Albert Einstein famously studied the game of roulette in an effort to find a way to beat the casino. It didn’t take him long to realize that it couldn’t be done. He eventually said that the only way to beat the casino at roulette was to steal chips when the dealer isn’t looking.
That’s one of the most common roulette cheats you’ll find, although you’ll see variations of it.
One of the first things you must understand about cheating at a casino is that it’s illegal, especially in Las Vegas, Nevada, where it’s a state felony. Smart gamblers, even those with no moral compunctions about cheating, examine the risk/reward ratio in various situations.
When you’re dealing with a potential felony, the risk is very high. In fact, I’d say it’s higher than almost anyone would want to deal with. I don’t want to spend ANY time in prison. Do you?
Also, the amount of money that you could potentially win by cheating at roulette is minor. You’d probably be better off trying to rob a bank.
Various methods of cheating at roulette exist, but none of them are especially exciting. Past posting is one potential way to cheat at roulette.
Past posting is when you change the amount that you bet after the outcome is known. This is hard to pull off, because roulette dealers follow very specific rules in order to prevent this.
For example, you wager $20 on a single number, using four $5 chips. When you see that you’re going to win, you quickly use sleight-of-hand to replace one of those $5 chips with a $20 chip, increasing the amount you’re going to win by a dramatic amount.
But think about this. Even if the croupier doesn’t see you when you’re doing this, the casino has cameras (the “eye in the sky”) which monitor all the action going on at the casino tables below.
Stealing other players’ chips when they’re not looking is another way of cheating, but at most roulette tables, players get chips of a color unique to them. You’ll look pretty silly (and lame) when you try to cash in some other players’ color of chips.
I’ve read about people who think that a device with a laser could estimate the speed of the ball, the speed of the wheel, and predict with a microcomputer where the ball might land. I’m skeptical that this kind of thing would work, but here’s something else to consider.
Using any kind of device to change your outcomes when gambling is a felony. Getting caught with a microcomputer and a laser would guarantee that you’d face expulsion from the casino and probably prosecution, too.
Theoretically, you could become buddies with a roulette croupier and convince him to help you cheat. That might work temporarily, but casino security measures are far more advanced than you might think. Not only would you probably get caught and prosecuted, but your buddy the croupier would probably also get into the same kind of trouble.
How would you collude? The dealer might let you place a better later than you should normally be allowed to, enabling you to place a bet when you have a better idea of the outcome. Or he could “mistakenly” pay out occasional bets that weren’t even winners.
Betting systems like the Martingale system don’t qualify as cheating because they don’t work. You can use the Martingale system to your heart’s content as the casino, because it just consists of raising and lowering your bets based on what happened on the previous spins. The casino doesn’t mind, because they understand that over time the system will lose.
Identifying a biased wheel might seem like cheating, too, but most casinos aren’t concerned about it. It’s not cheating unless you made some change to the wheel yourself, and consider how hard that would be to pull off. You’d only be able to identify a biased wheel by clocking it over a large number of spins.
For you to have any kind of mathematical surety about your results, you’d have to clock a couple thousand spins of the wheel. Most casinos see about 40 spins per hour at a casino roulette wheel, which means you’d have to put in 50 hours of observation before you could even be somewhat sure that the wheel has a bias.
Even then, you might spend 50 hours clocking a wheel only to learn that it’s not biased at all. Or if it biased, it’s not biased enough to get you an edge.
A better approach to beating the casino is to find a legitimate advantage play strategy to use. Which game and which strategy you use will depend on your temperament and talents, but you can get an edge over the casino on at least four games without cheating. These games are:
Getting an edge at blackjack probably means learning how to count cards. Winning at video poker means memorizing the appropriate strategies and finding machines with the right odds. Poker is a lifetime pursuit, but it’s so worth it.
But the biggest money in advantage gambling is in sports betting. If you can find the right situations, you can get a huge edge and put lots of money into action in those situations. Like poker, being a profitable sports bettor is a lifetime endeavor.