Date: February 23rd, 2006
Players: Valdir (myself) plus a lot of other unnamed players
I finished my first Roulette session report saying
More stories to come from my Can$ 200, you can bet
Well, unfortunately that will have to be changed to story instead of stories because, as the title says, yesterday I went back to the casino and lost everything. Pretty depressing. But hey! At least I get one out of this! (side note: this must be the most expensive ever! Can$ 200 for one , that's a bit too much!!)
Anyway, I'm getting ahead of myself here. Let's start from the beginning: after my good fortune last month (read it all here: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/97058), I was willing to go right away again, but some of my colleagues at work also wanted to go and organizing this took some time. We finally decided on the 23rd for our big night because the next day was a holiday at the university where we work, so we didn't have to worry about the time too much.
A group of seven people finally agreed to join me in my caravan of hope, as I called it. At 5 pm, one of these people was in a meeting with our boss and the head of Accounts, so we had to delay our departure. These bosses, they are so insensitive! People have plans for after work, after all! While we waited, I joked that my numbers were coming up at the casino and I was losing my window of opportunity. Unfortunately the events of the night would prove that I was at least half right...
Anyway, we took two cars and headed to the Jean-Drapeau Island (formerly St. Helen Island), where the beautiful building that houses the casino is located. This building was part of the Expo 67, it was the French pavilion, a majestic gift from the French government to the people of Montreal. But I digress...
I went in Fury's spacious van with Haleh, Tasia and Ali. The funny thing is that as soon as we got in the building, as we were walking towards the Roulette tables, Fury stopped by a slot machine, plumped down a quarter and out came five coins! We congratulated him, walked a bit more and he stops at another machine, inserts another coin and out came 25! Before even starting our playing, he was already up $7! Not bad, not bad.
We finally reached the third floor where "my" tables are located. There are Roulette tables in many other places in the casino, but I always play at this specific spot because in most other areas the tables start at $5 or $10, which is too much for my meager means. These four tables start at $1 and $2.50.
The two $1 tables are "American" (they have the extra 00 on them) while the two $2.50 are "English". As I prefer to play against 2.7% instead of 5.3%, I took a seat at one of the English tables and requested a colour. I got the yellow chips. Fury went to the American table just in front and coincidentally also got the yellow chips.
Tasia wanted to play a bit, so she stayed by my side and asked the dealer for $20 in one of the available colours. As this was the $2.50 table, she only got eight chips to play. Of course she wanted to last long, so she only put two chips on the table. But at this moment the dealer informed her that the minimum bet on that table was $10, so that she would have to play four tokens each time. This must be some new rule of the casino because I remember going there many times and starting my gaming playing only one or two tokens at a time. I can see the reason behind the rule, but it's quite annoying.
Fortunately for Tasia she got one of her bets right and won a few tokens, so she could play a bit more. But she soon left the table for the other one, where she could start her betting from $5; she ended up losing her $20 though.
The first thing that I did was to check the numbers that had come out in the previous fifteen turns. Each Roulette table has an electronic display that lists its previous rolls to allow the "number-crunchers" like myself to do their thing without having to actually sit down for many rounds without playing.
When I mark down the numbers my goal is to identify which rows of three numbers had not come out yet. In this case it had been the 13-15, 16-18, 25-27 and 28-30. Therefore I started with one chip in each of them. The 19 came out. Right beside my 15. Darn! Well, my betting strategy works even if I have to wait a few rounds...
I put two tokens in each of the four rows. The 4 came out! I go to three tokens per row and finally in the next turn the 27 comes out, giving me a small profit (twelve tokens). Phew!
Now I'm down to three rows of three (the 25-27 is crossed out) and I start again from one token on each row. The 23 comes out, then the 2 twice, 11 (just beside my 30!), 35, 21, 36 (beside my 13!), 35 again (darn!) and finally 24 (beside my 16!) leaving me absolutely broken, all my tokens are gone, I lost everything.
I just can't believe it, I look at the ball on the wheel, so close to the 16 that would have saved me and at the same time, so distant. Oh well, my casino adventures are on hold for another year, my luck having run out after only two visits this year. Some years I went to the casino as much as ten times before losing my money, but these two past years have been truly bad for me. It's disheartening!
Now let's do some math here, shall we? I was playing with nine numbers and none of them come out for twelve full turns while I was at the table and for 26 turns if we count all the rolls before I joined the table. In order to calculate the chance the casino has of these nine numbers not coming out for 26 turns, the calculation is like this: (28/37)^26. And of course, for 12 turns, it is (28/37)^12. My calculator tells me that the first result is 0.07% and the second is 3.52%.
Ok, I can already hear the crowd of naysayers jumping in to tell me that the wheel has no memory, so that the fourteen or fifteen turns before I joined the table cannot be taken into account. But what about when I did join the table and started playing? At that moment I can honestly expect a 96.48% chance to hit one of my nine numbers in the next twelve rounds, right? How come then the bad thing happened twice in the three times that I visited the casino? I can't explain this oddity!
And to add injury to the insult, I hanged around long enough to see that in the very next turn after I left the table, the 16 came out! Twice in a row! Had I joined the table one round later, I would have been saved. Oh darn!
Anyway, enough with the depressing report! As I finished early, there was nothing more for me to do than to watch the others. Fury was doing ok at the American table and didn't seem to be thinking about leaving any time soon. Therefore I joined Haleh and Tasia when they went downstairs for some slot-machine action. I didn't play, first because I didn't have any money left and secondly because I truly dislike slot machines. But I went anyway for the fair company...
Tasia put in $20 and at one time had a $10 profit, which in a slot machine isn't negligible. But she kept playing and of course lost both her profit and her initial investment. Oh, story of our lives, I guess...
Haleh didn't fare much better and we were soon back near the Roulette table where Fury was playing. During this time Ali had also sat down and played. He lost around $40 before calling it quits. The other guys, who arrived much later (I had already lost all my money when they finally showed up) only came to watch, they were not going to gamble.
Fury finally decided to stop, he had had a small profit, something like $5 or so. On a normal day I would call it laughable, but today I would have welcomed a profit, any profit...
The guys started talking about going to some restaurant, but I was too depressed to join them, I would be bad company, so I just accepted a ride back to town, took the subway and came home. This was a truly sad night for me, I wasn't expecting to lose everything so fast. Oh well, there is always next year!
I actually have had luck with a variation on the Martingale betting strategy (every time you lose, double your bet). Now I know that it is fundamentally flawed and that over the long run it’ll knock you out (over a very short run once, for me. Your post reminded me a lot of that night, actually) but for the most part it has given me a decent amount of short term gains. My variation is not to pick a specific number but only a 1/3 board position and keep betting on that area. Granted, I do also play single # bets and the occasional Red Snake. On average I walk out of the casino ahead anywhere from US$80-200. The trick is knowing when to stop. If you get greedy or think you’re invincible, you’ll be poor in two spins. I watched a guy blow a few grand because he insisted on letting it ride every time he won. I can see how it can be a dangerous game, as it always seems like your strategy should work. As they said in Fight Club “On a long enough timeline, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero”