Stealer's Wheel! How we stumbled upon a dark secret from the prohibition years...
A vintage roulette table with a big secret!
When we began work on the restoration of this late 1920’s roulette table last year no one could have guessed that it would lead to one of the most remarkable discoveries in the Games Room Company’s long history.
Made from American walnut, the table has undergone a sensitive and thorough refurbishment at our workshop, but it was only when our restorers dismantled the wheel assembly that they learned of its hidden secret in the form of ‘cheat’ feature designed to allow the croupier to improve the odds in favour of the house. The mob controlled most of the gaming activities during prohibition era Chicago and with the use of one of the four discreet buttons concealed around the edge of the table they were able to influence the run of play, as explained in more detail by Alexander Walder-Smith in the videos below.
The two large batteries we found housed in one of the table legs effectively powered a mechanism which, when activated by the controller, forced a tiny pin out into the path of the ball as it travelled around the outside of the wheel. The intervention was so sudden and so brief that the naked eye couldn’t possibly have detected it, and so we must assume that many a punter left the table shaking his head and cursing his bad luck, completely unaware that the mob’s rigged table had ensured that he never stood a chance!
In addition to the photos below, there are two videos at the bottom of the page. The first of these talks about the table's provenance and exterior restoration whereas the second goes into a lot more detail about the cheat mechanism and how this was operated by the croupier.