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A High-tech Wheel of Fortune

michael posted about 10 years ago | from the no-whammies dept.

The Almighty Buck 371

tcp writes "The BBC is reporting that the London police have detained three people, for allegedly beating the roulette wheel at a London casino. Using a cell phone, a computer and a laser scanner, they were able to predict where the roulette ball would land, winning more than 1.5 million dollars in the process. This technique was not new, and as I recall was the plot of a movie once. The suspects have not been charged yet. The UK has been behind in bringing their gambling laws to deal with new hi-tech threats unlike the US and Las Vegas."

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Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8691423)

i like poo and so should you

GNAA announces plans to bomb Christmas island (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8691425)

GNAA announces plans to bomb Christmas island
by GNAA Staff
Due to recent AUP policy changes at .cx NIC, one of the key GNAA sponsored websites, http://goatse.cx [goatse.cx] has been found "in violation of .cx AUP policies". This announcement delivered a huge blow to the GNAA organization.
Without goatse.cx, we lose an important piece of GNAA.
"We will not let this happen", GNAA representative goat-see said to the press. "GNAA will begin planning a terrorist attack on the Christmas Islands."
GNAA currently operates a back-up site, also located at the .cx TLD, http://goat.cx [goat.cx] . Users are welcome to use this website while we try to persuade .cx NIC to reinstate goatse.cx domain.
"In the event that our peaceful negotiations will fail, Christmas islands are sure to be gone off the face of this planet", added another GNAA member, penisbird.

If you would like to show support for goatse.cx domain, please visit the following links:
Petition to reinstate goatse.cx [petitiononline.com] (currently down due to attack)
nic.cx feedback forums goatse.cx thread [forum.nic.cx]

Thank you!

excerpt from an irc log

@b- The domain goatse.cx has been found in violation of .cx AUP policies, http://www.nic.cx/policies/pdf/cx.AUP.pdf [www.nic.cx] #5, page 7, and is therefore suspended.
@r- shit, that sucks
*** joey (joey@brodels.gngsta.com) has joined nologin
@s- yea i read, page 7 only talks about payment issues though
@s- nothing about content
@b- ya
@b- im confused too
@s- i dunno what the #5 means
@s- oh i see
@s- Communication publication or distribution of adult or obscene content
@s- or images by way of embedded links in unsolicited email, postings to
@s- news groups, internet forums, notices to instant messaging programs,
@s- where the internet user is not explicitly made aware that by clicking on
@s- the link they would be directly exposed to adult or obscene content.
@b- hah
@b- he'll have to make a splash page
@s- i already put the lawyer warning on there
@p- hah
@b- that amendment to thier AUP
@b- is like 100% goatse
@s- - Over the years we have received numerous complaints of this domain's
@s- - content, but no person filee an AUP violation form against the
@s- - domain. Recently the .cx board met and revised all .cx policies (December
@s- - 2003). One of the .cx policies that has not changed is that each domain
@s- - holder is required to review the policies every thirty days and make sure
@s- - their domain is in compliance (Please read part 1, page 2 of
@s- - http://www.nic.cx/policies/pdf/cx.registration.agr eement.pdf [www.nic.cx] ).
@s- -
@s- - We do not review web sites and cannot ensure every domain holder is in
@s- - compliance. But, if a domain is brought to our attention that fails to
@s- - comply with our policies, we reserve the right to suspend the domain.
@s- -
@s- - I am unclear if you change the content, the suspension might be
@s- - revoked. If you are considering this option, please send a note of inquiry
@s- - to info@nic.cx.
@s- -
@s- - Best Wishes,
@s- -
@s- - Elaine Pruis
This commentary brought to you by a proud GNAA member.

About GNAA
GNAA (GAY NIGGER ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA) is the first organization which
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First, you have to obtain a copy of GAY NIGGERS FROM OUTER SPACE THE MOVIE [imdb.com] and watch it. (Click here [idge.net] to download it using BitTorrent).

Second, you need to succeed in posting a GNAA "first post" on slashdot.org [slashdot.org] , a popular "news for trolls" website

Third, you need to join the official GNAA irc channel #GNAA on EFNet, and apply for membership.
Talk to one of the ops or any of the other members in the channel to sign up today!

If you are having trouble locating #GNAA, the official GAY NIGGER ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA irc channel, you might be on a wrong irc network. The correct network is EFNet, and you can connect to irc.secsup.org or irc.isprime.com as one of the EFNet servers.
If you do not have an IRC client handy, you are free to use the GNAA Java IRC client by clicking here [nero-online.org] .

If you have mod points and would like to support GNAA, please moderate this post up.
By moderating this post as "Underrated", you cannot be Meta-Moderated! Please consider this.

.________________________________________________. fucking
| ______________________________________._a,____ | CmdrTaco
| _______a_._______a_______aj#0s_____aWY!400.___ | will
| __ad#7!!*P____a.d#0a____#!-_#0i___.#!__W#0#___ | he ever learn that
| _j#'_.00#,___4#dP_"#,__j#,__0#Wi___*00P!_"#L,_ | GNAA is totally
| _"#ga#9!01___"#01__40,_"4Lj#!_4#g_________"01_ | unstoppable? Teamed
| ________"#,___*@`__-N#____`___-!^_____________ | up with the other troll groups,
| _________#1__________?________________________ | GNAA will absolutely own
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| ______-"!^____________________________________ | This logo is (C) 2003, 2004 GNAA
` _______________________________________________' [1] [idge.net]

(C) GNAA 2004

$1.5*10^6? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8691428)

After winning $1.5*10^3 you'd think they'd start to get suspicious.

Re:$1.5*10^6? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8691573)

Only a dull mind would put a foreground ergonomic process here.

Re:$1.5*10^6? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8691610)

How's this for a foreground ergonomic process?

. ____
.// ..7
. \ .. \
. .\ .. \
. __\ .. \__
. (,,, \ ,,,)
. \_____\__/

Las Vegas (3, Funny)

ungulation (566406) | about 10 years ago | (#8691429)

unlike the US and Las Vegas ahhh yes... the country of Las Vegas

Re:Las Vegas (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8691441)

while this post was neither particularly funny, nor insightful, i'd like to predict that it gets modded as +5 one or the other if for no other reason than it is a first post.

Re:Las Vegas (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8691540)

Questioning slashdot's moderation system?

Crush The Dissenter!
Crush The Dissenter!
Crush The Dissenter!
Crush The Dissenter!
Crush The Dissenter!


Re:Las Vegas (1, Troll)

Zeinfeld (263942) | about 10 years ago | (#8691710)

This story appeared on the BBC on monday.

There were much more interesting stories in the BBC, like the stident who auctioned her virginity on Ebay and went through with the deal. Or the new British craze of 'Toothing' - using bluetooth cell phones to hook up for casual sex. Or if the only sex stories you find interesting involve pr0n, not real sex the news that Boeing has installed Internet access via WiFi in a number of planes seems pretty interesting to me - like its the story most likely to affect me directly in the next few months.

Instead we get a week old story about a not very original casino fraud. Oh and that fascinating story about mozilla Foxbat changing its name to Motzarellea Fuxbat.

Why were they detained ? (4, Insightful)

Timesprout (579035) | about 10 years ago | (#8691430)

I cant see the problem here. Tough on the Casino if there is a problem with their roulette wheel

Re:Why were they detained ? (2, Interesting)

flewp (458359) | about 10 years ago | (#8691461)

Not sure exactly on the laws, but I'm guessing anytime you try and improve the odds for yourself at a casino it's probably illegal.

Like I said, I have no idea, but maybe also because it's considered fraud in some way?

Re:Why were they detained ? (4, Interesting)

lukewarmfusion (726141) | about 10 years ago | (#8691462)

The problem wasn't with their wheel - it was the fact that the players brought in equipment and used it to cheat.

Some other obvious cheating examples:
-Bringing in cameras and linking them so a player can see his opponent's cards.
-Using a device to let you predict/influence the roll of the dice.
-Hacking a slot machine to produce winning pulls

The point? It's not a flaw with the casino or their equipment - it's a bunch of jackasses trying to cheat.

Re:Why were they detained ? (5, Insightful)

kwandar (733439) | about 10 years ago | (#8691567)

But, they didn't cheat. The croupier turned the wheel and released the ball. All they did was "predict", albiet with the help of some equipment. Isn't that what gambling is about? Predicting?

As the article states, the casino can avoid prediction, by simply spinning the wheel faster.

Re:Why were they detained ? (2, Insightful)

gl4ss (559668) | about 10 years ago | (#8691745)

casino games are not predicting, predicting implies that there would be some way to determine the outcome(which there shouldn't be in casino games).
sports betting is predicting.

casino games are all about 'random'(well, unless you count counting cards in blackjack). at least they're supposed to be(and in some places, this is relevant for taxation as there is no skill involved).

roulette is a fine casino game in the sense that it's possible to choose quite a variety of what chances you're wishing to take(not that it matters anyway).

Re:Why were they detained ? (2, Insightful)

spiritraveller (641174) | about 10 years ago | (#8691757)

All they did was "predict", albiet with the help of some equipment. Isn't that what gambling is about? Predicting?

It is usually illegal to use a "device" other than your brain to help you make bets in a casino.

It's cheating in the same way that it would be cheating if you used a hidden computer to win a chess tournament.

Information and games of 'skill' (4, Interesting)

The Monster (227884) | about 10 years ago | (#8691768)

the casino can avoid prediction, by simply spinning the wheel faster
Here's the problem in a nutshell:
The whole calculation would need to have been completed in just a few seconds, as the dealer cuts off betting after the ball has rolled three times around the wheel.
If the casino would change this rule ever so slightly, and cut off betting before the ball is released, there would be no way anyone could predict where the ball would go. Casinos don't want to do this, however, because it slows down the action, reducing the rate at which money can be extracted from the customers, and quite possibly the interest in the game. Perhaps cutting off at two revolutions would be a good compromise?

Historical quirk: I live in Kansas City, KS. Across the state line in MO there are riverboat casinos that were originally approved under the language that mentioned 'games of skill'. At that time, video draw poker was legal, because of the skill involved in deciding which cards to hold, and which to discard, but not the run-of-the-mill slots (which have since been allowed by changes in the law). At that time, this method of winning at roulette, or card counting at the blackjack table, could not have been opposed by the casinos because they had to maintain the legal theory that skill was involved in these games. The boats in MO quickly adopted rules for the number of decks in the shoe, how far into it a reshuffle is done, and the delta between minimum and maximum bets, so as to make counting irrelevant. I believe those rules remain in effect today...

...because it's easier to just make the method of 'cheating' ineffective than to try to figure out who's doing it.

Re:Why were they detained ? (5, Insightful)

mr_tenor (310787) | about 10 years ago | (#8691571)

I have mod points, but I feel the need to reply here, though it sounds like flamebait.

The 3 other "obvious" emaples you cite are cheating - they circumvent the rules of the guessing competition. Why do you label the actions mentioned in the story as cheating? No rules have been circumvented. All that is being done is making use of the information which is available to everyone in a clever way.

A similar thing happens with card counting in blackjack - all you do is play the game in a smart way instead of blindly guessing. However, the casinos don't want people to do anything other than blindly guess because it means the odds can be tipped in their favour instead of in favour of the house.

Re:Why were they detained ? (1)

mike2R (721965) | about 10 years ago | (#8691695)

Why do you label the actions mentioned in the story as cheating? No rules have been circumvented. All that is being done is making use of the information which is available to everyone in a clever way. ... However, the casinos don't want people to do anything other than blindly guess because it means the odds can be tipped in their favour instead of in favour of the house.

Right, because they would go out of business any other way. There isn't any deception in casino roulette; everyone knows the odds favour the house.

All your interpretation would do is stop casinos being able to offer roulette to their punters - or more likely just control the enviroment in some way to stop people gaming the system. Why bother. A casino is a place where, on average, you lose.

I'm all for supporting the little guy against all those nasty corporations/governments/black helicopters etc. but this is silly.

Re:Why were they detained ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8691697)

In Blackjack, even if you can count cards (which is pretty much impossible with multiple decks), the odds are very barely tipped in your favour. 51-49 against the house basically. And it depends on the specific rules too, like if doubling down can be done, etc.

Re:Why were they detained ? (3, Insightful)

WalksOnDirt (704461) | about 10 years ago | (#8691752)

Casinos love card counters, most of them that is.

Counting cards is hard, and a lot harder when you are actually in the casino than when you are practicing at home.

Most card counters are easily spotted, but only the few who are able to win get banned.

Re:Why were they detained ? (3, Insightful)

mlippert (526036) | about 10 years ago | (#8691769)

Actually I don't even think all of those other methods of cheating are actually cheating.

Some other obvious cheating examples:
  • Bringing in cameras and linking them so a player can see his opponent's cards.
  • Using a device to let you predict/influence the roll of the dice.
  • Hacking a slot machine to produce winning pulls

Cheating involves breaking the rules of the game.

The 1st example is cheating because you the rules specifically forbid you from circumventing your opponents ability to prevent you from seeing his cards.

The 2nd example is both cheating and not cheating. A device that influences the roll of the dice is cheating, a device that helps you predict the roll of the dice is not.

The 3rd example is also clearly cheating because hacking a slot machine is clearly changing the rules of the game. However having a device that could let you know if a slot machine was close to paying off would not be cheating.


Re:Why were they detained ? (1)

Z-MaxX (712880) | about 10 years ago | (#8691649)

This brings up an interesting question in my mind: what happens when science makes a few more advances and we have blind people receiving artificial eyes? There will surely be some computation happening between the sensors and the person's optical nerves or brain. Maybe that computer can be programmed to do some physics calculations, and display the results to that person directly.

It won't be too far off that we have this kind of augmentation of the human body, I think. Will it be illegal for people with "seeing aids" to gamble in a casino?

Laws to protect obsolete business (4, Interesting)

Sloppy (14984) | about 10 years ago | (#8691709)

Will it be illegal for people with "seeing aids" to gamble in a casino?
The problem is that any of this "cheating" is illegal at all. Gambling is based on the premise of lacking information, but technology is making information easier to get.

So what we have here are laws that are designed to protect an obsolete business model from technology. And yet: these laws have nothing to do with protecting anyone from force or fraud.

Wait a minute .. why isn't it fraud?

It's not fraud because the little gambler never asserted that he promises to remain stupid and not make use of information, or to not do anything that will help him. (What's next, are you going to make it illegal to cross your fingers and pray?) It's not like the other consenting partner in the gamble, isn't making use of a shitload of information and technology against him. And it isn't as though the other partner doesn't doesn't already have odds on their side. So the very premise that 'fairness' has somehow been compromised, is laughable.

The fact is: some forms of gambling have been made obsolete, and we're propping them up with legislation. That doesn't smell good, to me. And it sets a really lousy precedent. If gambling can be propped up, then other industries can be, too.

Re:Why were they detained ? (1)

John Hasler (414242) | about 10 years ago | (#8691468)

I agree. I see no crime here. It's up to the casinos to enforce their rules.

Re:Why were they detained ? (2, Interesting)

lukewarmfusion (726141) | about 10 years ago | (#8691504)

That's the kind of attitude that reinforces the vigilante methods that many casinos have used in the past. Cheating laws can help protect the cheater... casinos know that they can turn to the law for help dealing with these jackasses, and the jackasses don't end up in a dumpster.

Re:Why were they detained ? (3, Interesting)

jrockway (229604) | about 10 years ago | (#8691659)

I don't want my tax dollars to be spent prosecuting "cheaters". I don't give a flying fuck if someone rips off those cheats (the casinos). The casinos can use their paid security guards ("loss prevention engineers") to kick/ban cheaters. That's fine with me. They can spend THEIR money so they can make money. They CANNOT spend _my_ money so that they may be profitable. How could anyone disagree!?

And if a cheater ends up in a dumpster, that's murder. Whomever did that should be executed. I don't mind paying for that.

I know... (5, Insightful)

lukewarmfusion (726141) | about 10 years ago | (#8691431)

Don't gamble.

If you can find a way to improve your chances, it's probably against the rules. The only game I'm aware of that has a better than 50% chance of winning (against the house, that is) is blackjack.

Winning big (and often) on roulette raises eyebrows right away. They could have at least tried to beat a game that wasn't quite so obvious.

Re:I know... (5, Informative)

mrscorpio (265337) | about 10 years ago | (#8691456)

There isn't a better than 50% chance of winning if you don't count cards. If you play absolutely perfect non-card-counting strategy, your chances of winning are 49 1/2%.

Even the most basic of card counts gives you a slight advantage (1/4 to 1/2%), however. You have to be very patient and wait for a good shoe, however.


Re:I know... (5, Insightful)

LostCluster (625375) | about 10 years ago | (#8691477)

A game with a .25% advantage in favor of the player would still require a high number of games be played before the player is assured victory. The game could take a random walk unfavorable to the player, just like some lucky people can win big despite playing blackjack poorly according to book logic just because they happened to hit a random walk in their favor.

Re:I know... (2, Informative)

Monkelectric (546685) | about 10 years ago | (#8691645)

Actually, thats called your ROR -- risk of ruin. Its a percentage that quantifies the risk that you'll loose all your money (down 100%) before you'll double it (up 100%). Obviously the higher your bank roll, the lower your ROR.

I dont think card counting is really an issue anymore as *VERY* few casinos still play with one deck. Most play with 6 - 8 decks at once which lowers the gain from card counting to almost nothing.

Re:I know... (1)

fm6 (162816) | about 10 years ago | (#8691758)

What's the point of waiting for a good shoe? They can spot a card counter and just change the shoe once a hand.

Besides, if you can count the cards in a typical LV shoe without going bonkers, you're probably autistic or something...

Re:I know... (2, Insightful)

Dorothy 86 (677356) | about 10 years ago | (#8691624)

Statistically, its almost correct, but in blackjack the house will always win eventually... the trick is not more difficult than quitting when you get ahead. In blackjack, he house is at the advantage, at every turn. This however doesn't guarentee a win. So play statistical odds, and leave the table when you get to a preset goal. The only real way to win gambling, is to have discipline. or sheer luck.

Re:I know... (1)

Wakkow (52585) | about 10 years ago | (#8691698)

I don't have any numbers to back this up, but I thought Craps had the best odds..

cardcounting favors the casinos (1)

spiritraveller (641174) | about 10 years ago | (#8691702)

First of all, I don't know what kind of advantage you are talking about. Even in the most favorable of games, using the most complex card-counting system, your advantage at blackjack isn't going to be more than a few percentage points. As a team working covertly you might get a 50% advantage, but on your own there's no way.

Second, to get that advantage, you have to make no mistakes. NONE. You have to play for weeks to overcome the standard deviation (assuming you even have enough money to stay in play). And if you don't play perfectly, you will either not make money, or worse, you will lose it.

Casinos love the "blackjack myth" because it draws more suckers to the tables.

If you want to beat someone at gambling, why would you pick an opponent who has more than a lifetime of experience? The casinos have been making money for a very long time.

Tipping the odds in your favor... (4, Interesting)

centralizati0n (714381) | about 10 years ago | (#8691434)

Remember, once you have a large enough amount of capital, any advantage over 50% is garaunteed to make you money. IIRC, the Wired article on the MIT blackjack card counters said that they had quite a "low" advantage over the casino (one that seems insignificant to a lot of people), but because of the money that was invested, they were able to win over the casino in a big way.

Re:Tipping the odds ...(have billions of $?) (4, Informative)

G4from128k (686170) | about 10 years ago | (#8691622)

Remember, once you have a large enough amount of capital, any advantage over 50% is garaunteed to make you money.

This is true, but you need to have amounts of money approaching or exceeding the capitalization of the casino (the ratio of the sizes is important). IIRC, big casinos are usually capitalized at over $10 billion to avoid the problem of losing streaks. With a only a slight advantage and a modest starting stake, too many random walks of bets end in gambler's ruin. And if you pick a tiny casino, then the most you can win is modest. (And if you pick any casino, they will throw you out if you win too much.)

Re:Tipping the odds in your favor... (1)

jhoger (519683) | about 10 years ago | (#8691638)

If you have 'enough capital' you can just double down on your losses... you'll always come out ahead... eventually. You don't even need even odds.

Gets expensive kinda fast though ;-)

Doesn't work. (2, Informative)

Eevee (535658) | about 10 years ago | (#8691655)

It's a classic suckers bet. You'll run out of money or hit the table limit eventually. This is where probability theory comes in handy.

Re:Tipping the odds in your favor... (5, Funny)

Sponge Bath (413667) | about 10 years ago | (#8691691)

... once you have a large enough amount of capital, any advantage over 50% is garaunteed to make you money.

If you have that much capital, then to hell with the gambling. Go get some hookers!

My theory of roulette (1)

way2trivial (601132) | about 10 years ago | (#8691754)

let's say bet size range is 25-400$
you need about 100$

step (1) bet 25$ on black, if you win, step 1 else step 2

step (2) bet 50$ on black, if you win, step 1 else step 3

step (3) bet 100$ on black, if you win, step 1 else step 4

step (4) bet 200$ on black, if you win, step 1 else step 5

step (5) bet 400$ on black, if you win, step 1 else leave casino, you just managed to beat one in 32 odds (give or take)

every time you hit, you are ahead 25 dollars.

that's new... (5, Interesting)

ruebarb (114845) | about 10 years ago | (#8691436)

I've seen computerized card counters - but being able to read a roulette wheel, that's something...

some people who would consider themselves professionals do the same thing by eye - make a guesstimate based on when the roulette employee releases the ball - but to do it with computers - well, that's just wrong :)

but if it ain't illegal, it'll be hard to prosecute - it's like counting cards...not illegal, but you'll get your butt booted from the casino pronto -


Re:that's new... (5, Interesting)

LostCluster (625375) | about 10 years ago | (#8691608)

It depends from jurisdiction to jurisdiction what casinos are allowed to do with players they don't like, such as card counters...

In Las Vegas, for example, they can simply tell a card counter they're no longer welcome there and force them to leave. In Atlantic City, they cannot, but they are allowed to annoy a card counter out of their casino with tactics such as a shuffle after every hand.

how is this possible? (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8691442)

in most casinos they call no more bets before you can tell where the ball will fall. this doesn't sound plausible.

Re:how is this possible? (1)

arhca (653190) | about 10 years ago | (#8691495)

They calculate the speed of the ball, and the speed of the wheel, and calculate what area the ball will land in.

Re:how is this possible? (2, Informative)

shaunyb (646779) | about 10 years ago | (#8691615)

the phone was (allegedly) hooked up to a machine outside the building. the information (speed of ball, speed of wheel, location of ball, etc) was passed to the machine, which made a prediction of the sector (not the actual slot) the ball would land in, and fed that sector back to the phone.

Physics can solve anything if it has all the info (5, Interesting)

LostCluster (625375) | about 10 years ago | (#8691443)

Randomness is really sometimes just a proxy for "too complex to be understood". Afterall, in any form of mixing bin, all of the balls inside do have to obey the laws of physics. If you knew the starting positions and details about all of the activities that are going on in the bin, you could possibly solve for which ball is going to be the one selected.

That's why it's essential that some details of the mixing situation should not be disclosed to the public while betting is still going on. I think what makes most daily blower-bin based lotto games unpredictible is the fact that the exact to-the-nanosecond time at which the bin is opened is being determined by a presenter who is also responsible for talking at the same time. Therefore, they can't possibly have enough control of their hands know what exactly their influence on the outcome is going to do. Since nobody else can really predict down to the fraction of a second what the presenter is going to do, everybody's on a level playing field.

I think the ultimate solution to this roulette wheel issue will be to call a stop to betting before the ball and wheel are put into motion. Therefore, by the time the information needed to determine the result of this spin is available, it will be too late to act upon it.

Re:Physics can solve anything if it has all the in (5, Insightful)

FyRE666 (263011) | about 10 years ago | (#8691584)

If you knew the starting positions and details about all of the activities that are going on in the bin, you could possibly solve for which ball is going to be the one selected.

Unfortunately though, we live in an analogue World. It's impossible to specify the exact position of anything in relation to anything else ;-) So although you may be able to predict the positions of the balls over a very short space of time, the inaccuracies would mount until your predicted results bore no resemblance to reality...

Re:Physics can solve anything if it has all the in (2, Insightful)

LostCluster (625375) | about 10 years ago | (#8691712)

Yes, but given the odds paid in this game, if any player can sucessfully predict any three spots where the ball won't land, they will have done enough to create a player advantage.

Re:Physics can solve anything if it has all the in (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8691751)

But, theoretically, IF you knew with precision, the exact locations and other qualities of all the subatomic particles that comprise the atoms that make up the molecules that make up the material of the balls and cage, and you knew precisely the speed and direction of the air blowing up into the cage,and all the details of the atoms inthat moving air, etc, etc, etc, then you could predict what would happen.

The problem is, we can never know enough. We can know a little, and make a few crude, short-term predictions, but we never know enough to make accurate, longer term predictions.

I think the ability to know ALL the variables is what makes someone God.

Re:Physics can solve anything if it has all the in (3, Informative)

mdwh2 (535323) | about 10 years ago | (#8691627)

But you can't get all the information (uncertainty principle), and in any chaotic system, even small errors in the initial state will blow up exponentially.

Re:Physics can solve anything if it has all the in (4, Insightful)

RogerWilco (99615) | about 10 years ago | (#8691661)

Your comment is only valid in a linear process. You always have some measuring error, if only the size of an atom. in a linear process this is no big problem as small measuring errors only give a small deviation in the result. In non-linear processes a small variation can have a large difference in the result. This behaviour described by chaos theory mathematics.
The most famous example is the weather, were a butterfly flapping it's wings in the Amazone could theoretically cause a violent storm in Brittain. This mathematician in the first Jurassic parc film also tries to explain it, using drops flowing down from a hand.

I think balls in a bin are a chaotic process.

Re:Physics can solve anything if it has all the in (2, Funny)

the_twisted_pair (741815) | about 10 years ago | (#8691725)

Corollary: it's possible to derive an easily-memorized algorithm for consistently beating the House at Roulette... that only works for spherical cows in a vacuum.

they earnt it! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8691445)

They deserve that money! How is what they did illegal? please someone explain why someone who had an extra few gizmos assisting them suddenyl so wrong. HMPH!

Re:they earnt it! (1, Flamebait)

Jim_Hawkins (649847) | about 10 years ago | (#8691611)

It was illegal because they exploited the system.

It's kind of like hacking (to relate it back to Slashdot terms). Yeah...the computer(wheel) has flaws, but that doesn't make it okay to use them to your advantage.

Re:they earnt it! (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 10 years ago | (#8691656)

What "system"? Since when is a casino's right to win people's money protected by law? They didn't exploit the system, they accurately predicted the behavior of a physical object (roulette wheel). If this allows them to win the game, then great. If the casino doesn't like this, then they're free to remove the roulette game from their casino, or simply refuse service to these people (most businesses are allowed to refuse service to people as long as they're not discriminating based on race, gender, etc.).

Re:they earnt it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8691693)

Using the same logic Casino exploits system of propablity to get money from customers. Thus Casio leaders should be jailed?

Re:they earnt it! (1)

jrockway (229604) | about 10 years ago | (#8691730)

Are you exploiting the system when you clip coupons, too? Those prices are meant to ensure the viability of the food company. Taking the 20% off is raping society, dudes. Oh wait. No.

Seriously, if the game can be exploited by a person (or his computer) then the game is no good. The casinos have no right to make money. If the want money, they should invent a better game!

(And this is NOT like computer hacking. That's like entering someone's home through their unlocked door [actually, it's like hacking into a computer. that's why it's computer hacking and not robbery.. but anyway]. This is more like coming late to class everyday because you know your professor will be later. :D)

How bizarre! (4, Interesting)

Sitnaltax (178828) | about 10 years ago | (#8691446)

If the wheel was less than perfectly random, it is the casino that was cheating, not the patrons. So why are they the ones who have been detained?

Re:How bizarre! (5, Informative)

evil_roy (241455) | about 10 years ago | (#8691499)

It's not about the wheel being less than perfect. This sort of problem becomes obvious.

If you know the wheel speed and the entry quadrant of the ball then you can calculate the probability of the resulting quadrant.

Since the table is laid out in numerical order, with groupings that do not allow betting on wheel sectors, you have to quickly spread chips across the numbers that this system selects.

This must all be done very quickly. It has been done before without the phoone/camera - but yoy still need a spotter to communicate with the person placing the chips.

Three things that make this a short term proposition - you need a spotter and a gambler and a covert means of communication , you need to have the ammo to bet consistently for a long time, it is easy to detect - start winning consistently at roulette and a lot of eyes will be watching.

US and Las Vegas? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8691451)

Did Las Vegas finally become an independent country?

Bringing Down the house (5, Informative)

scrimpygamer (762854) | about 10 years ago | (#8691460)

Anyone ever read the book "Bringing Down the House" by Ben Mezrich? It's an excellent read and follows the theme of this story (people beating the casino / gambling system). I think it's a little bit more sophisticated in that the characters in the book were more involved in social engineering / hacking and weren't reliant on machines to help accomplish their goal. Might be offtopic but I thought people might like to read it. I really enjoyed it :)

Eudaemonic Pie not Bringing Down the house (5, Informative)

HughsOnFirst (174255) | about 10 years ago | (#8691519)

The book you want to read is "eudaemonic pie"
It's about some kids who did this back in the 70s.
The article interviewed one of them.
Roulette isn't random, you have to have a real ball released at a real time and place at a real velocity.
Same for the wheel.

Re:Eudaemonic Pie not Bringing Down the house (1)

scrimpygamer (762854) | about 10 years ago | (#8691547)

Thanks ;) I'll have to look into that. All these kinds of books and stories fascinate me. I think it's pretty cool how people come up with this stuff, I mean I was good at math but I don't think I could come up with formula's to describe things the way these guys do .

Re:Eudaemonic Pie not Bringing Down the house (1)

tmhsiao (47750) | about 10 years ago | (#8691596)

Unfortunately, Eudaemonic Pie has been out of print for a while...

Break their fingers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8691463)

...but do it in the backroom.

That'll put a stop to such cheating.

hungarians (4, Interesting)

boldi (100534) | about 10 years ago | (#8691466)

Actually their said one beutyful girl was from Hungary with two serb guys. They said they used a mobile-shaped laser-scanning device, but they don't know if it is prohibited.

in hungarian.

Later they said, that this device cannot exist, as such a device would be least a pc large and needs a calibration of some hours and at least NASA technique to make it.

So at last, they said, that there are a number of people who actually can figure out what is the winning number from the spinning of the wheel by her own eye.

The article also mentions, that after all, they don't really need to now the EXACT target of the ball, if they can close out 2 numbers, they can earn an average of 3% per round.

So anyway, it's a weird weird story with SCI-FI elements...

Monty Python anyone? (2, Funny)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | about 10 years ago | (#8691469)

Two Serbian men, aged 38 and 33, and a Hungarian woman aged 32 have been released on bail until 30 March.

Well, if she hadn't been arrested for cheating at the casino, she probably would have been arrested at the tobacconist [uibk.ac.at] anyway...

My Hovercraft... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8691742)

is full of eels!!

Well you know one thing (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8691472)

British gambling laws from 1845 are currently in the process of being redrafted to bring them up to date with 21st Century gaming.

I bet it's illegal to duel in the casino & you have to leave your hired help in the coat room.

Re:Well you know one thing (1, Insightful)

benk (93688) | about 10 years ago | (#8691556)

Now let's see, how many decades before 1845 was the US Constitution drafted...

Idiots. (4, Interesting)

Coryoth (254751) | about 10 years ago | (#8691476)

You don't win big when you've got a good scam like that. It's tempting, but really, you just shouldn't do it, it's a dead give away.

Worst case I ever heard of: A guy who had worked on PNRGs for casinos (yes, way back when such things were deemed good enough) decided to cash in, so he got together with a friend and wrote a quick program to sync in the the PRNG given a reasonable number of inputs. The PRNGs were mostly (and still are sometimes!) used for the keno games. He had his friend up in the hotel room with a laptop, and phoned up the numbers from a few rounds of keno. They got what seemed to be a reasonable sync, so he put a massive amount of cash predicting the next 10 numbers in order (which has stupendous returns (naturally)). Bang, up come all 10 numbers, in order. The police arrested his accomplice in the hotel room about 10 minutes later...


Re:Idiots. (4, Informative)

LostCluster (625375) | about 10 years ago | (#8691517)

One of the key elements of the MIT Blackjack scheme was that taken as individuals, each member of the team behaved like a typical casino customer. The spotters played a consistant value at the tables they were playing. When they spotted good cards due, instead of increasing their own bets like an individual counter would, they signaled for a "whale player" to come in and make a few big bets, which is what rich people tend to do at a casino as well.

Any analysis looking for individual card counters would turn up nothing interesting going on... and trying to determine that a team was in play posed the problem of identifying team members while there was noise from other casino customers moving through the same tables.

Re:Idiots. (1)

jrockway (229604) | about 10 years ago | (#8691694)

I hate things like this. What crime did they commit? How did their actions harm society?

They wrote the PNRG, they made no guarantee that it was good. Besides, even if they didn't write it, it's still easy to analyze. There's pretty much one good algorithm (linear congruential), and all you need are a few numbers to guess the whole sequence. Anyway, these people are not criminals. Criminals commit crimes. These people solved a two-variable equation...

Re:Idiots. (1)

Coryoth (254751) | about 10 years ago | (#8691714)

They broke the contract involving confidentiality they signed when working for the company that wrote the PRNG fir starters,

I believe some sort of fraud charges also resulted.


WoM (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8691496)

wheel of morality turn turn turn, tell us the message that we should learn.

Oh.. (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8691512)

So Locutus of Borg isn't allowed to play as well?

Eudaemonic Pie (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8691516)

A group of students from Santa Cruz solved the physics of roulette back in the 1970's. See the Book [amazon.com] (amazon.com).

FUCKERS (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8691544)

These fuckers are screwing up the god damn economy. I hope they throw their ass in jail! How dare they try to beat a big corporation!

vote Haliburton / Enron in 2004!

Character set problems (-1, Redundant)

dtobias (262347) | about 10 years ago | (#8691554)

The linked article seems to be having some character set conversion problems... its opening paragraph says "An alleged high-tech roulette scam that saw three people walk out of a London casino with y1.3 million recently sounds too implausible even for a movie plot", with an accented "y" where there apparently should have been a British pound sign.

The site developers aren't very well-versed on character encoding standards, obviously, as also shown from their use of the bogus numeric reference • (characters from 128 through 159 are actually control characters in the Unicode set, regardless of what Microsoft thinks).

More info:
http://webtips.dan.info/char.html [dan.info]
http://mailformat.dan.info/body/charsets.html [dan.info]

FUCK OFF ASSHOLE (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8691564)

makes a change (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8691561)

seeing as casinos are just designed to rob money from the patrons

A friend of mine had a job at the casino (4, Interesting)

melted (227442) | about 10 years ago | (#8691579)

And guess what, he was the guy who throws the ball. He says that he could throw the ball with such a precision that it would fall within a very small range of numbers from the target and most of the time it would fall onto whatever number he wanted. There are at least a few folks like this in any casino. Floor manager brings them in when someone starts winning REAL big to "reduce the odds".

He said the only way to win on roulette more or less reliably is to play against the guy who has more money than you. If the guy selects some numbers or colors, put your money onto opposite colors and numbers that are far from his numbers if possible. The guy will throw a ball in such a way as to screw the guy who put the most money into the game. :-)

US Rules (0, Flamebait)

Jim_Hawkins (649847) | about 10 years ago | (#8691592)

The UK has been behind in bringing their gambling laws to deal with new hi-tech threats unlike the US and Las Vegas.

Heh...the good ol' U.S. Where murderers, drug dealers and rapists get away every day - but if you steal from Vegas, you're going down.

read "the eudaemonic pie" by thomas a. bass (4, Insightful)

drfireman (101623) | about 10 years ago | (#8691599)

Thomas A. Bass wrote a pretty good book on this. I think it's out of print at the moment, but Amazon seems to list it as shipping, so who knows. It's called "The Eudaemonic Pie." It's a far better book than the recent Mezrich book on blackjack. The teams Mezrich describes were basically working some old and well-known techniques that they didn't themselves invent (despite Mezrich's heroic efforts to make them seem like geniuses). The folks described in the Bass book are much more interesting people, doing much more interesting things. The Bass book has good hack content, the Mezrich book has little if any.

As an aside... If you really want to play an advantage game in a casino, try a game where you don't play against the house. Like poker.

Re:read "the eudaemonic pie" by thomas a. bass (3, Informative)

eclectro (227083) | about 10 years ago | (#8691676)

Highly entertaining read. You can find if here [amazon.com]

This was done at the only time it could be done, as casinoes eventually caught on to others with "shoe computers". They were taken to a back room and their equipment "confiscated".

You could actually buy shoe computers ready made for this purpose in the early eighties.

Casinoes now (and have had for quite some time) equipment that can detect your shoe computer via the hash it generates. Also there are scramblers that generate an RF field that can cause computers to glitch.

I believe the shoe computer in the book was based on the venerable 6502 microprocessor (at least at first anyway).

Wearable computers are all descended from this.

Fuck Em (4, Insightful)

Monkelectric (546685) | about 10 years ago | (#8691602)

Does anyone have ANY sympathy for the gambling industry? Living within 100 miles of 8 or so indian casinos in southern california, I have seen first hand that gambling is as destructive as drugs, alcoholism and tobacco.

Simpler way to win at roulette... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8691603)

Leave the technology at home and tip well. You'll win a little, but not a suspicious amount.

Been done before in 1873 (5, Informative)

niittyniemi (740307) | about 10 years ago | (#8691609)

Beating the odds on a roulette wheel has been done before and was done most famously by "the man who broke the bank at Monte Carlo" Joseph Jaggers [wikipedia.org] . He made $450,000 which in 1873 was a LOT of money.

AFAIK in order to circumvent predicting the numbers by this method, the casinos regularly move the wheels from one table to another. The act of moving the wheel throws the predictors off aswell as changing any possible bias in the wheel.

This newer technique seems better, although it seems that you have to know the coefficient of friction between ball and wheel which I suppose could vary enough between each wheel to throw of your calculations.

Ahhh....The silly world of gambling regulations.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8691616)

They're allowed to remove money from your pocket -- the moment you start removing money from theirs, you're banned/jailed, etc.

Ain't it grand?

Other details (1, Informative)

DRUNK_BEAR (645868) | about 10 years ago | (#8691621)

Further details can be found on New Scientist [newscientist.com]

Re:Other details (1)

DRUNK_BEAR (645868) | about 10 years ago | (#8691632)

oups, sorry for the duplicate... the link on NS didn't work for me the first time, but accessing the site directly, I was able to get it. Didn't realize it was the same as in the main article. I'm sleeping...

It's all about ball control... (5, Interesting)

jsinnema (135748) | about 10 years ago | (#8691634)

Ball Control

Although no casino will admit to its existence and very few dealers will nod in acknowledgement, this method is very powerful and easy to disguise. One cannot deny that a roulette event is heavily influenced by a human dealer. After all, it is the dealer who kicks up the rotor speed and launches the little white ball isn't it? These actions definitely affect where the ball will land. And after years of repeatedly spinning, the dealer develops what athletes call "muscle memory" or a consistent delivery system. I will admit it to you right here, as someone who has dealt the game of roulette, SOME DEALERS CAN CONSCIOUSLY INFLUENCE THE RESULT OF THE GAME. There, I said it! I know that deflectors may knock a ball off its original course or the ball may spatter when it crosses onto the rotor and hits a pocket fret, but even if a skilled dealer could navigate around the heavily bet sectors on the wheel only 10% of the time, the casino's edge would be 100% for those spins! The house's edge would then be [(9) x 5.26% + (1) x 100.00%] all divided by 10. This averages out to a whooping 14.73 % edge! To further add to this dilemma, there is no way to prove that the dealer is trying to cheat you, unless you can read minds! My general observations have led me to believe that "male" roulette dealers are more territorial. If you begin to win steadily at their tables, they feel challenged and may spin against you... that is unless you're a shapely female wearing a low-cut dress. I've also seen first-generation immigrants working as dealers, who are staunchly loyal to their new employers. If the issue of ball control troubles you, you can simply wait for the dealer to spin before placing your bets. You might actually turn this technique in your favor. If you recognize a skillful dealer and can build a rapport with him or her, you may be able to exploit their ability. One way to induce a dealer into hitting your number is to bet a sector or continuous section on the rotor of say, five pockets. Place a toke out for the dealer on the number situated at the sector's center. The dealers seem to appreciate a crack at collecting 35 times their original toke if they exhibit some control. If they miss your center number by one or two pockets, then you still win on the neighbors contained in that sector.

Source [roulette2002.com]

Odds (2, Funny)

Lakedemon (761375) | about 10 years ago | (#8691637)

We mathematicians made sure that the games in the casino would steal the customers blind, well with a quite high probability anyway.

You can't win against maths (Any Teenager in any school knows that... ^_^).

So, feel free to play if you want to get poorer...
And feel free to cheat if you want to end up dead/in jail...

The technology involved... (1, Interesting)

the_twisted_pair (741815) | about 10 years ago | (#8691640)

..is only part of the story; it's not the first time people have tried taking-on gambling houses.

The bit that defeats me is the nerve to attempt the sting - and for large stakes. Face it, when large sums of money are in play, people get protective about it. I'd expect that's why this was tried in the UK, despite lower potential returns than the big US casino scene; in the UK outfitting unwanted punters with concrete boots is comparatively rare...

Then again, I wouldn't be surprised if gang money was behind developing this little con.

Casino Hacking (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8691662)

The greatest hack I ever pulled off involved an online casino. The casino used a Java applet for the gaming - everything from Blackjack to slot machines. Bored on a weeknight, I downloaded the Java applet (JAR file) to my computer and used a java decompiler to restore the original source code. Unfortunately, the code was obfuscated, but what I found next surprises me to this day. The java applet was using the client machine to generate the random numbers used in many of the games, namely the slot machine. I modified the code slightly to increase the chances of winning on the slot machine and then recompiled the code. There was a small problem, however. The code was written so that a response from the client to the server was sent indicating how much was bet, the payout and the winning combination (or hand). Thus, it was possible for them to statistically analyze my gamblings and calculate that I was winning more than I should have been. So instead of winning of the slot machine, I would win at Blackjack by modifying the code to display on screen what the dealer's cards were, and what the next card in the deck was. Thus, it was possible for me to decide on when to hit and when to stand. I will not tell you how much I won but I will tell you that I have never been caught.

I don't think this is right... (4, Interesting)

evilviper (135110) | about 10 years ago | (#8691701)

I don't think it's right for casinos to do this.

You might as well outlaw all ways that people try to give themselves better odds. Those who go to certain slot machines (that have been loosing for a long time) should be illegial, since it is a way people try to improve their odds.

People playing blackjack should be thrown out if they stay at a pre-set number (eg. 17 or 18).

My point is that it should not be illegial to beat the house... But that seems to be the way it is. There is no consistency in the rules of what is and is not acceptible at a casion, EXCEPT that you are doing something wrong if you win.

Counting cards with a computer could be reasonably considered illegial, but how about those that do so without computer assistance?

People should be able to sue a casio that throws them out (when they are winning) without any proof that they are cheating.

You can still bet after the ball is released? (2, Interesting)

jayveekay (735967) | about 10 years ago | (#8691704)

cell phones [...] used to determine the ball's speed if buttons on the phones were pressed when the ball was released and then after one revolution

As a non-gambler, I know nothing about how roulette is played. From the article it seems to imply that you can wait for the ball to be released, observe the course of ball and wheel, do the math to predict the outcome, and then place your bet. Is that correct, or have I misunderstood? Common sense would seem to require that all bets be placed prior to the ball and wheel being put in (randomized) motion to prevent just that sort of thing.

Does a horse track still take bets as the steeds enter the final stretch?

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