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Best of Alan Krigman
Should You Be Watching for New Wrinkles in Roulette?1 March 2006
Of course, some people think otherwise. Perhaps they consider roulette too slow. Or maybe they relish the thrill of a ticket to Easy Street being ever so close, with the mere 35-to-1 payoff for a "straight-up" hit far too low to qualify. And there are folks who like to play hands-on, not just watch dealers do it all.
Factors like these have kept inventors dreaming up new variations on roulette.
They hope to preserve the élan of the game, while increasing its appeal
to a broader base of solid citizens. And, naturally, want casinos to buy their
brainchildren for big bucks.
Ways to add progressive jackpots to the standard game, using chip sensors and computers, are disclosed separately in Patents 5,743,798 and 6,059,659. These proposals differ in detail, but share the notion of side bets that a specified number will win on successive spins. The chance of triumph in a double-zero game is one out of 54,872 for three in a row and one out of 2,085,136 for four running. For reference, the probability of a progressive with a royal at Caribbean Stud is one out of 649,740.
Another type of progressive play is covered by Patent number 6,776,714. Here, the jackpot hinges on three consecutive winning spins forming a tic-tac-toe line or "V" on any three-by-three square of the layout. In this, as opposed to the previous two progressive implementations, new side bets are needed on each spin to move up the ladder of success.
An entirely different variant of roulette received Patent 6,520,503. The wheel has 36 pockets corresponding to the rolls of a pair of dice. That is, one pocket numbered "2," two numbered "3," six numbered "7," and so forth. The layout has provision for conventional one-roll roulette type bets, although with numbers only up to 12, and also for all the standard craps wagers.
If none of these novelties turns you on, consider Patent number 6,302,395. Among the alternate modes of play is a game using a roulette wheel operated by the dealer, a deck of cards from which the dealer draws one, and a pair of dice with faces having spot patterns and distinct colors thrown by the players. Bets are on the sums of what each of the three elements shows, as well as on color effects. The number bets include specific values and groups analogous to the rows, columns, outside, and other combinations in conventional roulette. An interesting feature is a set of "triple," "quadruple," and "quintuple" boxes. These take two, three, and four chips and multiply any payouts by three, four, and five, respectively.
Will any of these innovations appear soon at your favorite casino? The answer hinges on whether the bosses think you'd be more apt to play roulette, or to stretch your sessions, were they available. And, in such a case, whether this would be in addition to or instead of the games you already know and love. Lacking practical means to poll you personally, they could do worse than look for guidance to the insightful inkster, Sumner A Ingmark:
Add enough complexity,
And gamblers to the exit flee.
Best of Alan Krigman