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Thread: The professor who beat roulette How a renowned researcher beat the odds, stumped casino owners around the world, and walked away with a fortune.

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    The professor who beat roulette How a renowned researcher beat the odds, stumped casino owners around the world, and walked away with a fortune.

    On a warm night in May of 1969, a throng of awestruck gamblers crowded around a well-worn roulette table in the Italian Riviera.
    At the center stood a gangly 38-year-old medical professor in a rumpled suit. He’d just placed a $100,000 bet ($715,000 in 2019 dollars) on a single spin of the wheel. As the croupier unleashed the little white ball, the room went silent. He couldn’t possibly be this lucky… could he?
    But Dr. Richard Jarecki wasn’t leaving it up to chance. He’d spent thousands of hours devising an ingenious method of winning — and it would soon net him the modern equivalent of more than $8,000,000.
    From Nazi Germany to New Jersey

    Born in 1931 to a Jewish family in Stettin, Germany, Richard Jarecki was thrust into a world in chaos.
    Germany was in the throes of economic hardship, and the Nazi Party was gaining support with an anti-Semitic platform that blamed the country’s ills on Jewish citizens. Jarecki’s parents, a dermatologist and a shipping industry heiress, were gradually stripped of everything they had. Facing internment at the onset of WWII, they fled to America for a better life.
    Hitler touring the streets of Germany in 1938, shortly after the Jarecki family fled the country (Bundesarchiv Bild, via Wikipedia) In New Jersey, the young Jarecki found solace in games like rummy, skat, and bridge, and took great pleasure in “habitually winning money” from friends. Gifted with a brilliant mind that could retain numbers and statistics, he went to study medicine — a noble pursuit that pleased his father.
    As a young man in the ‘50s, Jarecki gained a reputation as one of the world’s foremost medical researchers.
    But he harbored a secret: His true passion lay in the dark, musty halls of casinos.
    The strategy

    Sometime around 1960, Jarecki developed an obsession with roulette, a game where a little ball is spun around a randomly numbered, multi-colored wheel and the player places bets on where it will land.
    Though roulette was considered by many to be purely a game of chance, Jarecki was convinced that it could be “beat.”
    He noticed that at the end of each night, casinos would replace cards and dice with fresh sets — but the expensive roulette wheels went untouched and often stayed in service for decades before being replaced.
    Like any other machine, these wheels acquired wear and tear. Jarecki began to suspect that tiny defects — chips, dents, scratches, unlevel surfaces — might cause certain wheels to land on certain numbers more frequently than randomocity prescribed.
    A roulette wheel Jarecki played on in the ‘60s (Thüringer, Roulette-Forum) The doctor spent weekends commuting between the operating table and the roulette table, manually recording thousands upon thousands of spins, and analyzing the data for statistical abnormalities.
    “I [experimented] until I had a rough outline of a system based on the previous winning numbers,” he told the Sydney Morning Herald in 1969. “If numbers 1, 2, and 3 won the last 3 rounds, [I could determine] what was most likely to win the next 3.”
    Jarecki’s approach wasn’t new: Joseph Jagger, thought to be the “pioneer” of the so-called “biased wheel” strategy, had won hefty sums this way in the 1880s. In 1947, researchers Albert Hibbs and Dr. Roy Walford used the technique to buy a yacht and sail off into the Caribbean sunset. Then, there was Helmut Berlin, an ex-lathe operator who, in 1950, hired a team of cronies to track wheels and made off with $420,000.
    But for Jarecki, it wasn’t about the money: He wanted to perfect the system, repeat it, and “beat” the wheel. It was a matter of man triumphing over machine.
    After months of collecting data, he scraped together $100 (his rainy day savings) and hit the casino. He’d never gambled — and though he trusted his research, he knew he was still up against “the element of chance.”
    In a matter of hours, he flipped his $100 into $5,000 (~$41,000 today). And with this validation, he turned to much higher stakes.

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    extremely cool story!
    "Alexa, slaughter the fatted calf."

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    In the 1970's, I discovered that NFL teams that were favored by 13 points or more usually lost against the spread. I never bet on t though.

    Mark
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    I very much enjoy reading about gambling, playing with the math, and seeing the movies but I've only bet on animals and that's entertainment money.

    I have no interest in actually betting any casino games or slots and none in sports betting, obviously.

    I've known a few people who liked it a bit too much.
    "Alexa, slaughter the fatted calf."

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