Whoever enters a casino, enters with an intention of walking out with their pockets full of CA$H. A typical gambler who wins will rarely play at a casino for the free drinks, buffets or complementary hotel rooms! The point is to beat the odds; and walk out a winner. Gamblers are optimistic by nature and are firm in their belief that they will beat the house. But there are very few who are able to beat the mathematically built in house edge.
History is witness to gamblers who, by their sheer intelligence or outright cheating have beaten the odds and walked out very rich. Here are the five greatest gamblers of all times.
In the 1960’s, Ed Thorp knew little about casinos and gambling. He was a professor of mathematics with a degree in physics and a doctorate in mathematics. When a friend brought him to Las Vegas, he played a few hands of Blackjack and was convinced that there was a logical way to gain an advantage in the game. He replicated millions of hands on a very large computer at the university and figured out that smaller cards were more beneficial for the house and when these cards left the deck, the advantage shifted in favour of the player. He concluded therefore that the player should bet more. Knowing this Thorp would play and win big. The casinos had no idea of how thorp was using his knowledge to his benefit, till thorp began to win “attention seeking??? amounts of money. Now the casinos were convinced that Thorp was cheating! They watched him play but couldn’t figure out exactly what he was up to. His radical yet amazing card counting abilities got him into the Blackjack Hall of Fame.
The ‘Savannah’ move made famous by Richard Marcus who is also dubbed as the greatest cheat of all times, involved cleverly moving high denomination chips at the Roulette table to his advantage. This is how he worked. Marcus bet a low denomination of chips, such as three $5 ones and yelled out in excitement when he won. Confused dealers wondered why he was so excited over a $15 winning bet and he would lift up the three chips to reveal a $500 chip underneath the three $5 ones. If he lost the bet, Marcus would stealthily remove the $500 chip. The casinos ultimately caught Richard Marcus and authorities prosecuted him.
Ida Summers was very unlike a cheater. Her good looks and warm demeanour hid all the mal intentions she had at the Blackjack table. She raked in big money in the 60’s and 70’s by sheer boldness. She cleverly concealed and removed cards to her advantage and even resorted to inserting pre stacked decks into games. For a long time her unassuming ways ad deftness with the cards kept her going. She was ultimately caught by FBI agents.
Gonzalo Garcia Pelayo of Spain was a roulette player and was the first to exploit wheel bias in the game. Wheel bias is a theory according to which roulette wheels are defective, and that each specific wheel will win certain numbers more often than it should. This happens because the wheels are not perfectly level or may have slight variations in the pocket size. Pelayo observed hundreds of thousands spins before he began betting on a particular wheel. He swung the bias in his favour and made the money. He hit the Las Vegas casinos after exhausting Spanish casinos. When he was sued by one of the casinos, Spain’s Supreme Court ruled in his favour stating that he had only used “ingenuity and computer techniques. That’s all???.
Ron Harris and Reid Errol Mc Neal worked together to hit a Keno Jackpot of $ 100,000 at the Bally’s casino in Atlantic City. Ron Harris work involved checking and testing slot machines in Vegas casinos and ensure that only state approved computer chips were being used in the machines. Harris used his inside knowledge of casino gaming to access Bally’s software for the Keno machine’s RNG (random number generator). He then used his computer to duplicate the calculations of a particular machine and arrived at the winning numbers. His friend, Mc Neal then bet the money and won the jackpot. The two were later arrested.