Although 95%-99% of the roulette systems that are being marketed to players are scams, there are legitimate (albeit difficult) ways to beat roulette.
This is where a physical imperfection on the wheel can lead certain numbers to appear more than others. Although finding the reason for the bias may be virtually impossible, that doesn't mean that the bias cannot be manipulated for profit.
A bias may be temporary, like a wax buildup on the wheel. Or the bias may be permanent, as a result of a structural defect due to a manufacturing error or wear and tear. Examples of a permanent bias are: a rotary bias (where the bias is caused by the components that create the wheel's spinning capabilities), imperfections of the cone's panels (due to warping or cracking), or small scratches and grooves that develop over time.
In 2004, in the UK, two men and a woman used a laser scanner hidden in a cell phone that was linked to a computer to help beat a roulette wheel. They won £100,000 on the first night and £1.2 million on the second night. During a routine check on the security tapes, which is common whenever a player wins big, the casino noticed what was happening.
The strategy that the group used is called "sector targeting". This is where players can increase their odds of winning if they calculate the speed of the ball. They do this by measuring the amount of time that the ball takes to pass through the same point twice. The player can note the time at which the ball is released as well as the time at which it passes after a spin or two. This information is used to calculate the ballís velocity and "decaying orbit". Then this information is fed into a computer, which calculates the sector of the wheel that the ball will likely come to rest. Although this system cannot predict the exact pocket the ball will fall into, it can estimate the sector of the wheel with decent accuracy. It has been shown that if you bet on just one number, you could win about once every 10-15 spins.
The mathematics involves just two equations (one for the ball and one for the wheel) and only a few parameters, including: the mass of the ball, the size of the ball, the shape and roughness of the track, and the tilt of the wheel. It wasn't said whether the cell phone solved the equations or if the information was sent to a computer and then the answer was relayed back.
The interesting twist to the story though, is that the group ended up keeping the money because the laws at the time only banned "unlawful devices" that interfered with the game. Ironically, the casino that was beaten had publicly encouraged "system players". The British gambling laws are currently being rewritten to bring them up to speed with today's gambling environment.
A second example of high-tech sector targeting is Laszlo Kovacs. He is a Hungarian gambler who was arrested in Australia when the authorities discovered that he was using a computer in his shoe that was connected wirelessly to an earpiece in order to cheat at roulette. He was able to tap his foot under the table to record the speed of the wheel and used that data to calculate the outcome and win about $200,000.
It should be noted that sector targeting may or may not be illegal (and therefore considered cheating) depending on the gambling laws of particular countries. If it is against the law, then this method would be considered cheating.
A Visual Ballistics system attempts sector targeting but without the use of a device. This means that the calculations are done in your head. This system has shown to have very poor results and some say that it isn't even possible at all.
Because the croupier is the one who controls the wheel and ball, their motions will have a strong influence on where the ball lands. After years of spinning the wheel and releasing the ball, dealers tend to develop "muscle memory", or a consistent motion that they unconsciously follow. This consistent motion is what's called a "dealer signature", and it means that the settling of the balls that they deal will show a pattern. An observant player can use the croupier's patterns to his advantage. "Ball control" is simply the conscious version of a dealer signature - where the person dealing has the conscious ability to settle the ball in a
Dealer signature is a difficult way to beat the game. It is a much better theoretical model than practical model for many reasons. First, you would need to monitor many rounds of play. Second, you would have to note the results of these rounds without actually playing because you can't waste money during the learning phase. A possible work around to this problem would be if you only bet $1 during the learning rounds and then bumped it up to $25 during the rounds where you were playing a system. Third, you would need the same dealer (if you were basing it the signature off a particular dealer). Forth, this system is particularly susceptible to confirmation bias. That is, players are likely to see advantages that aren't really there.
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