Every casino under the sun has a Big Six wheel on the floor, typically right near the main entrance where almost every guest will see it. But despite its ubiquity, the Big Six wheel—also known as the “Money Wheel,” “Wheel of Fortune,” or the “Big Wheel”—isn’t exactly known for its popularity.
Simply put, most casino gamblers wouldn’t be caught dead playing what is essentially a carnival game designed for kids. Nonetheless, managers aren’t fond of wasting precious floor space, so somebody must be playing the Big Six. And casinos consider those customers to be goldmines.
It’s a Pure Game of Chance Which Allows for No Skill or Strategy
Before going any further, let’s run through a quick tutorial on how to play the Big Six wheel.
This game is exactly what it sounds like, a big, brightly-lit wheel showing six distinct betting options—the $1, the $2, the $5, the $10, the $20, and the $50, which usually shows the venue’s logos. The wheel itself features 54 total spaces, and these are broken down as follows:
- $1 – 24 spaces
- $2 – 15 spaces
- $5 – 7 spaces
- $10 – 4 spaces
- $20 – 2 spaces
- $50 (Logo #1) – 1 space
- $50 (Logo #2) – 1 space
As the player, you’re free to bet on any of these wager types, multiples, or even every option at once before the next spin. If your chosen bet winds up clicking into place under the red arrow after the wheel is spun, you’ll be paid back based on the applicable payout odds.
And there you have it, you’ve just learned how to play the Big Six wheel. Easy, huh? And it better be, because just like roulette, this wheel-spinning affair is a pure game of chance.
That means players have no opportunity to exercise skill or strategy whatsoever, and they can’t influence the outcome in any way.
Casinos absolutely love games of chance like the Big Six wheel, what with skill-based options like blackjack and video poker only a short walk away.
The House Edge Rates Rank Among the Worst of Any Casino Game Ever Invented
If you like spinning wheels while you gamble, I suggest taking up roulette and learning about the game’s intricate array of betting options. Red or black, odd or even, column bets that break the wheel into thirds, and even the classic single-number bet are all on the board.
However, on a traditional European Roulette wheel showing just one green “0” space, the house edge against you stands firm at 2.70% across the board. And when you play the more common American double-zero (“0” and “00”) wheel, your house edge will always be 5.26%.
That latter figure is rather high within the realm of table games, which makes sense because roulette is a skill-free offering. And so is the Big Six wheel.
But wait until you see the game’s absurdly high house edge rates. With 24 of the wheel’s 54 spaces to work with, the $1 bet will win a whopping 44.44% (24/54 = 0.44) of the time.
In terms of house edge though, you’ll be up against an enormous 11.11% disadvantage. That’s more than twice the edge found on Double-Zero Roulette, a game which is already widely regarded as a “sucker” bet.
The $2 option will win on 27.78% of spins, but the house edge climbs even higher to 22.22%. That’s verging into keno territory in terms of just how atrocious your odds are. The $10 bet is slightly “better” with a 7.41% win rate and a house edge of 18.52%.
That $20 option slides back up to 22.22% house edge, and with a scant 3.70% probability of winning.
And as for those seemingly juicy “logo” bets that pay out at 50 to 1, a win rate of 1.85% with a house edge of 24.07% makes it one of the worst casino gambles ever devised for the player.
And casinos love this stuff, just like they love Big Six wheel regulars.
Low Maximum Payouts Ensure the House Can’t Be Hurt by a Lucky Run
Let’s say you do manage to beat those terrible odds to score the game’s largest win—a $50 “logo” space. Well, congratulations first and foremost, but don’t start spending your long-awaited fortune just yet.
According to the latest Big Six survey conducted by the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB), “Sin City” is home to 26 wheels found in 16 different casinos. And on the vast majority of these wheels, the maximum allowable bet comes to a paltry $100.
Thus, even when you strike lightning and hit a $50 “logo” space, you can only take home a jackpot of $5,000.
If you’re going to gamble against ridiculously bad odds, why not ditch the capped payouts on Big Six for a slot machine like Megabucks?
The Fast Pace Means Players Will Be Punting Bets Twice a Minute
If you’ve ever watched The Price Is Right, you know it doesn’t take all that long for a giant wheel to stop spinning.
On the Big Six version, the span between placing bets and watching the last space locked in runs approximately 30 seconds. That means you’ll be betting at a pace of twice per minute, or 120 spins per hour.
Conversely, roulette players only have to face 38 spins per hour when facing that game’s poor odds.
It shouldn’t take a genius to realize that betting faster in a bad game benefits the casino by putting more money on the table. And when that money is being bet on house edge rates that start at an obscene 11.11%, the house has players right where it wants them.
Bad Gamblers Always Seem to Think They’ve Discovered a “Surefire” Way to Win
While watching a relatively uninteresting video on Big Six gameplay, I stumbled upon a comment that took my breath away.
The person, who shall mercifully remain nameless here, may have been trolling, but I don’t think so. Just get a load of this guy’s “foolproof” strategy for “beating” Big Six:
“I’ve made so much money on this game. I would bet the 50/50’s with at least $4 or $5, I would bet the 25, the 12, and the 6 at least $1. And then I’d put a couple bucks as insurance on the (other bets).
The real key to my strategy was waiting, I would wait to see if the board showed that there was no 50s on the entire board and then I would start betting because I know the 50s are going to come and I only need to hit the 50 or the 25 to really clean up consistently.”
When this player refers to “the board,” he’s talking about the display showing results from previous spins. Roulette wheels and baccarat tables have these boards too, and they’re all designed to prey on a phenomenon known as “the gambler’s fallacy.”
Simply put, this player believes that $50 spaces are more due to hit when they haven’t hit for long stretches of time. So, he plays patiently, waits for a long $50-less streak, then pounces by betting big when the $50 is “sure” to come.
Naturally, this is all nonsense. The odds of that $50 space hitting remain fixed on each and every spin at 1 in 54 (or 1.85 percent of the time).
When rebuffed by fellow commenters, the Big Six “strategist” doubled down on his malarkey:
“It hits far more frequently than roulette. Imagine you put $2 on the number three on a roulette table, you’re only getting 35 to one odds on that hit and that could take a million spins mathematically.
This machine will give you that 50 hit for sure and it’s 50 to 1 so you’re getting even more money.”
Well then, where to begin…
First, single number winners in roulette can’t take “a million spins” to arrive. It might be a while before they do, but that’s just random variance, as the probability of a single number hitting stays static at 1 in 38 (or 2.63% of the time).
And as you can see, $50 spaces on Big Six don’t hit “far more frequently” than roulette; in fact, they hit far less often.
If You’re Willing to Risk Money on Big Six, You’re the Casino’s Ideal Customer
Just imagine a casino manager reading those comments, then licking their chops as the player in question sits down to play Big Six.
They’re the wolves, and players like that are the sheep waiting to be slaughtered. Don’t be a sheep, and steer clear of the dreaded Big Six wheel whenever you see it being played.
Our Final Words
So-called “carnival” games serve a useful purpose on the casino floor, giving casual gamblers who don’t know how to play the skill games something to do. The Big Six wheel also greets guests at the door to give them a quick and easy gamble after a long trip.
But for any player who takes their craft seriously, playing Big Six is essentially a sin against the gambling gods. When many scratch-off lottery tickets offer better odds and higher payouts, there’s just no good reason to waste your time spinning on the old Big Six.