roulette wheel


Posted on January 11, 2015

Blaise Pascal, a French scientist, is said to have invented the first roulette wheel because of his love for perpetual-motion devices. Roulette means “small wheel” in French.

Early 1800s
Roulette debuts in the U.S. As the game grows in popularity, two zeros are added to increase house odds.

In France, to increase house odds, Francois and Louis Blanc add a “0” to the roulette wheel. Legend has it that Francois Blanc struck a deal with the devil in return for the secrets of roulette. This legend comes from the fact that adding all of the numbers from one to thirty-six adds to a total of “666.”

Joseph Jaggers hires six clerks to go undercover to secretly record the oucomes of the roulette wheels at the Beaux-Arts Casino in Monte Carlo. They find that one of the wheels lands on one particular number more than others. Jagger uses this information to win $450,000 before management catches on to his trick.

Fred Gilbert writes a song called “The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo” about Joseph Jaggers’s Monte Carlo exploits.

Edward O. Thorp conceives of the idea of a wearable computer to predict the outcome of roulette. He works with Claude Shannon of M.I.T. to create the prototype.

June 1961
Thorp and Shannon test their final operating version in Shannon’s basement lab. The analog device is about the size of a pack of cigarettes and, according to Thorp, “yielded an expected gain of +44% when betting on the most favored ‘octant.'”

Summer 1961
Thorp and Shannon test their device in Las Vegas. They expected gain of +44% occurs but a hardware failure cuts their first experiments short. The pair keeps their invention secret until 1966.

Late 1970s
The Eudaemons, a group of graduate students, use their collective brain power to come up with a computer device to help them win at roulette. Their goal is to earn enough money to fund a scientific community. Their name is inspired by the philosophy of eudaemonism.

The Eudaemons create their computer system and take it to Las Vegas for a trial run. Their machine is a success, but after the device burns a hole in one of the female members’ hands, the group is disbanded.

Early 1990s
At the Casino de Madrid in Spain, Gonzalo Garcia-Pelayo uses a computer to predict where the roulette wheels stop most of the time. He bets on the numbers where the wheel stops the majority of times leading to him winning well over one million dollars in the span of a couple years.

Ashley Revell sells everything he owns to get $135,300. He takes the money to the Plaza Hotel-Casino in Las Vegas and puts all of it on Red. A British film crew for Sky One records the event as part of a reality show. The ball lands on “Red 7.” Revell walks away with twice as much money as he started with.

Dec. 2004
In London, a court rules that a group who used cameraphones to figure out the path of the roulette ball did not cheat, on the basis that their cameraphones did not influence the path of the ball.

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