Just who, or what, exactly, is controlling the ball in a game of roulette? Is it purely luck, or is it something else? Can the dealer control where the ball goes in roulette? Is this accomplished through some sort of an industry secret that is kept on the hush-hush? It’s easy to let the mind wander…

  • Maybe there is a button under the table that dealers press to tilt the wheel slightly when roulette players are on a streak?
  • Maybe there is a small magnet in the wheel that can be activated by pit bosses to pull the ball to specific areas of the wheel?
  • Maybe the best dealers are hired because of their ability to control where the ball goes in roulette purely through some sort of unintentional psychic powers?

The reality is that the dealer cannot control where the ball will land in roulette. Sometimes, though, it certainly seems that way.

That said, what about predicting where it will land? Would croupiers (roulette table operators) make the ultimate players due to their experience watching the ball for so long?

Can the Dealer tell Where the Ball will Land in Roulette?

OK, so the dealer cannot control where the ball is going to land, but what about the question of whether or not some dealers can (develop the skill to) tell where the ball is ultimately going to land just by watching it? As opposed to roulette ball telekinesis, precognition of the sort described in the paragraph above is theoretically possible.

Why not?

This ability is called ‘visual wheel tracking’ amongst most gamblers, and is well-documented amongst gamblers. Some believe there is a legitimacy to this idea, whereas others believe it to be a combination of wishful thinking and displaced confidence.

But what does the science say?

The Science Behind the Roulette Wheel

A recent Discovery article has revealed that the motions of the roulette wheel are actually fairly predictable, and figuring out the equation that dictates where the ball is going to land is more than possible if you have the aid of a computer. Not just one, but two different algorithms have been produced to this effect, looking at the air resistance and friction of the ball and the wheel.

Scientists claim to be able to predict the outcome of a roulette wheel provided they can achieve certain constants like the strength of the dealer’s spin, the way the ball is thrown, etc. However, most of the best techniques would be risky in practice as they require a smartphone or some sort of a recording device, and these are typically banned from table games at casinos.

With all this help, roulette still earns substantial profits for casinos each year. For every benefit conferred to gamblers, casinos have different tricks they can use in order to disrupt the winnings of anyone who tries to exploit the system, and these mostly include switching up aforementioned things that threaten to be too consant—ie. the strength of the dealer’s spin, how they throw the ball, etc.

Thankfully, here at the Silver Oak Casino, we encourage visual wheel tracking. Go ahead! We like to see our players with every conceivable advantage to help them win. If you want to try and track a digital ball, we won’t stop you!


Simon is an overactive gambler and the Staff Writer here at Silver Oak. He loves casino bonuses, online slots, and using the em dash too often. Currently, he rests his typing hands in Vancouver, Canada.