Since roulette became popular, many people have tried to ‘beat the casino’ by employing strategies and tactics to try and ensure they win big. Most of these ‘systems’ rely on the idea that past results are a good guide to the future; for example, if the wheel has come up on red the last ten times, then it has a higher chance of landing on red again. However, this is not strictly true – luck can certainly be no lady sometimes.
On average, betting systems that rely on patterns result in the player losing money. You may have heard the one that tells you to place a small bet on red (or black) and if you lose, double the bet, continue this way until you get lucky and then start all over. The chances are you will lose far more than you win, and may end up running out of money as you place bigger and bigger bets.
In the early 1990s, Gonzalo Garcia-Pelayo thought that roulette wheels were not actually random. He decided to record the results and analyse them with a computer, which predicted that certain numbers were more likely to occur following certain others. He won 600,000 euros in a day and an overall one million euros. When casino bosses took him to court, they were told they should sort their wheel. This led to casinos monitoring the wheels closely, rebalancing and re-aligning them periodically to keep the results of their spins as uniform as possible.
British designer John Huxley brought out a roulette wheel in the mid-eighties to counteract the problem of ‘biased’ wheels, as gamblers from America were winning big using a system of fully legal betting on these wheels.
There have been instances where people have used hand held computers, hidden computers and even mobile phones to try and predict where the ball will fall. With the advent of computerised online roulette, where nothing will ever go out of balance and everything is completely random, this is perhaps not such a big threat.