Beating the Roulette Wheel

Do you have what it takes to pick up on extremely obscure patterns and turn them into statistically consistent data? Are you familiar with the effects of friction on a small white ball bouncing along a spinning wheel? Are you willing to risk running afoul of a casino in order to gain an extremely slim advantage that likely won’t pay off with a significant payday for hundreds or thousands of games? If you answered ‘yes’ to these questions, you may just have what it takes to eke out an advantage on one of the most seemingly random games on the casino floor. Intrigued? Let’s take a closer look at the story of two men’s quest to beat the roulette wheel.

A Time-Tested Formula

inner119112015The idea of beating the roulette wheel goes back to the very beginnings of roulette, but one of the most successful roulette masters on record was a man named Doyne Farmer. In the 1970s, Farmer gained notoriety when he successfully created an early computer capable of detecting long-term patterns at the roulette table. Unfortunately for ambitious gamblers, he chose not to publish his findings in order to avoid encouraging cheating at casinos.

Following Farmer’s breakthrough, the roulette world went through a long period of relative silence until earlier this decade when Michael Small, a mathematician at the University of Western Australia, and Chi Kong Tse, an electronics engineer from Hong Kong Polytechnic University, successfully developed an algorithm for beating roulette. After the duo submitted a report to a gambling journal, Farmer decided that the time was right to pull back the curtain.

The Details

inner219112015In both methods, predicting the destination of the ball is all about its motion upon leaving the dealer’s hand. According to the studies, these motions are actually extremely predictable. When combined with information about how many times the wheel has spun before the ball enters and what part of the wheel the ball initially contacts, the players are able to predict which part of the wheel the ball will eventually land upon.

Before you assume this formula is foolproof, it’s important to take a look at the actual results. Small and Tse, for example, were able to predict the ball’s final location 13 times for every 22 spins. This may not seem very promising, but it is greater than 50 percent. If the duo were able to consistently duplicate these results, they would, in theory, win over long periods of play. While a European roulette when is set to return roughly -2.7 percent of all bets, Small and Tse secured an 18 percent return with this algorithm.

The Issues

inner319112015Casinos don’t like to lose, and Small and Tse were quick to point out that this sort of strategy is easily detectable. The only way to ensure solid results would be with a camera watching the wheel, and this is banned in nearly all casinos. In other words, securing this small advantage would require a fair amount of risk without much promise of a worthwhile reward.

Beating the roulette wheel sounds great in theory, but the actual facts are that it’s a dangerous and minimally effective venture to pursue. Instead, it’s better to play the game as it was intended to be played and hope for the best. With a little luck, you’ll be able to come out on top without the headaches of trying to beat the wheel.

Jeff D. Wilhoite

Jeff Wilhoite is a California based writer, but most of all, he is a dedicated casino player. With years of experience, he is the man to go when looking for spot on advice when it comes to casino games.