A Story about Probability

Hi Hi
I like to share a true story, that came to mind in my studies of Poker Math.

A part of my degree i took courses in probability and statistics (SPSS). before I came engrossed into NLH i studied and played a lot of live BlackJack, I good at it, with optimal play, staying focused and sober i can keep the house edge at 0.5% at our local casinos. In fact in Vegas at Treasure Island get liberal BJ rules (dealer stand on soft 17 and BJ still pay 3-2, and can double on any hole cards… so edge gets closer to 0.25% but need play $25 min)

Few years ago I was out with a friend for dinner in a restaurant in Vancouver. In the hallway by the bathrooms I found a wide, heavy gold band with a diamond in it. I turned it into the staff. It was late and we were nearly ready to leave when an old guy in white cook uniform come to us. It was his ring and he worked a cook helper in the kitchen. He incredibly appreciate. Seems ring from his dead wife and mean very much to him. Restaurant about to close and he ask buy us a drink and join at table. His name was Klaus. He very sweet fascinating guy and when it become 2-3 drinks we talked lots. He say at end of month he moving to Las Vegas to retire. Said he spent last few years develop roulette betting system, to pay his retirement. My ears perk up. I studied roulette and various systems. I consider roulette a scam with house edge on even money bets about 5 1/4%. Klaus explain with his pension, all he want do is win $200 each day. He saved up $22,000 for this adventure. His pension cover more than his rent, he goin live in basement suite of his brother-in law. He tell us his secret cause i returned his ring.

Simply is…
Each day go to any casino. Watch a roulette wheels, wait and when it go 5 times in a row same colour (say red)… bet next spin $200 on black. If win he go home, be done for day. If he lose, he bet black again $400 and if lose next $800 etc until win $200 and go home.

I a dubious girl and ask if he know power of doubling. Like the fable of a peasant ask reward of the emperor - one grain of rice on first square of chess board, then double each square… so 1 grain, 2, 4, 8 etc… by square 64… results in more rice than is on the planet earth?
Or if i want work for you 5 weeks and i say pay me this ok? - first day 1 cent, then for each next days keep double it.
By week five it over 1 million dollars lol?
I ask what of table limits?
He say in Vegas he can play at certain tables have $10,000 max. I say, ok what happens when you hit that max? He say you just need ask they raise the limit. And in his years of recording roulette spins, that so so so seldom where same colour comes 10x a row. Says odds of that like be hit by lightning.
hummm… i take a napkin and write it out. By spin 6 you at table max… if they allow you, by spin 7 you bet $12,800 to make $200 and your odds be about 46%, there are two green zeros. (and if you have monies and they allow spin 8 be $25,600 omg)
He no convinced. We end it by him give me his b-inlaw phone number so when i come Vegas that Spring for a wedding we get together.

That Spring i catch up with Klaus. Best was he show me good eat places. The buffet at Main Street Station (downtown) wow spectacular and cost dinner $11.99, and in NY NY i had the best burger ever had at Shake Shack under $10. Plus enjoy $1 beer at Casino Royale. All great, I was stay at the Wynn and you need a bank loan to eat or drink there hahaha. Anyway Klaus was doin fine and his scheme was work well, he happy and enjoy LV on $200 a day spending money. Other than his scheme, he gamble zero.

This year I was in Vegas in May. I try contact Klaus. No luck - talk his b-inlaw. Klaus lost all his savings and returned Canada. Wow, that so sad. I cringe and shiver imagine Klaus at the roulette, bets what left his life savings to win the elusive $200 cries

This come to mind in my study of poker math, EV and odds. I need remember probability is predicted outcomes over an infinite number of events, more than a zillion lol. If i toss a coin and the last dozen times it come up heads, that has zero relevance to the next toss. Each event is independent to all previous events. The chances for a tails remain exactly same.



Ahh…the classic martingale strategy. Negative EV will always be negative EV.

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Somebody should have told ole Klaus that each spin of the wheel is independent of every other spin that has happened or will happen. I would be very surprised if he ever got to the 1600 level without the pit bosses backing him off. They will refuse your business or at the very least set you at a flat rate, i.e. you can play 200 per spin never any more than that. This is the fallacy of the strategy.

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Casinos shamelessly praying on foolish people like this guy are why I hate casinos, and gambling.

Poker is the only game that I think well about, and that’s because the house takes a rake of the pot, and you’re playing a fair game involving skill against the other players at the table.

Blackjack would be OK, too, but the house always has rules against playing well, and stops you if you actually win.


Puggy, this is a link to a column by Arnold “the Bishop” Snyder on the subject. He’s one of the better known Black Jack authorities. and writers.

I was backed off one time for counting. It’s nearly impossible to get away with these days. The casinos are on to everything, teams have a hard time anymore. You can do it for extremely small stakes, if you move around a LOT and can manage to stay unnoticed. Hard to do though, when you don’t give up a players card you’re already under their watchful eye.