Voodoo Archive 1

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Pie in the Sky

Posted by Soma on 8 June 1998, at 7:38 a.m., in response to Roulette (part 1), posted by Robert on 3 June 1998, at 11:08 a.m.

Hi Robert

You are familiar with the 'Eudaemonic Pie Theory' book. It's full of surprises, n'est pas?

You will recall the following from Chapter 9 entitled "Lady Luck": 'Yet another croupier offered the Eudaemons an elegant demonstration of what gamblers call the dealer's "signature."'

A bit later it tells how the player (Doyne Farmer) gave the croupier chip tokes to bet at his discretion. The croupier always placed the tokes on number 17 and gave this reason, 'I flip the ball in this nice regular way when the zero is lined up in front of me, and I swear I can hit 17 with better-than-average odds.'

At about this time (20 odd years ago), I and a few other players got to know this croupier and what he called his 'Sweet 17'. One time I asked him why he didn't line up the '00' and shoot for 18 instead. This was on the opposite side of the wheel but all it needed was the identical throw. (Check it yourself and you will see what I mean). Doing this throw, now and then, seemed a sensible alternative and made it harder for the casino to detect what he was doing. He had a go at hitting 18 but it wouldn't show. The odd thing was that number 17 still kept coming up above average. Where he started his spin from made little difference.

I decided to clock this wheel over a few thousand spins (including other dealers). Not surprisingly, number 17 was quite a bit above average. Also, there were four numbers that were well below average. A chi-squared test showed the wheel to be heavily biased.

It makes one really wonder how much of their win the Eudaemonic Pie team should have attributed to their theory, how much of it to what they though was the dealer's 'signature' and how much to the wheel which I found to be biased but they failed to check. E O Thorp in 'The Mathematics of Gambling' states that you can have Prediction (=Eudo Pie Theory) or biased wheels but "You can't have it both ways."

Good wishes,




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