When it comes to gambling, the casino always wins. Especially at roulette, where the player’s chances of winning are especially low. But there are exceptions to each rule, especially when the game comes into play a person with excellent knowledge of physics.
In the 1970s, J. Doyne Farmer, Professor of Mathematics, an expert in Chaos Theory, General System Theory and Economismatics, designed a famous gadget that increased the chances of winning at roulette so much that the scientist was banned from entering all Nevada casinos.
Now a colleague of Farmer’s explained in detail how this device works.
The gadget is interesting from a purely scientific point of view. Of course, no one is going to really use this knowledge to win casinos. Although formally it can not be called a fraud, because the player uses knowledge of the laws of physics – what is illegal here?
So, on the site Quora the principle of the device explained Richard Muller, Professor of Physics, University of California at Berkeley. He says that his colleague designed and developed a device very similar to Farmer’s famous mechanism (perhaps this is it).
Critical factor for the gadget is that the casino is pushing gamblers to make reckless bets. Bets are allowed after the ball is launched, but before it starts to roll down. It is in this period of time, the physicist gets the advantage.
In these two or three seconds all the information necessary to measure the speed of the ball and the sector in which it will fall is available. Although the error is large, the calculation greatly increases the player’s chances of guessing a number compared to a random selection from all possible numbers.
If in fair play the odds of a player against the casino can be 98:100, then a simple exclusion of half the numbers increases the chances of the player to 196:100, that is, the player gets a huge advantage.
In other words, for a winning game it is enough to increase the chances of the player by only 3%, and even increasing the chances of 100%, that is, twice, gives a very big advantage.
According to the professor, his colleague has designed a device with a button in the toe of the shoe, which is pressed every time the ball passes a full circle. The second button is pressed every time a full lap roulette ball is used. This information is enough for a small pocket computer to calculate the place of the ball’s fall and give a hidden signal where to bet. All calculations and the signal is given in about a second.
The scientist says that the device needs to be pre-calibrated, but it can be done before the game starts, that is, without betting.
According to the rules, the casino has no right to search the player, so to protect against such technical devices introduced a rule that the casino can refuse to play any player without explanation, says Professor Mueller. Specially trained staff members monitor this and ask to leave the gaming room for those players who consistently receive winnings that do not correspond to the theory of probability.
“After all, my buddy (who was then a senior at the University of California at Berkeley) was blacklisted,” says Richard Muller. – His name and picture were sent out to all casinos in Nevada, and possibly all over the world, and his gambling career was at an end. He says he almost earned enough to recoup the cost of the roulette he bought to calibrate the instrument in his home lab before going to a real casino.
Richard Mueller didn’t say directly that we’re talking about Jay Doin Farmer, but the story is definitely similar to that famous science and computer gadget fraud.
The theoretical possibility of calculating the place where a roulette ball fell was proven four years ago by the scientific research of physicists Michael Small from the University of Western Australia and Chi Kong Tse from Hong Kong Polytechnic University. In 2012, they published an article entitled “Prediction of the outcome of roulette” in Chaos magazine.
Scientists have shown that only information about the speed of the wheel and the speed of the ball is enough to significantly increase the chances of winning. During the scientific experiment winnings were on average 18%, while at fair roulette the expected winnings are negative -2.7%.
After the publication of that scientific study in 2012, Farmer himself made a public comment on the work of his device for the first time – he admitted that his technique was very similar to that described in the scientific work, with one exception. Small and Jie suggested that the main force that slows down the movement of the ball is friction with the rim, while Farmer calculated that this is actually air resistance.