Roulette - Scams and Cheats

Probably the most common form of player cheating and the easiest to attempt is a method called “past posting.” This technique originated at the racetracks some years back.

As soon as a winning horse was evident (well in the lead), the bettor would hurry to the ticket window and place a bet on that horse. Likewise with roulette, when the ball comes in for its final landing, the dealer will look down, for a moment, to see what the winning number is. At that instant, a player with a keen eye and adroit hand can place or move his bet to the winning number. Games run by one dealer are most susceptible to this form of chicanery. The cheat may remove losing bets in part or in whole, place winning bets or switch losers onto the winning number. One example would be a right-handed player standing at the center of the table and betting on “black.” Of the even-money wagers, black and red are the only ones that are adjacent to each other. If black comes in then great! He’ll relax and wait for his pay off. If “red” comes up, he’ll lean over the table and very quickly and precisely tap his bet from black over to red in a fraction of a second. This stratagem requires nerves of steel and a quick, concise maneuver. The dealers and pit are well aware of this technique and are watching for it. The first time you get caught, you might escape by claiming ignorance. You didn’t hear the dealer say “No more bets.” After that, you’re asking for a security escort to a back room!

Ball Control

Although no casino will admit to its existence and very few dealers will nod in acknowledgement, this method is very powerful and easy to disguise. One cannot deny that a roulette event is heavily influenced by a human dealer. After all, it is the dealer who kicks up the rotor speed and launches the little white ball isn’t it? These actions definitely affect where the ball will land. And after years of repeatedly spinning, the dealer develops what athletes call “muscle memory” or a consistent delivery system. I will admit it to you right here, as someone who has dealt the game of roulette, SOME DEALERS CAN CONSCIOUSLY INFLUENCE THE RESULT OF THE GAME. There, I said it! I know that deflectors may knock a ball off its original course or the ball may spatter when it crosses onto the rotor and hits a pocket fret, but even if a skilled dealer could navigate around the heavily bet sectors on the wheel only 10% of the time, the casino’s edge would be 100% for those spins! The house’s edge would then be [(9) x 5.26% + (1) x 100.00%] all divided by 10. This averages out to a whooping 14.73 % edge! To further add to this dilemma, there is no way to prove that the dealer is trying to cheat you, unless you can read minds! My general observations have led me to believe that “male” roulette dealers are more territorial. If you begin to win steadily at their tables, they feel challenged and may spin against you… that is unless you’re a shapely female wearing a low-cut dress. I’ve also seen first-generation immigrants working as dealers, who are staunchly loyal to their new employers. If the issue of ball control troubles you, you can simply wait for the dealer to spin before placing your bets. You might actually turn this technique in your favor. If you recognize a skillful dealer and can build a rapport with him or her, you may be able to exploit their ability. One way to induce a dealer into hitting your number is to bet a sector or continuous section on the rotor of say, five pockets. Place a toke out for the dealer on the number situated at the sector's center. The dealers seem to appreciate a crack at collecting 35 times their original toke if they exhibit some control. If they miss your center number by one or two pockets, then you still win on the neighbors contained in that sector.

Concealed Computers

This method involves assessing the mechanical conditions of the roulette event and rendering a computer prediction based on the laws of Newtonian physics. This technique would have been considered as an "advantage system" and not cheating, except that using a computing device to project the outcome of a casino game is illegal in most places. One book titled “The Eudaemonic Pie” by Thomas Bass, chronicles the adventures and misadventures of Doyne Farmer and Norman Packard, two classmates of Bass’s from the University of California at Santa Cruz. These physics PhDs formed a team with other physicists and computer scientists for the purpose of creating a computer capable of predicting casino roulette. Back in the late 1970’s when they endeavored to do this, no law was in place to prohibit the use of computers in a casino. So I want to clarify that technically, Farmer and Packard’s attempts to use a concealed computer were not illegal.

The team designed and built a miniature computer from scratch, since one was not commercially available at the time. They developed and burned in their own software for calculating the various equations of motion involved. Things like the position, velocity and deceleration of the ball and the proper relationship of the exponentially decaying ball speed and the more constant angular velocity of the wheel head. Because the event always took place on a 32” casino regulation roulette wheel and the acceleration due to gravity on the Earth’s surface is fairly constant, a set of idealized equations of motion were derived for a theoretically perfect roulette wheel. As they discovered along the way, no two roulette wheels were made, maintained or set up the same way. They adapted their software to have a flexible enough program so that specific characteristics of each roulette wheel could be input. Once the computer had enough background on a certain wheel, it could begin to make adjustments in the algorithms to compensate for these idiosyncrasies.

One such wheel characteristic is the ball’s drop-off point from the upper track. If you use the eight silver deflectors in the approach to mentally divide the bowl up into octants, you can chart a histogram of ball drops per octant. Ideally, the ball should be able to drop from any octant, based on when the gravitational acceleration overcomes the centripetal acceleration holding it in the upper track. But this will not happen if the entire wheel is sufficiently “tilted” at say, 1/8” to ¼”. The ball will labor as it climbs the incline toward the tilt’s apex, slowing it down more than expected. This is where the ball will tend to “run out of gas.” I’ve seen wheels where 45% of the drop-offs occurred in just one octant! Chances are that the drop-off octant was at or just before the tilt’s highest point. If the ball should make it over the peak, it will accelerate slightly as it races down the other side. This uncharacteristic slowing and speeding up may not be perceptible to the human eye, but it is enough to throw off any idealized mathematical model.

Farmer and Packard’s team did an excellent job of interpreting the problem and programming it into their custom computer, but there were logistical problems; difficulty concealing the computer and its power supply, loose wires, bad connections, shocks, clamping solenoids, drifting signals, etc. Building such a device involved extensive knowledge of physics, mathematics, electronics, computer science and information theory. Even after a year and a half of totally redesigning and miniaturizing their system with the latest technology available, they were overcome by unexpected computer crashes and electronic noise. This noise came from surveillance systems and low-frequency radiation, given off by neon signs and slot machines. These all contributed spurious signals to the receiver. The casinos are a swamp of electronic noise!

Just as our team of physicists was contemplating their next go-around in 1985, the Governor of Nevada signed into law, Senate Bill 467. The pertinent statute in Nevada states: “It is unlawful for any person at a licensed gaming establishment to use, or possess with the intent to use, any device to assist in projecting the outcome of the game.” The statute goes on to say that a first-time offender may be imprisoned for a period of 1 to 10 years, or be fined up to $10,000, or both. A second offense is mandatory imprisonment. In other words, if you’re caught with a computer in the casino, even if you did not yet use it, you may be hit with jail time and/or stiff fines! This is too big a gamble in my book! New Jersey has a similar statute regarding the use of electronic, electrical and mechanical devices: “Except as specifically permitted by the commission, no person shall possess with the intent to use, or actually use, at any table game, either by himself or in concert with others, any calculator, computer, or other electronic, electrical or mechanical device to assist in projecting an outcome at any table game or in keeping track of or analyzing the cards having been dealt, the changing probabilities of any table game, or the playing strategies to be utilized”. So contemplate this option carefully, if you must.

As computers become smaller, they are also becoming more powerful, reliable and more programmer-friendly. The temptations of “easy riches” become greater. There are still those scheming to build computers for predicting roulette. I recently ran across this ad on the Internet:




This is NOT a betting scheme. Computer has proven advantage over the casino of 15-30% daily. Capable of predicting approximate final position of ball. Capital required for profiting tour of casinos. Send contact details and all inquires for information….

Slick Surveillance

Although the casinos have always had the home court advantage, that hasn’t stopped the near-do-wells from attempting to cheat the house. In the past, panels of one-way glass were installed in the ceilings over the casino floor. Surveillance people, often referred to as, “the eye in the sky,” would tread back and forth on narrow catwalks while looking down at the games. With binoculars in hand, they monitored both the players and the dealers for any signs of cheating. They maneuvered through spider webs and around posts and rafters in the dark. Today’s modern casinos are outfitted with hundreds of cameras that can rotate, pivot and zoom in on a pinhead. These cameras are housed in those half-spherical bubbles that you see, mounted from the ceiling. They send video signals that are fed into dozens of monitors with videotapes rolling. Not all of the cameras’ signals can be shown on a monitor at all times. Just because the camera is on doesn’t mean that someone is watching it. The video can later be reviewed, but the cheat or thief may be long gone. The surveillance crew must switch back and forth between cameras, focusing more on the busy-betting areas and the cashiers’ cages. If the pit is suspicious of a cheat or if a high roller steps into the game, the boss will call up to surveillance to make sure they are watching the action at that table.

Eventually, the whole system will be computerized. A network of several hundred tiny digital cameras will be mounted throughout the casino. As these cameras sense movement, they will begin processing a digital signal to a computer. Surveillance software will interpret any actions it senses and the most questionable of those will appear on one of several main monitors where a small surveillance crew will be stationed. Because the footage is digital and fully indexed, it can be immediately accessed and cross-referenced with other footage taken, even if it happened six months earlier. There would be no archived tapes to search through, no hours and hours of rewinding and playing of videotapes. Everything will be stored in one central database.

I hope that you enjoyed this section on scams and cheats.

The Spindoctor

Roulette - Various Roulette Wagers

There are 38 different pockets that the ball may fall into (37 on the French-style wheel). Couple that with 11 different types of bets that you can make, and you have countless ways to wager at the roulette table. You can go for the long shot or the more conservative even-money wagers. Either way, you're probably playing against the same house edge, unless you're taking advantage of the "En Prison" or "Surrender" options (see our Table Etiquette… article for an in-depth explanation of the two).

Bets are usually broken up into two different categories: "Outside Bets" and "Inside Bets." The outside bets are called that for a good reason. These are the bets that are contained outside of the numbered grid. They include the even-money wagers and the 2-to-1 wagers. As you might guess, the inside bets are found on the inside of the numbered grid or layout. These bets are also treated a little differently. If the minimum wager is $10 for that table, then all of your individual inside bets must add up to the minimum. Chances are, you will be playing with $1 chips, so you will have to use at least ten $1 chips on the inside of the betting layout. The outside bets, on the other hand, require that each bet equals the table minimum. So, for our $10 table example, if you wanted to wager on "black," the "Second Dozen," and the "Odd" numbers, then you would have to bet at least $30 total, or three times the table minimum. Because the outside bets can afford you the space to have separate bets placed, you can use the regular house chips with the denominations on them for outside betting.

The other difference between inside and outside bets is that all inside bets from all players are stacked on top of each other. Unlike the other games, where everyone has their own place to make a wager, there is only one spot on the inside layout for each particular bet. That's why each person at the table (in North American casinos) is issued his or her own private color of "wheel chips" with which to bet (see Table Etiquette…). For the outside bets, you will place your own wager, or stack of chips, separate from anyone else's. The outside bets will have a higher maximum bet allowed as compared to the inside bets. If the maximum inside wager is $100, then the maximum outside bet is probably $1000 or $2000. Imagine a patron likes the number 20, for example, so he wagers $1000 straight up on it. The dealer falls into a pattern and hits three 20's in the next five spins… the casino would be down over a $100,000 in short order. Or worse yet, the dealer is skilled and has an accomplice betting a certain set of numbers for high stakes… well, you get the picture. A lot of money could change hands very quickly! The lower inside number maximum prevents wild fluctuations (whether random or not) from killing their "hold."

In our Illustration above, chips A through F are placed on the Even Money Wagers; that is to say that they pay 1 to 1. Each of these bets gives you 18 ways to win and 20 (American wheel) or 19 (French wheel) ways to lose. Below is an explanation of each wager with its English and French name:

A.Numbers 1 through 18 (Low or Manque).

B.All 18 different "Even" numbers (Even or Pair). Zeros are not considered even numbers.

C.Includes all 18 "Red" numbers (Red or Rouge). D.All 18 "Black" numbers (Black or Noir).

E.All 18 different "Odd" numbers (Odd or Impair).

F.Numbers 19 through 36 (High or Passe).

Also above you see the "2-to-1" wagers: the "Dozens" and the "Columns." Each dozen wager covers the 12 numbers directly above its marked betting area. The column bets are simply labeled "2 to 1." They include the 12 numbers starting just to the right of the zeros on the layout, all the way down the column and just to the left of the "2 to 1" space, where you would wager on that column.

G.Numbers 13 through 24 (2nd Dozen or Moyenne Douzaine).

Note: In Europe, the dozens are lined up across the bottom of the layout, under the "2 to 1" column bets. The space labeled "12 P" (Premiere Douzaine) is reserved for wagers on the first dozen. "12 M" (Moyenne Douzaine) refers to the "middle" or second dozen and "12 D" (Derniere Douzaine) denotes the "last" or third dozen.

H.Covers the 12 numbers starting with number 3 and adding by 3's up to 36 (3rd Column or 3rd Colonne). In our picture above, one of each bet type is included as an example. Each wager is explained as follows:

I.A one-number wager on "5" (Straight Up or En plein) - It pays 35 to 1.

J.A two-number bet on "17 & 20" (Split or A¢ Cheval) - paying 17 to 1.

K.Three-number bet on "10, 11 & 12" (Street or Transversale plein) - it pays 11:1.

L.Four-number bet covering "26, 27, 29 & 30" (Corner or En carre¢) - paying 8:1.

M.Five-number bet. Incidentally this is the only 5-number wager on the board. It covers "0, 00, 1, 2 & 3." It is the only non 5.26% house edge. It gives the house a whopping 7.89% edge (Top Line or Cinq numeros) - 6:1.

N.Six-number wager on "31 through 36" (Line or Sizain) - 5:1.

If you cannot reach a number on the layout, solicit the dealer for assistance. Once the dealer waves his arm across the table and declares, "No more bets" you must stop wagering. Hopefully, this article helped to explain the various betting options that you have and their resulting payoffs. Have fun and good luck!

10 Myths of Slots Play

No slots education would be complete without the 10 most oft-repeated myths about the game. There have always been theories/myths about sure-win slot playing. I'm listing the most common of these incorrect myths here with explanations.

Myth #1: Someone hits a jackpot at the machine you were just playing: that could have been your jackpot!

This is not true, because of that programmed random number generator (RNG) in the slot machine. It's constantly in motion, picking different number/symbol combinations, even when the machine is idle at a speed faster than you can pull that handle or press the spin button.

Don't beat yourself up if someone comes along right after you and hits a jackpot. Also, don't be afraid to leave a slot machine because you think this might happen to you. Think about this instead: Do blackjack players worry about who is going to sit in their seats after they leave the table? Of course not.

When you and your bankroll are ready to find another slot, don't dally: move on.

Myth #2: The casinos can flip a switch to make machines tight or loose.

Nope. Only the slot manufacturer can make any changes to a slot machine. Besides, most Gaming Control Boards do not allow casinos to do this.

Myth #3: Hot coins mean the machine will win and cold coins mean a cold machine.

The only reason a machine has hot coins diamond casino peliaula is because of the lights near the hopper.

Myth #4: If an attendant or mechanic opens your machine, it will stop paying.

Usually, a machine is opened to correct a problem or to refill the hopper with coins. This does not affect the RNG's programmed mission.

Sometimes a slot mechanic will give a player two or three free pulls--especially if the player is polite. But if stopping for a mechanic makes you lose your rhythm, you have two choices: When the mechanic is done, play another three pulls and decide whether to stay or leave: or, leave as soon as your play is interrupted.

Myth #5: Higher denomination slots have more payouts.

All machines are preprogrammed with payout schedules. Higher denominations ($5+) probably have a higher hit frequency; but it's all relative when you invest more from your gambling bankroll.

Start off with quarter machines which account for 25% of total slots revenue and are the most popular slots.

The nickel machines do have fewer payouts because the maintenance costs are higher. They are played often and require more maintenance than other slots.

Myth #6: Players should play less than maximum coins until the machine starts to pay.

This myth really scares me, because it goes against basic slot playing strategy and could be very costly to the player.

Remember, the RNG doesn't know if you're putting in one coin or three. You gain no advantage by trying to pump or prime that slot machine for the jackpot, because you have no idea when that jackpot will be. The next symbol combination to come up has already been determined before you pull the handle.

Follow my advice and trust me on this: If you can't afford to play maximum coins, drop down to a lower-priced machine.

Myth #7: Players should move up to higher denomination machines in hopes of better payoffs.

This is the reverse of Myth #6 and can be very costly, too, because you will lose more money at a faster rate.

Myth #8: You've put so much money into a slot; it must be ready to hit. You deserve to win!

Yes, you do deserve to win, but the length of time a slot is played without winning has no bearing on its readiness to pay. Any slot can go months or years without paying its top jackpot. It maintains the programmed payoff percentage rate by paying smaller wins.

Myth #9: Machines pay better if you use a casino slot club card.

Tell that to the RNG! It doesn't know what a slot card is, and it certainly doesn't care if you use one, but you should.

That RNG just keeps rolling with those symbol combinations, greedily taking money in any form--cash or card. The advantage to you are the slot card freebie benefits.

Misconception #10: Play the machines nearest the doors or aisles.

While you may be more comfortable in these seats and these slots are played more often; they are not always the best-paying slots. Moving over 2 or 3 machines can be more profitable.

A Comprehensive Guide to Comps

COMPS or complimentaries for rooms, food, beverages, and other goodies are a casino's compensation to the loyal player. However, the player has to earn them, and learn the rules of the COMP game. Just as you prepare before entering any casino; so too is a complete education part of your casino compbat training.

Slot Club Cards are your entrance pass to COMP Heaven and table game players-you are included-as more casinos are patching you into the same rating system. Slot Club Cards now encompass all the games in the casino, and it's FREE!

Slots Clubs were started in Atlantic City where casino execs were very aware that quarter slot players could easily move next door to competing casinos. Some incentive to remain loyal to their casino was established. This plastic marketing tool now comprises policy for most casinos worldwide.

Read the casinos' literature, and determine which casinos give the most compromising bang for your buck. You want to develop a best, better and good casino complete listing. There is no complaint list as it is only to your benefit as a player to join. Compiling active status and total points plus the redeemable value of your card is mandatory for any competent player. Analysis casino card offers as they will compensate you--the games you play, the surroundings, dining/menu offerings, entertainment, and particularly cash back. What are you competing for: free room, free food, free shows, playing coupons, promotional items as take-home souvenirs, or cash-back?

To compare, the rebates available out there are:

All casino players have complied in the beverage catergory,

RFB - king of COMPs - room, food, and beverage - all that any high roller or 'whale' could comprehend, however, with some limitations, low to medium slotters are eligible. The compcept is to reward all loyal slot players.

Cash Rebates - generally 6c to $1 for every $100 play. This should most certainly determine the casinos "rating" for your compliance list. Turn the tables and 'rate' the casinos when comparing slot cards.

Meal COMPs - averaging one meal comp for every four hours of quarter machine play. I ask for a meal comp after a jackpot win and have never been refused---the casino wants to keep you at the company store, plus no standing in line--you head straight for the VIP or 'invited guest' short queue; composed as you pass other waiting diners.

Room COMPs-watch your mailbox for casino newsletters, companion room offers or members can reserve rooms at casino rate-generally a 50% reduction. Another component is entertainment goodies. 2 for 1 weekday show coupons and members' rewards can be a headliner showcomp in the mail.

Promotional Gifts - dice, cards, caps, t-shirts and that's just for signing on. Your birthday greetings arrive with compatible meal, room and cash coupons.

Funbooks and 'lucky bucks': compensation for table games. Put your bet down with these coupons and you've just reduced the house advantage. Ask for these when reserving your room, registering, when your travel agent books your trip, or all 3. Swing by the front desk to pick up casino brochures or local freebie magazines in the larger casino areas and compclip. VIP compatible for active members -- special handling just for you.

More complimentary tips:

Ask, ask and ask again-be nice--if you are comptitled. Make friends with the slot host. Ladies are more competent with the male slot hosts...get my drift? Call the toll free number of your favorite casinos for updated compformation. Contact casino marketing or Events Manager. Ask for total points accumulated, the redeemable value, upcoming special promotions, especially double or triple points days-an incomparable advantage of an active member's dreams. Two comppers can reach their freebie goal faster; request two slot cards with same name/membership compartment number and doublecomp those points. Participate in a companion run hitting at least five casinos, joining as you go and collect all the compoffers.

It's a common miscompception among gamblers that you must lose money to qualify-not true. Casinos want your time in their establishment-use those cards. Tracking your points is based on all monies put through machines whether you are dropping coins or playing off your credits-it all computes. Look the neon signs, in the casinos windows; where they advertise their best games, best payouts-all compliments of the house. Attaching a card to you is a good idea. I'm the one with the colorful twisted cord attached to me; I have lost my composure and nearly a vital body part at times when forgetting to remove my card. Finally, wager management should also be part of your complete education. Don't play just for COMPs; however, in comparison-a reduction in the cost of play increases your gambling bankroll. Compulsive gambling is bad but compulsion is good for every casino player; not only will you have good luck but you are making your luck with competence.

Basic Slots

Basic Slots or "flat tops" have a constant top jackpot payout that does not change no matter how much the machine is played. Basic slots tend to give smaller wins to keep you in business, extending your playing time. Basics come in several different paying versions, most of which require maximum coins to hit the top jackpot. Three features that should dictate any basic slot players' search and quest to stretch their gambling bankroll are:

1) Single payline..stay away from multiple paylines, too expensive. Better to play multiple paylines on Bonus Slots when a second screen bonus round offers additional winnings: see Bonus Slots.

2) Two coin maximum basic slot. A 3 coin machine may show a payout of 120 coins for the same combination as 80 for 2 coins, but remember, you had to gamble an extra coin, each spin, therefore, the payouts are generally equal. Players should invest more of their playtime and money in the preferred 2 coin machines, equaling more pulls and more chances to win a jackpot.

3) Seek out those slots that pay double jackpots on certain pay-line combinations. The principle of this "double" symbol is very simple, whenever it appears on the payline in combination with any other symbols which normally would have made a winning combination, the payoff amount is doubled or multiplied: e.g. Double, Triple Diamond, or Red, White & Blue7's.

Look closely at payout schedules posted on the slots-- not all slots will double and quadruple all pays and not all machines will have double jackpots win possibilities.

Don't confuse them with joker machines or wild cherries or any other symbols noted on the machines payoff display as being "wild". Symbols identified as being wild sub for any other paying symbol. but do not double the payoff.

You will almost never find these preferred slots in the same carousel. Carousel slots are mixes of good and bad machines. The thinking is that people will be attracted to a carousel if they see one player cleaning up on the good one.

If a casino advertises specific slots as 98% return, this will never mean that for each $1 you put in, you will get back 98 cents. A lot of first time players make this mistake. This means that over the fiscal year life cycle of that particular slot machine, it will average payoffs equal to 98% of all monies put through. Casinos advertising high return slots or 100% 'certified' slots, usually dollar slots, must tell you whether all the machines in that carousel are high-return slots or just one or two slots. Slot hosts or change people at these specific banks/carousels should know and if not; as a consumer- ask, ask and ask again until you get an answer.