A NUMBERS GAME
Questions and answers about roulette
By Frank Scoblete
JAGGY ASKS: Have you ever started out your day without any intention of going to a casino? My wife and I had decided to do some house cleaning and some painting of our two decks. Well that all changed when our son, John asked if we were going to the casino as they were giving free beach chairs per person. So we decided to join them at Mt Airy casino.
My wife plays the penny slots and during the day won $1,011. I was at the roulette slot machine not doing well; about $170 down. When the machine goes wild with a trend of seven numbers from the 1st dozen in a row—a really bad streak for me! It was time to leave the machine.
So, I went to see what numbers the tables were producing. The tables were producing the 1st dozen low numbers sequences of three or four numbers at a time which is my signal to make some good winning bets. My first five bets were on the second and third dozens which I won. After five winning bets I was ahead by a few bucks.
This is where it really pays off big dollars by paying attention to past results. This is your game’s secrets and they will produce future winning opportunities for you. I made mental and written notes over my playing years and record them on my computer.
Here is what happened that day: After the fifth winning bet on the low numbers trends, the number 24 wins. The 24 is one of the numbers that frequently repeats. This I remember from the past. So I bet $30. The 24 wins again. I again bet 24 for $50 this time.
The 24 wins again. I bet the 24 again for $50. Lost!! The number 22 won. Remember 11-22-33 will follow each other. I see the 22 so I bet $30 on 11, 33, and 22. The 11 wins. I bet all three again in case they repeat. No repeat. Still, what a wonderful payday of $4,000!
I believe what happens in the past will happen again and I was ready for this one today. It was like having a crystal ball. Frank, it is very important to read the electronic scoreboard for its secrets of the roulette game.
FRANK RESPONDS: I have to disagree with you Jaggy. I know you are an aficionado of roulette and that you do with all your heart believe that numbers repeat in such a way that you can predict what is coming up next or, at the very least, soon enough to make a profit.
Indeed, such a thing will happen plenty of times at games of chance and many people, yourself included, will assume that what you just saw is a law of gambling nature. It isn’t.
Yes, numbers do repeat; sequences repeat, but these are in no way predictable enough to give players such as you long range edges at random games. I am happy you had a great day, maybe one of many, many great days, but these days do not indicate an edge at the random game of roulette.
Every time that wheel spins the odds of a number hitting are 37 to one on an American wheel (a wheel with a 0 and 00) and 36 to one on a European wheel (one 0). The streaks in such games are enormous and volatile. Every roulette player has experiences such streaks for good or ill but no player has been able to predict in an organized way how such streaks will occur. As the math of centuries has shown us, it is not possible. As computer simulations have shown us – it is not possible at all.
But I do hope you keep winning. Even though I am right in this, I hope you keep winning and prove to yourself that I am wrong.
TED ASKS: I think you make a major mistake when it comes to roulette. The house edge on the American wheel is 5.26 percent and it stays at 5.26 percent no matter what bets you make (except the multiple monster of 1, 2, 3, 0 and 00), be they inside bets which are directly on a number, or outside bets on even-money propositions such as red/black, odd/even or high/low.
So why do you insist that inside bets are not as good as outside even-money bets? That is a serious mistake in your reasoning.
FRANK RESPONDS: You are right about the percentages of roulette. I never deny that. Inside bets will not be better than outside bets except in the case where even-money bets return half when a 0 or 00 hits. That gift from the casino is called surrender but most casinos to not offer that option to players.
My reasoning for preferring outside even-money bets has to do with the basic pattern of the game. If you are making outside even-money bets, the back and forth can be relatively tight. You win 18 bets; lose 20 bets. When you bet the inside numbers the losing streaks can be long, even though a hit or two brings in a lot of money.
I prefer to play a game where I have a better chance of lasting than one where I need a hit to overcome a losing streak. Yes, it is true, that if you hit a few numbers early, you can make a lot of money but the long losing streaks dominate the inside game.
In the end though, the house will take its 5.26 percent edge on you no matter which betting option you choose.
[Read Frank Scoblete’s books I Am a Card Counter: Inside the World of Advantage-Play Blackjack, I Am a Dice Controller: Inside the World of Advantage-Play Craps and Confessions of a Wayward Catholic! All available from Amazon.com, on Kindle and electronic media, at Barnes and Noble, and at bookstores. Visit Frank’s web site at www.frankscoblete.com]