Hacking into the probability theory. Science vs Casino.

Millions of gambling fans all over the world are dreaming of catching up with their luck and making a big score at the casino. But there are also people who aren’t ready to rely on a blind case, and forge a victory in gambling thanks to the scientific approach to blackjack, poker, roulette and slot machines. Most often they use technical devices and their own mathematical models to win, until the casino owners catch them by the hand.

Edward Thorpe

American math professor Edward Thorpe was dubbed by the media as the founder of blackjack card counting. Back in the 60s he created his own algorithm on the first mass-produced computer IBM 704, which was called the electronic calculator. The Torpa program analyzed the game and calculated the probability of falling out cards of a certain value, which can bring a win.

The famous Edward Thorpe was one of the first to "count" in blackjack
The famous Edward Thorpe was one of the first to “count” in blackjack

Mr. Thorpe is believed to have made over $5 million from his invention. He was the first person in history to use a personal computer to play casinos. Later, a book was published with the long title “Beat the Dealer: A Winning Strategy for the Game of Twenty-one”, which described the history of his victories. The book was reissued several times and became a bestseller, and casino holders thought about ways to protect themselves against visitors who use technical devices to calculate their moves.

Gonzalo Garcia Pelayo

Spanish director, actor and screenwriter Gonzalo Garcia has achieved fame in the field of cinematography. One of his most popular films was “roulette Kings”, which is based on real events. Gonzalo himself has repeatedly confessed his love of gambling and does not hide the fact that his first big money he earned just in the casino. But he did not rely on blind luck alone.

Gonzalo Garcia not only successfully plays roulette, but also makes films
Gonzalo Garcia not only successfully plays roulette, but also makes films

At the dawn of his film career, Gonzalo Garcia was a regular at Spanish gambling houses. Watching the roulette wheel, he realized that there are no perfect mechanisms, which means that some numbers must fall out more often than others. He began recording the results of all the lotteries on the roulette tables, and eventually found a confirmation of his theory. After comparing different data, Garcia went to the Casino de Madrid, where he won 600 euros for the first time. According to some sources, in total, he managed to earn more than a million euros.

“Lucky” quickly calculated and began to block him access to the gaming halls, so Gonzalo got partners. During the surveillance of one of them, the secret was revealed. The director and his accomplices were put on trial, but no conviction was passed. The court decided that there was no crime in the case, they say, the man played honestly and did not violate anything.

Tommy Glenn Carmichael

The famous slot machine hacker became famous for his knowledge of engineering. He was engaged in his activities for 20 years, then went to jail for two years. After his release, Tommy Glenn Carmichael began his favorite pastime, and 14 years later received a new term. He made money using his own devices and gadgets, which made the machine of any level of complexity “parted” with the chips.

Tommy created new gadgets to win on slot machines
Tommy created new gadgets to win on slot machines

Initially, Tommy and his partner named Ray Ming bought a slot machine, which he took apart and thoroughly studied. As a result, the accomplices invented a picklock, through which the machines could get out of the lowered tokens there. It was this device that became the main evidence in the first case against Tommy.

After the release, the friends came up with a new version of the gadget, which was popularly called “monkey’s foot” or “slider. It allowed them to pull coins right out of the slit to pay for the game. Soon computerized devices appeared, in which all these keys and “legs” became useless. Then Tommy created a light element that “dazzled” the slot machine at the moment of even the smallest win, and then paid the highest possible reward.

Using a “light sticks”, the engineer was caught a second time. After serving 236 days in prison, he became an FBI consultant on gambling cases. Thanks to this deal, Tommy killed two birds: he’s doing what he loves absolutely legally and gets good money for it.

Stu Unger

American poker player Stewart Unger became the youngest winner of the World Series of Poker (WSOP) in 1980, and in 1997 he made a sensational admission that he played Hold’em for the first time in those competitions. Unger didn’t use any technical devices – he did all the calculations in his mind. The secret of his victories, and a total of three WSOP titles, were his high IQ, phenomenal memory and incredible gaming sensibility. Stuart himself never told us exactly how he counted cards.

Seventeen years after winning the WSOP, Stu Unger admitted that it was the first time he'd played Texas Hold'em.
Seventeen years after winning the WSOP, Stu Unger admitted that it was the first time he’d played Texas Hold’em.

Subsequently, some of Anger’s records were broken by other players, but most of the experts consider Stu the best poker player in history. His name is on the Poker Hall of Fame. And yet the game, where you can win with your mind, seemed uninteresting to him. He spent all his money on sports and drugs, which eventually put his heart in the ground and died at the age of 45.

Anonymous Mathematics

One more attempt to crack the probability theory turned out to be a profitable experiment for a group of scientists. The remaining unknown mathematicians began their research by analyzing the results of all sports events in ten years from 2005 to 2015. Scientists loaded into the program not only the outcome of the games, but also the odds that bookmakers offered to bet on each match. The mathematical dependencies revealed indicated that it was possible to predict the results of sports competitions with a high degree of probability. To confirm the theory, it remained to apply the knowledge gained in practice.

For the sake of purity of the experiment it was decided to compare the results of random bets of an ordinary sports fan and a person acting on the deduced system. It turned out that haphazard bets led to the loss of 90% of the funds, and the use of the found patterns allowed to stay in the winnings. At a long distance, the income reached $35 for each hundred put. Learning about the use of a mathematical model, bookmakers sharply limited the maximum amount of bets, and using this method was unprofitable.

Jay Doyne Farmer and Richard Mueller
Jay Doyne Farmer and Richard Mueller

In the 1970s, Professor Jay Doyne Farmer invented a device that allowed him to predict the results of the number fallout on the roulette wheel after the ball was launched. No cheating – just using the laws of physics. The odds of winning were so high that Farmer was quickly banned from most casinos. Subsequently, his colleague, Professor Richard Muller, explained how the device worked. The algorithm is to analyze the speed of rotation of the ball and the roulette wheel.

When a full turn ball passes, a person presses a pedal built into the sole of one shoe and then uses the pedal in another shoe to fix the turn of the roulette wheel itself. This information was sufficient to allow the computer to calculate, with a high degree of probability, in which cell the ball would be placed after the stop. The information was transmitted to the player’s earpiece via radio while the bets were still allowed. Of course, such a device should be calibrated for each roulette table, but this can be done in advance by watching the roulette without playing for money.

To protect against such scammers, the casino employs specialists who monitor the players and expose the impure gamblers. Of course, they do not always manage to expose the methods of the lucky ones, and sometimes the security simply provokes those who are “systematically lucky”. By law, the casino has the right to refuse service to any client without explanation.