Casino & Poker

The Students Who Cracked the Roulette Wheel

It seems to the casual observer, or even the keenest gambler, that the roulette wheel is a machine of total and complete randomness. When a ball spins that fast, tripping over any of the bumpers, and around the wheel until it finds a slot, there could be no system on Earth that could beat the game. Right?

Well maybe not for any human mathematician, statistician, or even psychic. But in the 1970s some clever minds and a hidden computer proved that the roulette wheel is not an unbeatable game.

The Eudaemons were a group of physics grads who wanted to use maths, statistics, and the variables of the wheel’s physical construction to determine a method that would predict the number the ball will land on. This wasn’t out of pure monetary gain, as they wanted to use the cash they won to fund a scientific community. This altruistic aim gave rise to their group’s name, after an Ancient Greek philosophy which values working for the good of mankind.

Before they set foot into any casino, the intrepid bunch spent a few months working on a formula to predict where the ball would land and then another two years to develop the computerised system that would calculate the answer. They made it so that it could be carried without detection, inside a shoe and under clothes. The shoe computer was how the scientist would input the data from observing the roulette wheel in action, using a button under the big toe. Another person at the roulette wheel would wear a device under their shirt with vibrating sensors that would tell them which section of the roulette wheel to place their bet on.

In 1978, the Eudaemons took their new computer for its first run in the field. They went to Las Vegas and set up two members at roulette tables across the city. One to observe and enter the data into the computer and one to place bets, receiving the information via the sensors. It was a success as the computer accurately predicted outcomes often enough for the group to make a profit of 44% for every dollar.

You think that armed with such a tool, they would take to the casinos raising loads of money for science and they would be household names. Some members had already left the project to focus on their studies but it was a technical issue that put a complete stop to the whole thing. Their hidden computer was not perfectly designed and started giving one of the Eudaemons electric shocks under her shirt. At first she kept putting down bets regardless, but it wasn’t until her partner at the roulette table walked away, refusing to input the information, that she stopped herself. She suffered burns and the group disbanded after that.

They were not downhearted by the project coming to an end though. The Eudaemons ended up making around $10,000 all in all and proved that roulette was not immune to statistical predictions. Their work paved the way for data science and predictive analytics for future generations.

If you thought that you hit upon a way to guarantee a win, NetBet’s roulette wheels don’t have the same biases as real ones and are powered by random number generators. The roulette wheel in casinos had long been used as an example of chaos theory in action, but that became a flawed metaphor thanks to the Eudaemons. Then along came internet gambling and chaos reigns once again.