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Can you beat Roulette using maths?

  1. Dec 21, 2009 #1
    Roulette, the house has the edge..

    Is there anyway to beat the game..either with a system using progressions..

    Or is it just a simple no..It can't be beat?

    Happy Christmas.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 21, 2009 #2

    Hurkyl

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    Simple no.

    On average, you will always lose one dollar for every nineteen dollars you bet. (Unless you take the five-number bet -- in which case your losses go up to one dollar and fifty cents on average) (These numbers based on the American roulette wheel with 38 numbers, including 0 and 00)


    Progression schemes are a shell game -- they simply shuffle around the risk until you don't notice it anymore. They work like the exact opposite of a single-number bet:
    • When you place money dollar on a single number, you will usually lose your money. But occasionally you will win big. But not big enough to make it worthwhile.
    • When you use a progression scheme, you will usually win some money. But occasionally, you will lose big. So big that it's not worthwhile.

    The progression scheme is actually more dangerous, because each time you increase your bet, you are increasing your average losings proportionally.
     
  4. Dec 21, 2009 #3

    DaveC426913

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    Of course, the trick is to quit after all the wins but before the big loss...
     
  5. Dec 21, 2009 #4
    "No one can possibly win at roulette unless he steals money from the table while the croupier isn't looking."Albert Einstein

    Read this document

    I prefer to play blackjack
     
  6. Dec 22, 2009 #5

    Mentallic

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    A few of my friends just became the legal age in Australia so we decided to try our luck at roulette. I wasn't surprised when a few of them thought they had magical predicting powers after guessing the right colour two or more times in a row - but then I was quite dissappointed to see that one of my more intelligent friends (that's close to my level in maths and even better than me at probability) was endulged in what this nutcase next to us had to say about increasing your odds.
    The guy believed since the dealer supposedly flicks the ball with the same strength each time, it should land in a smaller 1/2-1/3 fraction of the wheel much more often.

    After this guy managed to poison my friend's mind with insane ideas, I tried my turn at convincing him otherwise. Explaining how the dealer always flicks from the same position, but the wheel is always in a new position after each play since it spins in the game, and even if he does flick it at the same power, it couldn't be precise enough to land in the same spot (or close to it) after each flick, since it spins at least 20x around the board and - me believing chaos theory had a little say in this - a tiny power change in the flick will make a much larger difference in the end.

    He still believed the old dude was onto something...
     
  7. Dec 22, 2009 #6

    DaveC426913

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    Alas, another one of us rationals, lost to the siren-call of wishful-thinking.
     
  8. Dec 22, 2009 #7

    Pengwuino

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    This reminds me of an episode of "Breaking Vegas" where they had an episode about a physicist actually actually tried to beat the system. It was on craps. He actually studied the dice and trained his arm so well that he was able to in a sense, 'target' getting a 7 when he threw the dice. That isn't to say he was throwing a 7 at will, but he was able to do it with enough accuracy that the statistics moved into his favor and he was able to profit pretty nicely. I'm not sure how they stopped him or if they even could notice...
     
  9. Dec 22, 2009 #8

    Mentallic

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    I thought this "wishful thinking" could only grab a hold of the irrationals :biggrin:

    This I would only believe if the dice were to be thrown a short distance and were slow enough to stop after hitting the table very quickly. The faster the throws are made, the statistics would become random once more at a much faster rate.
    So in reality, I could imagine they would catch him if he's increasing his odds only because his throws of the dice are so small.
     
  10. Dec 22, 2009 #9
    There was an episode of some show on the Biography channel:

    In the 70s a group of astrophysics undergraduates decided to purchase a casino grade roulette table and use Newtonian physics to generate equations to calculate where the ball will land. The problem is that they needed calculators strapped onto their chests to make the calculations. In the 70s this was expensive... but also hard to detect. They increased their odds by I believe was 14%, unfortunately the calculators were faulty and they had to stop the operations, they bankrupted their accounts, and some of them dropped out of school.

    Nowadays, it would be easy to do this, but the casinos are alot more technologically upgraded to fight portable calculators..

    I guess the moral of the story is yes, roulette can be beaten by maths

    By the way, first post here. HI

    -John
     
  11. Dec 22, 2009 #10

    russ_watters

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    My B.S. detector is pegged offscale: do you have a source for that?
     
  12. Dec 22, 2009 #11

    turbo

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    No, you can't beat roulette. In a well-attended game, some people win and some people lose (over the short term), but the house always takes its cut in the form of 0 and 00 hits.
     
  13. Dec 22, 2009 #12
    http://shop.history.com/detail.php?a=72895 [Broken]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  14. Dec 22, 2009 #13

    russ_watters

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    Amazing:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eudaemons
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  15. Dec 22, 2009 #14
    Its quite amazing they did that during a semester. Most physics programs are very demanding... Kudos to them
     
  16. Dec 22, 2009 #15

    Mentallic

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    How could this calculator take into account the random strength the dealer would put into spinning the ball around the table? I still don't believe it would work unless you take all variables into account, and since you have to place a bet before the dealer spins the ball, you're in no luck.
     
  17. Dec 22, 2009 #16
    You could easily take a variable range for the throw; there is a reason it only increased their odds only 44% though.
     
  18. Dec 22, 2009 #17

    russ_watters

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    ....It wasn't a calculator, it was a custom built computer and according to the wiki, it wasn't built in a semester, it took two years.

    I've only played a few times and can't remember if they close the bets before they put the ball in play (I'm thinking no). All I can think of for inputs is that they observe where the 00 is when the ball is thrown and assume that the dealer's throw speed is somewhat consistent. Perhaps they actually measure it over a period of time - record where the 00 is when the ball is thrown and compare that to where it landed. That's something you could almost do in your head. Though one of the guys who did this played a part in developing chaos theory, it must be a lot more complicated than that...

    ....still, I'm amazed that there really was a pattern in there.

    If that was the case, the casino could counter it by adding a random number generator to set the rpm of the wheel.
     
  19. Dec 22, 2009 #18

    Pengwuino

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    I believe you can still place a bet when the wheel is in motion. I think half way through or so, the people manning the wheel will call 'no more bets'.
     
  20. Dec 22, 2009 #19
    In theory it might not be possible to win in roulette, but a real roulette wheel wobbles which creates a bias. Here's part 1/4 of the show I thought of:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  21. Dec 22, 2009 #20

    Hurkyl

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    Just an aside -- if 1000 different groups try to beat roulette, on average one of them will have a one-in-a-thousand winning streak.
     
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