By watching a roulette dealer’s style, can you predict where the ball will land?
by Frank Scoblete
If dealer signatures truly exist, can they be exploited in short-term play? Is it possible for you to use this to your advantage?
Casino dealers often fall into their own natural rhythm when they deal. This holds true not only with card games, but with other contests such as roulette. They tend to pick up the ball and spin it the same way every time—and maybe give the ball the same extra bit of “oomph.” The ball will tend to spin around the roulette wheel the same number of times as it did on previous spins. Therefore, it should land approximately the same number of pockets from where the dealer picked up the ball.
If the dealer can actually achieve what I just described, it’s a dealer signature—the dealer’s own particular fingerprint on the game. Obviously no two dealers would be alike in how they do this, and thus no two fingerprints would be the same.
Is this really possible? Can dealers actually have such signatures? Or is this wishful thinking—the same kind of thinking that leads players to believe in trend betting and the like? The opinion of experts is divided on this topic. A few say it’s possible. More say it isn’t possible. Some pain-in-the-neck experts say it’s theoretically possible, but probably not actually possible at a real roulette wheel.
I tend to lean more towards those who believe it’s possible, but I do so with strong reservations. If a dealer does have a signature, I don’t think it would necessarily be manifested as often as players looking for it would like.
A dealer’s signature happens unconsciously—that is, the dealer is really not aware of what he or she is doing. To determine whether dealers typically have signatures, it would take thousands of rolls of the ball by dozens or hundreds of experienced dealers to measure the results. There has never been a study such as this (as far as I know) because it would take the patience of Job to do it.
If the dealer’s signature were conscious, that would be a totally different story. This dealer would have the ability to make his friends, his family and himself a bundle of money over time (assuming he didn’t get caught). A dealer with the skill to manipulate where the ball landed could be used subtly to nail players the dealer (or casino) didn’t like; help those he did like; and perhaps make some money on the side for friends or family members.
Roulette dealers disagree as to whether the “conscious signature” is possible. In fact, they doubt whether the unconscious or conscious creation of signatures exists at all. Very few dealers out of the dozens I’ve spoken to believe signatures actually exist. They are more skeptical than the experts. (Actually, the dealers are the true experts here, and should be listened to.)
However, if a study were done, could it determine once and for all whether signatures exist? Don’t be so quick to say “yes,” because there are several factors that might make the study invalid, or impossible to do.
How could a person, notebook in hand, stand by a dealer’s table and follow that same dealer from table to table, day after day, recording their spins without the dealer becoming uncomfortably aware of such a person? The dealer might think at first that the wheel was being observed for flaws, but this might cause him to alter his spin to stop the player from identifying any.
Anything that is dealer-dependent could be immediately changed when the dealer becomes aware of being watched. As in quantum physics, the observer interferes with the observed by the mere fact that he is observing. In such a case, you can probably forget about ascertaining a dealer signature. I think the discovery of a dealer signature in real casino play is probably impossible, too, if it requires you to shadow dealers and study their spins for a long time. Therefore, the dealer signature might exist, but might be impossible to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt.
There is yet another problem with trying to prove dealer signatures. Roulette wheels do slow down over time, so the movement of the wheel from time “A” to time “B” could be different enough to affect how many pockets pass the ball as it spins around the wheel. The dealer might do everything the same exact way, but with each ball-spin he is playing into a fractionally different wheel speed. As the wheel naturally slows down over time, any “signature” would have to change. A researcher would then be required to analyze the pattern of the signature over different wheel spins—an impossible task, in my estimation.
The question you’re probably wondering about is how dealer signatures can be used to win your bets. If they truly exist, can they be exploited in short-term play? Is it possible for you to use this to your advantage?
All I can say is that if your dealer has a signature, you can identify, it might give you an edge. If you think you’ve identified a signature, but in reality there is none, you won’t hurt yourself any more betting that way. You’ll face the same house edge. So have some fun—go ahead and see if you can figure out a dealer’s signature. It might be like searching for Bigfoot, but it’s worth a try. ´
Frank Scoblete’s newest books are Slots Conquest: How to Beat the Slot Machines, featuring advantage-play slots; and Casino Craps: Shoot to Win, which comes with a DVD showing unedited controlled throws. Cutting Edge Craps: Advanced Strategies for Serious Players and Beat Blackjack Now are all available from Amazon.com, at your favorite bookstore, or by mail order by calling 1-800-944-0406. You can also call that number for a free brochure.
Studying Dealer Signatures – Roulette.