The students who cracked the roulette wheel

For the casual spectator but also for the most experienced player, the roulette wheel may be an idiot-proof game that is absolutely random. The ball rolls at breakneck speed in the opposite direction in which the cauldron is moving, gradually changing its path and finally being braked by the partition walls. If the ball finally comes to a standstill in one of the 37 chambers, nobody believes that this game can be controlled or manipulated in any way. Or?

Well, maybe not for human mathematicians, statisticians, or physicists. In the 1970s, however, some clever minds were able to prove, with the help of a hidden computer, that the roulette wheel is not unbeatable. NetBet Online Casino Blog is tracking them down.

Apple or Roulette?

Under the name The Eudaemons (from Greek “the good forces”), some physics students at the University of California in Santa Cruz gathered around a roulette wheel in the late 1970s . Their goal was to develop a method that would calculate the chamber in which the ball will stop in roulette. They neither wanted to make big money with it, nor to engage in criminal machinations, but rather to promote science with their profits. Nobel. Hence the choice of her name, based on the Aristotelian direction of philosophy, which is entirely geared towards the happiness of the individual .

The students bought a roulette wheel, watched the ball with film recordings and an oscilloscope, and made extensive studies of the movements of the drum and the ball. Using the trigonometric formulas and four functions, the group created a formula to be able to calculate the result. Because the calculations were extremely complicated, they also developed a computer system over the next two years that could fit into a shoe. Around the same time, Jobs, Wozniak, and Wayne developed the first Apple desktop computer just 60 kilometersaway .

Field test in Vegas

In 1978 the scientists left the study and traveled to Las Vegas to try out their invention. The system takes advantage of the fact that the ball rolls in the roulette drum for about 10 seconds before bets are closed. During this time, the person observing can enter information about the speed of the ball into the shoe computer with his big toe, while another person wears the results computer on his stomach, receives information from vibrating sensors and makes the bets. So successful was the system that the Eudaemons won 44% for every dollar wagered .

Others would now have gone to make big money in the casinos of the world. The group was slowly starting to fall apart, however, as the project had taken up too much time for some besides their own research. In addition, the computer was neither built to last, nor even close to being mature. Instead of vibrating gently, the computer began to deliver electric shocks and even seared a hole in a student’s skin. It wasn’t until her partner got up from the table that she gave up too. It marked the end of the eudaemons.


The group was able to earn for 10,000 US dollars. The most important achievement, however, was the proof that roulette is predictable. Her work paved the way for computing and predictive analytics for future generations.

One of the two founders, J. Doyne Farmer, is now an expert in probability theory, professor of mathematics at Oxford, where he also serves as director of complex economics, and external professor at the Santa Fe Institute. His colleague Norman Packard is a physicist and an expert in chaos theory.

For a long time, roulette was considered the epitome of chaos theory . The eudaemons refuted this assumption. The system would not be applicable to roulette online because the online casino uses random number generators. Chaos reigns again.