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Best of Mark Pilarski

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No legend of love, liberty and roulette here

21 December 2012

Dear Mark: I have one strange thing I observed with others playing roulette. I watched the people I was with make a wager on some roulette numbers, and they put some chips on numbers for the dealer. They told the dealer some were for him, and the dealer stopped the wheel and started it again, tossed the ball, and it came up with the right number. It was early in the morning and hardly anyone around, and even to this day, I always wondered if this dealer was good enough to get his number in the ballpark with bets that involved him. Martin S.

Even if the moon is in the seventh house, and Jupiter aligns with Mars, can a dealer deliberately target and pocket a particular number when the wheel is spinning east, the ball west, and metal one-inch frets impeding a descending bouncing ball trying to find its way to a specific number. There are too many physical variables, Martin, for a dealer to have the ability to land the ball at will.

You mentioned the dealer "stopping the wheel and then starting it again," huh, probably a big NO NO where he worked. Every casino has its own set of guidelines for its dealers to follow, and one procedure in the seven casinos that I worked in was to keep the wheel speed within a certain range. Dealers are trained, and monitored by floor supervisors and the eye in the sky, to alternate both the speed of the wheel, and ball, between spins.

To show off his roulette prowess, my guess is that he was probably "trying" to sector-shoot, or pocket, a particular number. Again, Martin, even if he completely stops, then starts the wheel, the wheel still orbits in one direction, the ball the other, with frets to boomerang a dropping ball. Consequently, I believe it is impossible to anticipate where the ball is going to land.

What the casino needs to provide is an indiscriminate spin, and as long as the results are random, the casino, over the long run, will maintain its built-in edge of 5.26 percent on the game. The last thing the casino wants is a gang of scalawag dealers who think they can hit a number. Oh, and don’t confuse the most famous — albeit fictional — roulette game in history in the movie Casablanca, with what you saw. That was a "fixed" gesture of love from Rick, with the number 22 providing a ticket to freedom for one young couple.

With the additional chips placed for him on specific numbers, I figure what you observed was an overconfident croupier chasing tips, and wouldn’t look any further than it being nothing more than a lucky streak by the dealer that night. Those do happen.

Dear Mark: I have a business opportunity that will take me to Singapore for a month. My understanding is that there is gambling there now. Are we talking Vegas-sized gaming, or something much smaller? Richard D.

Gambling in Singapore is not only big, Richard, try ginormous.

This year, Singapore’s two casinos are projected to generate more gambling revenue than Las Vegas. As for where to play, Richard, those two go-to casinos are the Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Sentosa. A foreign tourist like you can enter free, but locals must pay a hefty $100 (SGD) or $82 (USD).

Singapore this year will only take over as the world's number two gambling destination, a far-distant second behind Macao in southern China.

Gambling Wisdom of the Week: "To win you have to risk loss." -- Jean-Claude Killy
Recent Articles
Best of Mark Pilarski
Mark Pilarski

As a recognized authority on casino gambling, Mark Pilarski survived 18 years in the casino trenches, working for seven different casinos. Mark now writes a nationally syndicated gambling column, is a university lecturer, author, reviewer and contributing editor for numerous gaming periodicals, and is the creator of the best-selling, award-winning audiocassette series on casino gambling, Hooked on Winning.
Mark Pilarski
As a recognized authority on casino gambling, Mark Pilarski survived 18 years in the casino trenches, working for seven different casinos. Mark now writes a nationally syndicated gambling column, is a university lecturer, author, reviewer and contributing editor for numerous gaming periodicals, and is the creator of the best-selling, award-winning audiocassette series on casino gambling, Hooked on Winning.