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Making Millions the Easy Way

2004 ,    »  -   16 Comments
Ratings: 8.25/10 from 8 users.

Making Millions the Easy WayIn the mid-1990s, a team of American science students took on the might of the Las Vegas casinos, and came home with millions of dollars. Hardworking engineering students during the week, they became high-rolling gamblers by the weekend and proved that, in one game at least, the house doesn't always win.

The game was blackjack, and the students were from the world-renowned Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Their audacious winnings marked the climax of an arms race between casino and player that began 40 years earlier with maths professor Edward Thorp. He realised that the one feature of blackjack that made it different from other casino games also made it possible to beat.

In most gambling games - roulette, dice, slot machines, the lottery - events in the past do not determine the future. The odds are the same on every roll of the dice or spin of the wheel. Winning streaks or losing streaks may occur, but they are only one possible result from the set of all possible outcomes. A fair coin that has shown heads ten times, still only has a 50% chance of showing heads on the next flip.

Casinos and bookmakers make certain that the odds are always stacked slightly in their favour. In other words, over time, the house will always win.

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16 Comments / User Reviews

  1. LifeQuest

    Awesome documentary! *spoiler alert* I agree with the conclusion. It CAN be carried out by teams but only for short bouts of time. I'd learn! :-P

  2. HaTe_MaChInE
  3. HaTe_MaChInE

    Same can be said for individuals. If you are only worried about short periods of time.

  4. Amy
  5. Amy

    Loved it! Much better than the movie "21" based on these events.

  6. Vincent
  7. Vincent

    Have a budget you are willing to lose and stick to it, set a small winnings goal that won't hurt the casino or draw too much attention and leave the moment you make it. Don't be greedy.

  8. carlos1234
  9. carlos1234

    i dont know if its better then "21" but its a good doc i enjoyed it, it was cool

  10. Wayne
  11. Wayne

    I hope the stock counter computer software will be available soon and for free. Not all of us have M.I.T. brains but we still need money in buckets.

  12. Phil Atio
  13. Phil Atio

    last time i was in a casino was in stockholm,sweden and they used a 6 deck shuffled automatically by a suffling machine every hand, seems to solve the card counting problem pretty easily. As well the floor manager stands behind the table where ever the biggest $$$ are being played. Of all the games poker or slots is the hardest to win in a casino and roulette or black jack probably the easiest.

  14. tupes
  15. tupes

    @ Wayne

    If there was an effective and freely available stock evaluating software, then it would pretty soon become worthless, since everyone would be using it. For example, if there was a stock selling for 5 bucks a share, and the software says that the stock should really be worth 5.02 a share, then the stock price would pretty much instantly move to 5.02. Look up the efficient market hypothesis. While I don't think the market is completely efficient right now (look at what happened in 2008), if that software was accurate and possessed by everyone, then the market really would be completely efficient.

    @ Phil Atio

    You're right about shuffling machines solving the card counting issue for casinos, but do you mind explaining how roulette is easy to win at? There are 37 numbers on the wheel (38 on American wheels), and the winning payout is 35 to 1. This means there is a 2.7% house edge on European wheels and a 5.26% house edge on American wheels. The only way I know of to win at roulette is to use a technique called 'wheel clocking', which is NOT easy at all.

  16. Doc
  17. Doc

    Really enjoyed this!

  18. docugeek
  19. docugeek

    now whenever i need an alias i always use winslow leigh.

  20. phil atio
  21. phil atio

    to win in roulette you have to watch the wheel as each spin is equally likely. most wheel has a slight tendency to land on a certain color as most are not perfectly balanced or imperfect dealers. If you go to casinos in europe they will show the count of red and black balls and of balls that land on the most recent and hot numbers. If a wheel has a 53-47 propensity to land on black then bet black and out of 100 spins you should win slightly in the long run

  22. ray
  23. ray

    great doc. I just have a hard time understanding how card counting is illegal it's a mental strategy. I mean if your are using a gadget that's one thing but mentally come on. I think the casinos cheat, the mere odds of winning give them the upper hand and they know it , that's cheating. If casinos lose a few plays laws are made, if the public lose too bad!!!!

  24. gabbledegook
  25. gabbledegook

    good doc i always wondered how that was done (ill definately try this if i ever play blackjack with the family next xmas :)

  26. EddieC
  27. EddieC

    ray - card counting is NOT illegal, the casinos will just kick you out and ban you from playing if they catch you.

  28. commenturion
  29. commenturion

    @phil atio: how can the wheel have "a slight tendency to land on a certain color as most are not perfectly balanced"? The blacks and reds are interspersed so it's not like a simple coin toss or dice roll.

    And I suppose the casino displays with recent histories don't go back very far, so they are not providing information on any bias in the wheel. If the casino does have that info privately, it will probably use it to decide which wheels to check/rebalance.

  30. lrz01
  31. lrz01

    The doc says: "A fair coin that has shown heads ten times, still only has a 50% chance of showing heads on the next flip."

    This is simply not true, and it relates to roulette as well. If that chance was indeed 50%, it would be also have 50% probability that every casino has a roulette table that on a daily basis just throws numbers of one color, and one color only.

    Ever seen this? No. No one has. And it's called chance calculation. What is the chance a coin flips on the same side every other time? Simple: 50% less, every other time. Thus, if you wanna bet on roulette colors, your chance is (0,5^X*100)%, where X is the number of tries (ignoring the green number, which makes 0,5 slightly smaller).

    So what do I do? I go to a casino, wait until one color has been hit 5 times or more, and i start betting on the opposite color. When i lose, i double up. I lose again, i double up again. I do 10$ bets to begin with and i've never taken more to the casino than 2570$ (10$ + the double-ups). I've never lost, and i always win more than 800$ in less than 4 hours.

    Why? Because the chance of losing this way is 0.5^8 = 0.39%. You do need 2570$ for this chance, and you're only gonna win 10$ at a time, but the chance you'll win is at least 99.61%.

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