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Author Topic: Einstein's theory of roulette?
Roofus
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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I've heard a couple places that Einstien had a theory that the only way to win at roulette was to steal the other players' chips when no one's looking. Did he actually say that?
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Cleetus Awrightus-Awreetus
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


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'You cannot beat a roulette table unless you steal money from it.'
I've seen it in many lists of his quotes, but none give a source

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Ulkomaalainen
Jingle Bell Hock


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I've looked for any German equivalent, but did not find cites at all (though I repeatedly found the quote, but in very different versions - is this already a sign of a "wrong" quote?). What I did find, though, were loads of roulette forums where people are discussing systems for roulette with no understanding at all. Being a statistician, it makes my heart bleed. "Sure, mathematics show that in the long run you cannot win at a roulette table, but that's only school mathematics. It's got holes. With a little creativity you can find a way." Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah.

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Senior
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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Einstein may or may not have said it. However, as a physicist he would have had a good enough grasp of basic statistics to know that it was true.

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lazerus the duck
The First USA Noel


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If you knew all the variables you could work out a system for beating a roulette table. Presently I would estimate the amount of known variables would be around 0.0000001% the rest is unknowable.
Because nothing is truly random doesn't mean it is calculable either.

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Gibbie
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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I won at roulette. But I hit on my first spin and knew enough to walk away. Left with enough to pay for my weekend. [Big Grin]

Gibbie

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If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

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Ulkomaalainen
Jingle Bell Hock


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quote:
Originally posted by lazerus the duck:
If you knew all the variables you could work out a system for beating a roulette table. Presently I would estimate the amount of known variables would be around 0.0000001% the rest is unknowable.
Because nothing is truly random doesn't mean it is calculable either.

Well, the question whether anything on this world is pure random or not (meaning: some laws of physics, we just need to know all masses with places and speeds and directions, all radioactivity and so on) is only a philosophical one. For all practical purposes the world to us acts as if it is random.

But I think you're vastly overestimating the amount of known data. I'd be surprised if we even knew 10^-100 of what needs to be known (in quantity). If the world is deterministic.

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Don Enrico
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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I'm not a statistican nor a physicist, but I guess lazarus' estimate may be correct for the porpuse of beating a roulette table. You won't need quantummechanics for that, or any information on a sub-atomar level. The 'only' information you would need would be the exact layout of the wheel's surface and the ball (down to nanometers), exact spin and speed of the ball when started, exact velocity of the wheel, all changes by temperature or vibration from a lorry driving by or people walking in the room, and so on...

Still a lot, and to much to ever find a way to beat the roulette.

To paraphrase a word by German author Berthold Brecht: It's better to open a casino than to try to steal from one.

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Grand Illusion
Jingle Bell Hock


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gambling ['gam-b&ling]

The act of simultaneously being greedy and having poor mathematics skills.

quote:
From Guys & Dolls
One of these days in your travels, a guy is going to show you a brand-new deck of cards on which the seal is not yet broken. Then this guy is going to offer to bet you that he can make the jack of spades jump out of this brand-new deck of cards and squirt cider in your ear. But, son, do not accept this bet, because as sure as you stand there, you're going to wind up with an ear full of cider.




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Troberg
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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In the long run, all games where you play against the house will cost you money. They are set up that way and no system can change it. Every such game has an imbalance built into it. In black jack, it's that the house wins on equal, in roulette I think (not that good at the rules of roulette) it's just tweaking of the odds.

The only way you can win in the long run is to be really good and play games where you play against other players, not the house.

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/Troberg

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Grand Illusion
Jingle Bell Hock


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I've heard that in the world of gambling addiction, there are two kinds of people: people who prefer true random chance games like the slots or lotto, and those who prefer games of pseudo-skill, like poker or sports betting. Both types are losing propositions beause all games are set up so that the owner can make a profit. The random chance people end up tricking themselves into thinking that they have discovered the slot machine's payoff schedule, or that by pressing the button on one corner will make a payoff more likely.

On a positive note, I have learned as a parent as well as a former child, is that if children play games with adults, it is more fun for all if the games contain a high element of chance, like bingo or Candy Land, instead of skill/strategy games like checkers or Boggle. That way, the child has an equal chance of winning without letting them win or bending the rules.

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There are 10 types of people in the world: those who understand binary and those who do not.

"Are you pondering what I'm pondering?" - The Brain

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TheBeard
I Saw Three Shipments


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Surely it is possible to win at something like poker. Like you said, it is a game of skill, therefore if you are a good player both you and the house can make a profit off bad players.

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The name flavour is rumored to have come from Murray Gell-Mann and Harald Fritzsch seeing a shop advertising a large number of flavors of ice-cream during their lunch time, thus underlining the huge importance of cold, dairy-based food in physics.

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Dr. Winston O'Boogie
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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quote:
Originally posted by Troberg:
In the long run, all games where you play against the house will cost you money. They are set up that way and no system can change it. Every such game has an imbalance built into it. In black jack, it's that the house wins on equal, in roulette I think (not that good at the rules of roulette) it's just tweaking of the odds.

The only way you can win in the long run is to be really good and play games where you play against other players, not the house.

Actually, standard casino policy for blackjack is that a tie is a "push", and no one wins. Charity events use the "house wins ties" to make more money. With no one winning ties, the odds are only very slightly in the house's favor, which is why they get quite irate when people count.

Being an actuary, I understand probabilities. I understand the way counting works - have we used up more of the high cards or the low cards. Why is it considered cheating? All you are doing is using what you know to help you bet smarter. If you are playing stud poker, some cards are exposed, and if you see two 8s on the table, you know the chance of you getting an 8 to fill your straight is considerably lower. How is counting cards in blackjack any different?

By the way, Roulette has the worst odds for the player - the house keeps 5-6% of the money; BlackJack, the house only keeps around 0.5%; craps, well, I've been looking at that, and with all of the propositional bets, it's impossible to tell. Looks to me like the casino takes in about 1.5%. Source: http://wizardofods.com.

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Ganzfeld
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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quote:
Originally posted by Dr. Winston O'Boogie:
If you are playing stud poker, some cards are exposed, and if you see two 8s on the table, you know the chance of you getting an 8 to fill your straight is considerably lower. How is counting cards in blackjack any different?

It's different because the dealer can't make choices to counter your card counting but the other players in poker can. The dealer isn't an equal player. (That's why the house wins on balance but if everyone counted then they wouldn't. Not that I think it's fair they can pick and choose who can play. But the game's flawed that way.) [ETA - oh, you mean stud poker -- against the dealer... duh. But anyway, I think counting is more reliable if you're consistent.]
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robbiev - singin' off key
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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quote:
Originally posted by Troberg:
In the long run, all games where you play against the house will cost you money. They are set up that way and no system can change it.
Every such game has an imbalance built into it. In black jack, it's that the house wins on equal...

In American casinos, the standard rule is the player does not lose on a tie (there are some variations, but that is pretty standard).

In blackjack, the casino also has an advantage because the dealer hits last. No matter what happens (dealer gets 18, dealer busts, etc) the casino has already collected all losing bets, IE: when the dealer's hand busts, the casino has already collected all the "losing" bets, but when the dealer does not bust, the dealer still collects bets from all the players that got beat.


quote:

...in roulette I think (not that good at the rules of roulette) it's just tweaking of the odds.

All bets in the casino, except for one (true odds on craps) have this "tweaking." Another name for it is "built in vig" meaning, the casino takes a percentage of every payoff. Even when the casino pays a bet, they don't pay the "correct" amount.
IE: the "12" bet at craps "should" pay $36 for a $1 bet, but it only pays $30. So even when the casino pays out, they keep some of the money.

Also, the casino has more money than anyone there gambling. They can always "outlast" you, and since most people give back most of what they win, it's a simple matter of "wait out the player."

The REAL advantage a casino has is, you entered the casino.

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Every time I see a good looking woman, I think, "0oooh. There's another one I'll never have!"

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Pogue Ma-humbug
Happy Christmas (Malls are Open)


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quote:
Originally posted by Don Enrico:
The 'only' information you would need would be the exact layout of the wheel's surface and the ball (down to nanometers), exact spin and speed of the ball when started, exact velocity of the wheel, all changes by temperature or vibration from a lorry driving by or people walking in the room, and so on...

And, of course, none of that would be constant, and thus impossible to quanitfy.

quote:
Originally posted by Grand Illusion:
I've heard that in the world of gambling addiction, there are two kinds of people: people who prefer true random chance games like the slots or lotto, and those who prefer games of pseudo-skill, like poker or sports betting. Both types are losing propositions beause all games are set up so that the owner can make a profit.

In poker games, you play against other people, not the house. The house simply takes a cut of the action, or charges you to play.

And you certainly can make money playing poker. After a while, the cards even out, so it's the betting and how you play those cards that makes all the difference in the world.

Pogue

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Let's drink to the causes in your life:
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ILS
Deck the Malls


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quote:
Originally posted by Don Enrico:
I'm not a statistican nor a physicist, but I guess lazarus' estimate may be correct for the porpuse of beating a roulette table. You won't need quantummechanics for that, or any information on a sub-atomar level. The 'only' information you would need would be the exact layout of the wheel's surface and the ball (down to nanometers), exact spin and speed of the ball when started, exact velocity of the wheel, all changes by temperature or vibration from a lorry driving by or people walking in the room, and so on...

Actually a television show called "Beating Las Vegas" that played on the History channel did an episode on a couple of college guys who did beat the Roulette wheel just this way. By getting their hands on a regulation American style wheel, they worked out the physics so that they could reliably win. They built a device that they could time the ball and the wheel by the user clicking an input device twice when the ball and then the wheel passed a fixed point. The device would then give them a quartet of numbers to bet on.

The ball was highly likely to land in one of those four numbers and they would win much more then they lost.

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Pogue Ma-humbug
Happy Christmas (Malls are Open)


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quote:
Originally posted by ILS:
Actually a television show called "Beating Las Vegas" that played on the History channel did an episode on a couple of college guys who did beat the Roulette wheel just this way.

Pardon my disbelief, but do you have any cites on this?

Pogue

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Let's drink to the causes in your life:
Your family, your friends, the union, your wife.

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Pogue Ma-humbug
Happy Christmas (Malls are Open)


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quote:
Originally posted by ILS:
Actually a television show called "Beating Las Vegas" that played on the History channel did an episode on a couple of college guys who did beat the Roulette wheel just this way.

Pardon my disbelief, but do you have any cites on this?

Pogue

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Let's drink to the causes in your life:
Your family, your friends, the union, your wife.

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Pogue Ma-humbug
Happy Christmas (Malls are Open)


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quote:
Originally posted by ILS:
Actually a television show called "Beating Las Vegas" that played on the History channel did an episode on a couple of college guys who did beat the Roulette wheel just this way.

Pardon my disbelief, but do you have any cites on this?

Pogue

--------------------
Let's drink to the causes in your life:
Your family, your friends, the union, your wife.

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Finite Fourier Alchemy
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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quote:
Originally posted by Pogue Mahone:
quote:
Originally posted by ILS:
Actually a television show called "Beating Las Vegas" that played on the History channel did an episode on a couple of college guys who did beat the Roulette wheel just this way.

Pardon my disbelief, but do you have any cites on this?

Pogue

Eudaemons

J. Doyne Farmer did very well for himself afterward, making a career in chaotic/complex systems. The knowledge learned was almost certainly more valuable than any money he could have made.

(Though you'd have to ask him yourself.)

ETA: The user put in the speed of the wheel and the speed of the ball, and the device output an octant of the wheel where the ball would almost assuredly fall. The person using the device signaled to the team which number sequence to bet on or to not bet at all, just as the wheel began spinning.

I think they only tried the devices a couple times. The electronics were fragile and people kept getting shocked and burned.

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ILS
Deck the Malls


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quote:
Originally posted by Pogue Mahone:
Pardon my disbelief, but do you have any cites on this?

Pogue

Your disbelief is pardoned. Now my apologies, I did quote this from memory and misquoted the show's title. It was a series called "Breaking Vegas" Here is the cite:
http://www.historychannel.com/global/listings/episodearchive.jsp?ACatId=15282872&CaseId=15282871&EGrpId=10629541

There are two roulette episodes. The one I talked about in my first post was "Beat the Wheel. That aired on Tuesday, April 26, 2005"

The second one, "The Roulette Assault. That aired on Tuesday, May 17, 2005," discussed a Spanish family that attacked the wheels successfully without using gadgets.

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Ulkomaalainen
Jingle Bell Hock


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Okay, they improved their chances, I've heard of them guys. What I was talking about was an actual prediction. Which is impossible. But since the payoffs are close enough to 1 (otherwise no one would play), you may be able with such devices to get your theoretical payoff above the magic mark. You can still go bankrupt, if you're unlucky (in much the same way you can bust the bank when you are lucky). But you have a good shot - until you get thrown out (see below).

About "counting at BJ is cheating" and similar: I wouldn't call it cheating. It is just that casinos have the right (as many other etablissements) to get anyone out if they don't like them for whatever (non-discriminatory) reason. Then again, this is law, so YMMV. After all, we have only one "0" and no "00" on Germany's roulette tables. So other things may be different, too [Smile]

Most importantly (to me at least), though:

quote:
On a positive note, I have learned as a parent as well as a former child, is that if children play games with adults, it is more fun for all if the games contain a high element of chance, like bingo or Candy Land, instead of skill/strategy games like checkers or Boggle. That way, the child has an equal chance of winning without letting them win or bending the rules.
True, but only up to a very low degree. There are many good games outside, which are fun to play for young people, and introduce strategy and/or dexterity, which do not leave parents as "automatic winners". And you can build up upon them. German companies Haba or 3 Magier Spiele make some great examples, also Zoch has some very good games suitable for younger ages. I don't know whether they are directly available in the US (Toys'R'Us is certainly not a good place to look for this stuff), but I would be sure that some of their games are on the US market. Check maybe www.boardgamegeek.com for more information (although they are more specialised in games for "grown ups" - to avoid "adult games" which somehow sounds like a completely different thing).) Getting your kid to play games with strategy is a great learning experience of applied logic, mathematics and other skills, while still fun. And later on, you can join with your kids in those "better" games for grown ups. Feeding only games that are purely (or mostly) chance will in the long run only create boredom and not many learning effects. [Smile]

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Finite Fourier Alchemy
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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quote:
Originally posted by Ulkomaalainen:
Okay, they improved their chances, I've heard of them guys. What I was talking about was an actual prediction. Which is impossible.

The calculations involved are very basic classical mechanics. Any modern computational physics problem is incomparable in terms of scale and accuracy. They used a 6502 board to do simple calculus. We use terascale computers which serve practically the same purpose: Data in, prediction out.

Getting good input is the problem. Can you calculate all the variables involved to the necessary degree of accuracy to predict where the ball will go with high confidence? Probably not visually. Maybe with a proper camera and image aquisition software.

It's a chaotic problem, which means a sensitive dependence on initial conditions, but if you determine those initial conditions precisely enough you can make very good predictions.

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me, no really
We Wish You a Merry Giftmas


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I have seen a version of chess designed for small children. Basically, you start off with a smaller board, a small subset of the pieces, and a more basic set of rules. As skill develops, you add more pieces, and more rules, and finally graduate to the full game. It looks pretty cool, and I think I will invest in it when my kids get old enough

ETA: Does anyone have a set of rules for a more basic chess game using fewer pieces? I would like to make my own chess set in the not too distant future. Why buy from someone else then just to get the rules, unless those sorts of rules can't be found elsewhere

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Stoneage Dinosaur
We Wish You a Merry Giftmas


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quote:
Originally posted by me, no really:
I have seen a version of chess designed for small children. Basically, you start off with a smaller board, a small subset of the pieces, and a more basic set of rules. As skill develops, you add more pieces, and more rules, and finally graduate to the full game. It looks pretty cool, and I think I will invest in it when my kids get old enough

ETA: Does anyone have a set of rules for a more basic chess game using fewer pieces? I would like to make my own chess set in the not too distant future. Why buy from someone else then just to get the rules, unless those sorts of rules can't be found elsewhere

www.chessvariants.org has a load of variations on normal chess, including Capture the Flag Chess as well as other games played on smaller boards.

ETA: Los Alamos Chess from the same site is a 6x6 square variant (without bishops) with similar rules to normal chess.

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"You learn something new every day if you're not careful" - Wilf Lunn

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Cleetus Awrightus-Awreetus
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http://www.liveandlearn.com/educational/quickchess.html

I bought Quick Chess to teach my son - a set of games played with only some of the pieces and simplified rules, leading up to chess proper.

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Beware of the man who works hard to learn something, learns it, and finds himself no wiser than before ... he is full of murderous resentment of people who are ignorant without having come by their ignorance the hard way. - Kurt Vonnegut Jr

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me, no really
We Wish You a Merry Giftmas


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It was the QUick Chess game that I had seen. I thought of buying it, but then I am going to make my own pieces, so wondered if it was possible to get just some rules without the pieces. From that site though, it seems that it is a lot cheaper than when I last saw it. SOunds like it might be worthwile just to buy it and do my own pieces down the track a bit. I also liked the look of the chessvariants site. I'll give that a detailed look. Thank you

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Troberg
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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quote:
In American casinos, the standard rule is the player does not lose on a tie (there are some variations, but that is pretty standard).
OK, it's different here. In fact, all the odds on gambling are really crappy here.

quote:
It's a chaotic problem, which means a sensitive dependence on initial conditions, but if you determine those initial conditions precisely enough you can make very good predictions.
Even with good data of initial conditions, it's very different. The ball bounces just a little tiny bit different from what you expect on the first bounce and it will bounce a lot different on the next bounce, after that you can throw the calculations out the window.

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/Troberg

Posts: 4360 | From: Borlänge, Sweden | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
me, no really
We Wish You a Merry Giftmas


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I once heard someone defne gambling as "a stupidity tax". I don't know about other places, but here, the Government taxes the proceeds of gambling quite strongly, and runs a few lotteries itself. That means that a lot of money lost in gambling goes straight to the Government. Therefore, losing money gambling could easily be claimed as paying a tax straight to the Government as penalty for being too stupid to realise you will almost certrainly lose.

me

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Posts: 831 | From: Brisbane, Australia | Registered: Jun 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Dr. Winston O'Boogie
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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Here, we only refer to the Lottery as a "stupidity tax". At least when you gamble in a casino, your expected rate of return is in the 95%-98% range. The lottery, being a fund-raiser for the state, returns 50%.

[rant mode]When they instituted the Lottery in Illinois, the big selling point was that the proceeds were going to the schools. Of course, what was passed had the monies go to the schools. It also had the general fund contribution to the schools lowered and variable. They implied that the schools would see a windfall from the lottery; in reality, school funding stayed level. Just a big shell game. Recently, the governor of Illinois proposed Keno gambling in bars and restaurants, with the proceeds going (of course) to the schools. He got laughed out of town. I'm going to stop this rant before I start going off on how miserably Illinois funds its schools, and how putting the tax burdon on property taxes puts an unnaturally heavy burdon on the elderly and causes the vast difference in school quality between rich and poor areas.[/rant]

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"The large print givith, and the small print taketh away" -- Tom Waits, Step Right Up

"The only difference between me and a madman is that I am not mad." -- Salvador Dali

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ratface
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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quote:
Originally posted by Ganzfeld:
quote:
Originally posted by Dr. Winston O'Boogie:
If you are playing stud poker, some cards are exposed, and if you see two 8s on the table, you know the chance of you getting an 8 to fill your straight is considerably lower. How is counting cards in blackjack any different?

It's different because the dealer can't make choices to counter your card counting but the other players in poker can. The dealer isn't an equal player. (That's why the house wins on balance but if everyone counted then they wouldn't. Not that I think it's fair they can pick and choose who can play. But the game's flawed that way.) [ETA - oh, you mean stud poker -- against the dealer... duh. But anyway, I think counting is more reliable if you're consistent.]
Counting cards in balckjack is different because the payout schedule and rules are set assuming no card counting. If card counting were allowed, the casino would have to change the payouts or rules so that they continue to have a slight odds advantage (to pay for all the expenses of running the casino, and of course profit). But that would make it harder to play and therefore less popular.
Posts: 28 | From: Toronto | Registered: Jun 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
trollface
The Bills of St. Mary's


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I'm pretty sure that I once heard a system that was actually unbeatable for roulette.

First you pick a number (or a colour, I forget which) and you place the minimum bet on it. Then, when you most likely lose, you put double that on the same number. Then double again, and so on. Eventually, you'll win loads.

Of course, the problem is that you very quickly need an almost infinite amount of money.

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seriously , everyone on here , just trys to give someone crap about something they do !! , its shitting me to tears.

Posts: 16061 | From: UK | Registered: Sep 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Doug4.7
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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I thought the key to why roulette was "unbeatable" was that the payoffs were based on 1:36 (the numbers 1 to 36, so each # has a 1 in 36 chance of being hit), but of course, most wheels have a 0 and 00 so the ACTUAL odds are 1:38, but they payoff at 1:36.

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And now for something completely different...

Posts: 4164 | From: Alabama | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Ulkomaalainen
Jingle Bell Hock


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quote:
Originally posted by trollface:
I'm pretty sure that I once heard a system that was actually unbeatable for roulette.

First you pick a number (or a colour, I forget which) and you place the minimum bet on it. Then, when you most likely lose, you put double that on the same number. Then double again, and so on. Eventually, you'll win loads.

Of course, the problem is that you very quickly need an almost infinite amount of money.

You would need an enormous amount of money to earn comparatively little, you would soon hit the limit on playing, and even if there weren't any, for any given number of tries there's a small but existing probability that you lose. And the you're doomed.

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Movie characters never make typing mistakes.

Posts: 586 | From: Hamburg, Germany | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
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