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Best of Frank Scoblete

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Deep Blue and the slots

3 March 2011

In 1997 something magical happened. Well, maybe not magical; maybe more like mechanical and scary. For the first time in history, a computing machine -- which went by the name of "Deep Blue" -- defeated a reigning world chess champion, Gary Kasparov, under standard tournament time controls. The computer defeated the world's greatest chess grandmaster by a score of 3.5 to 2.5.

Could the machine actually think the way a human thought? Its creative play might indicate such thinking. But that was not so. Deep Blue derived its power -- known as brute force in chess circles -- by being able to analyze dozens, hundreds, thousands and up to 200 million moves per second based on what pieces had just been played and how those pieces had been played. No human can compute so much so fast.

Despite the amazing power of the machine, Kasparov was still able to defeat it at times. That in itself was amazing. Still, he did not have the wherewithal to overcome the phenomenal edge that Deep Blue had over him because of its brute force. And Kasparov was the world's best at that time. Imagine what Deep Blue would do to you, if you happened to be a chess player?

Creating machines that can surpass human capability is perhaps man's greatest achievement. Man can't fly, but he can create machines that do fly. Man can't run 25 miles per hour, but he can create race cars that travel more than 10 times faster and rockets that can leave Earth's atmosphere and travel in space. Our brains can create things that we as humans cannot overcome either physically or mentally; we can even create machines that have a "thinking" capacity far greater than our own.

While civilization depends on machines to survive, we create those machines. Still, we often create those machines in ways that allows them to have power over us.

In casino gambling terms, slot machines have been created to defeat us, just as Deep Blue defeated Kasparov. Playing against machines that have been specifically created to defeat humans is a losing contest in the long run. Why would we think otherwise?

Unless the machines have moments when the human can snap up a temporary mathematical edge, such moments as I reveal in my new book Slots Conquest: How to Beat the Slot Machines!, the long-range expectation for almost all slot players is absolute defeat at the "hands" of the machines. The math favors the casinos in the long-term play of slots as brute force favored Deep Blue in a chess contest.

Kasparov was understandably dismayed by his defeat and accused the creators of the machine of cheating. Many slot players, stunned by sustained losses, might also think the machines are cheating. In slot parlance, nothing could be further from the truth. The machines are simply designed to keep more money than what they give out.

Like Kasparov's winning matches against Deep Blue, the typical slot player can indeed beat the slot machines on any given night. But those nights will not stretch out for too long, and the future is quite bleak.

Kasparov asked to be allowed to look into the inner workings of Deep Blue to understand its programming, but Deep Blue's creator, IBM, would not allow this. That was understandable. Deep Blue was a machine that went head-to-head with the human chess player. It did not have an automatic edge, although its computational abilities might be considered such. But what if Deep Blue had also been given one free move? Such an edge would be unbeatable.

Slot machines are metaphorically given free moves because nothing the player can do can affect the programming of the machine. Play fast; play slow; jump up and down and sing some songs -- nothing can come between a slot machine and its program. But luckily, the non-creators of slot machines have often gained insight into the actual programming of the machines. Gaining such insight has shown us that some machines at some times can be beaten.

And what if a player only plays those machines at such optimum times? Then that player will have long-term wins. Yes, the casino will make the money the machine is programmed to keep, but the advantage-slot player will make the money during the times when the machine is giving out more than it is taking in. In short, playing advantage machines would be similar to Kasparov only playing Deep Blue during the times that Deep Blue was weak. Sadly, Kasparov never knows at the start of the match when that moment happens for his computer foe.

Now let me bring us all down to earth. Kasparov was a genius, defeated by a computational genius of a machine. Slot players -- that means the you and the me of the casino world -- are usually not geniuses and those machines we play are not geniuses either. They just keep more money than they give out.

But unlike Kasparov, we can know with a fair degree of certainty when advantage-play machines are in a positive mode. And that's the time we should play them.

Of course, Deep Blue did teach us a fundamental principle: If you want to be the master of the universe, then don't make machines that can replace you. Somehow, watching a chess match between a Deep Blue and a Deep Red chess-playing machine just doesn't seem all that exciting.

Recent Articles
Best of Frank Scoblete
Frank Scoblete

Frank Scoblete is the #1 best selling gaming author in America. His newest books are Slots Conquest: How to Beat the Slot Machines; Everything Casino Poker: Get the Edge at Video Poker, Texas Hold'em, Omaha Hi-Lo and Pai Gow Poker!; Beat Blackjack Now: The Easiest Way to Get the Edge; Casino Craps: Shoot to Win!; Cutting Edge Craps: Advanced Strategies for Serious Players; Casino Conquest: Beat the Casinos at Their Own Games! and The Virgin Kiss.

Frank and Casino City Times columnist Jerry "Stickman" teach private lessons in dice control. Frank's books are available at Amazon.com, in bookstores or by mail order. Call 1-800-944-0406 or write to Frank Scoblete Enterprises, PO Box 446, Malverne, NY 11565. Frank can also be reached by email at fscobe@optonline.net.

Frank Scoblete Websites:

www.goldentouchcraps.com
www.goldentouchblackjack.com

Books by Frank Scoblete:

Cutting Edge Craps: Advanced Strategies for Serious Players

> More Books By Frank Scoblete

Frank Scoblete
Frank Scoblete is the #1 best selling gaming author in America. His newest books are Slots Conquest: How to Beat the Slot Machines; Everything Casino Poker: Get the Edge at Video Poker, Texas Hold'em, Omaha Hi-Lo and Pai Gow Poker!; Beat Blackjack Now: The Easiest Way to Get the Edge; Casino Craps: Shoot to Win!; Cutting Edge Craps: Advanced Strategies for Serious Players; Casino Conquest: Beat the Casinos at Their Own Games! and The Virgin Kiss.

Frank and Casino City Times columnist Jerry "Stickman" teach private lessons in dice control. Frank's books are available at Amazon.com, in bookstores or by mail order. Call 1-800-944-0406 or write to Frank Scoblete Enterprises, PO Box 446, Malverne, NY 11565. Frank can also be reached by email at fscobe@optonline.net.

Frank Scoblete Websites:

www.goldentouchcraps.com
www.goldentouchblackjack.com

Books by Frank Scoblete:

> More Books By Frank Scoblete