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Patterns Here, There, Everywhere26 April 2007
Everyone knows someone who is wrong about this or that. When I was a kid just about all adults were wrong about just about everything. Then I grew up and low and behold adults got much smarter.
In casino gambling there are a lot of wrong ideas -- even held by people of otherwise average or above-average intelligence. Players have a whole host of nutty notions as I showed in my "Dum-Dum" series. Sometimes these notions sound reasonable, like "quitting while you are ahead," until examined and shown to be without substance. Sometimes the notions are insane: "If I put in super cold coins into the slot machine, the machine heats up and starts paying out more! Waitress bring me some more ice please."
Casino players create laws for events based on their own personal experiences, both real and imagined, in order to explain what is really, pure and simply, the results of randomness. Gamblers do this at roulette, craps, the big wheel, Sic Bo, Three-Card Poker, Caribbean Stud, Let It Ride, Pai Gow and a host of other games. Players need to feel that they can predict the future and they create systems to do this.
Watch how this "creation of a gambling system" can work.
Here is a real-world 30-number sequence the origin of which I shall tell you later: 7, 7, 8, 5, 7, 7, 1, 3, 4, 2, 7, 5, 7, 7, 8, 9, 6, 0, 9, 1, 7, 3, 6, 3, 7, 1, 7, 8, 7, 2.
What could a typical casino player do with these numbers for betting purposes? What "system" would he create to take advantage of what he perceives?
Well, add up all those 7s and notice that of the 30 numbers eleven are 7s. Wow! Normally in 30 numbers (0-9), you would expect three of them to be 7s. So with such an abundance of 7s what number would you bet on next? Could this number sequence be just random?
There is only one 4 and there is only one 0. Perhaps the 4 and 0 are under-represented? Would you bet on these instead? Could such a small showing of these two numbers be strictly random too?
Here is how all the numbers came out:
0 - one appearance
Now, some gamblers would figure that with 7 so hot the best way to bet would be to go with the 7. This is the "go with the hot" system or "go with the flow" system that has been written about since the first caveman drew the first roulette wheel on the cave wall. But other gamblers would figure that with the 7 so hot, the number has to cool off and they would bet the under-appearing 0 and 4 because they are due to catch up. This is the "it's due" system.
So who is right?
Well, actually, neither is right. That string of numbers you see above is from the random number, and I repeat, the random number, known as PI, the never-ending random number in fact. Yes, there is no telling in advance which numbers are going to come up because they come up randomly -- for ever and ever. Any betting system based on attempting to outwit PI would be doomed to failure for the bettor.
If you look at the sequences of PI you will notice outrageous strings of certain numbers appearing and other numbers seemingly vanishing. Jump a few thousand or million numbers and whole other strings of numbers appear or disappear as the case may be. There is no way to predict what is going to happen. That means there is no safe way to bet on these numbers in order to get an edge over PI.
But in a casino, be it at table games or slot machines, gamblers think they can outwit Lady Luck and find out what's in her devilishly capricious mind. If a casino game is random, as most of the games are, then luck is the operant variable and no one can tame luck with a plan. She comes and goes. When you have good luck it's great; when you have bad luck it's not great. But one thing you don't have in both cases is any kind of control.
So why do gamblers want to create systems where systems can't possibly work?
That's the nature of the human being -- we are pattern finders/creators. We like to find patterns in nature or events -- often where patterns don't actually exist. The random spin of a roulette ball on a well-balanced wheel will be a random event. But the gambler wants to ascertain a pattern. If some string of hits occurred recently, the gambler will believe this string will continue in the future and he'll be able to make money by betting it. Of course, another gambler at the very same roulette wheel will think just the opposite and bet that the string won't continue. The fact is -- there is no string; there were just events (roulette numbers) that happened in the past that give us no predictability in terms of the future. The roulette wheel is the same as the slot machine, which is the same as almost all gambling games.
There are some exceptions to the rule of randomness in the casino. The most notable is blackjack. Blackjack is a random game for just about all players but card counters can change that by keeping track of what cards have already appeared. The game is no longer random when they do that as accurate predictions can be made about which cards remain to be played. Since 99.99 percent of all blackjack players don't keep track of the cards, the game is strictly random for them. Strange as it seems, at the exact same table a card counter is not playing a random game while the other players are.
The big question inquiring casino players have is this: If the games are really random, why do the casinos consistently win money at them? Look at Vegas, Atlantic City, Tunica, Reno, Biloxi, and all the casinos across the country and ask: How are the casinos consistently winning at random games? What's their big secret?
Next time I'll have the answer for you!
This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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