$2020 to 1222.22
Joker40 to 1124.07
Casino Logo40 to 1124.07