Predicting where a roulette wheel will stop

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NOTE: I am not talking about normal roulette. Here in the midwest, some states have not approved traditional roulette, so some casinos got "clever" and made a version without the ball, just a wheel that stops on a pointer, similar to wheel-of-fortune.

HEBbL.png


The wheel spins for about 1 minute before stopping, and you are allowed to place bets until the last ~20 secs. The first time I watched this I thought that it should be very easy to predict where the wheel would stop if you apply some basic physics. If you can simply predict with certainty which HALF of the wheel will stop under the pointer, the advantage gained is 89% over the house. Normally you have a 1/36 chance of hitting a number for a 1:35 payout (approx -5% edge for the player). Guessing which half it will land on will give you a 1/18 chance for a 1:35 payout (89% advantage for the player).

I know there has to be an easy way to do this, but I've been trying hard for a couple months and have only seen sporadic success. I want to hear some other ideas thrown around. My method so far has been to time one complete rotation of the wheel (from 0 to 0 for example), and then map this to a result, either the 0 half or 00 half. For example, if the lap times are hitting 2.9, 3.1, or 3.3 the wheel will stop on the 0 half, but if the lap times are hitting 2.8,3.0, or 3.2, the wheel will stop on the 00 half. This method works great if I'm studying the same spin over and over (from a video), and I can get 100% accuracy, but in the real world, I've found the timings to skew every other spin, by around 0.1 sec, which is enough to often throw everything off for early predictions. I've been shredding my brain to pieces trying to figure out a pattern or the source of this shift, but haven't come up with anything useful.

I'm going to avoid discussing how one might actually accomplish these timings in a casino setting, but I want to hear some ideas, given a hypothetical situation where you could sit at the table with a laptop and programming knowledge, how would you go about this?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #3
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If I owned a casino, I'd make darn sure the wheel had an unpredictably varying friction/velocity response.

Probably be enough to just sprinkle a little sand in the bearings. :D
 
  • #4
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Is it possible for you to provide data on the angular rotation of the wheel as a function of time (total degrees vs time, or total revolutions (including fractions of a revolution) vs time)? We would like to understand the functionality better.
 
  • #5
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http://ft.parsons.edu/classes/epidermis/fall2003/sessions/09_23_02/thorpe_firstwearable.pdf

The first wearable computer was conceived in 1955 by the author to predict roulette, culminating in a joint effort at M.I.T. with Claude Shannon in 1960-61. The final operating version was tested in Shannon’s basement home lab in June of 1961. The cigarette pack sized analog device yielded an expected gain of +44% when betting on the most favored “octant.” The Shannons and Thorps tested the computer in Las Vegas in the summer of 1961. The predictions there were consistent with the laboratory expected gain of 44% but a minor hardware problem deferred sustained serious betting. We kept the method and the existence of the computer secret until 1966.
I think this featured in a TV documentary.

I thought when casinos discovered it was possible they started preventing you betting after the ball was run.

PS...

Finally on May 30, 1985 the Nevada devices law was signed into law as an emergency measure. The target was blackjack and roulette devices. The law banned use or possession of any device to predict outcomes, analyze probabilities of occurrence, analyze strategy for playing or betting, and keeping track of cards played. The descendants of the first wearable computer were formidable enough to be outlawed.
 
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