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Gonzalo Garcia-Pelaya: The Man who Cracked the Roulette Code

We all dream of coming up with that perfect system that will allow us to turn the casino’s house edge into a significant player’s edge so that we can win big money. Fantasies aside, there actually have been a handful of men through history who have managed to crack the system and even get away with it legally.

Take the tale of Gonzalo Garcia-Pelaya, a down and out Spanish record producer who became fascinated with the game of roulette. This Spaniard was absolutely sure that roulette wheels were not 100% random due to wheel bias in some casinos, especially those who were not taking advantage of technology to monitor randomness. In the early 1990’s, Garcia-Pelaya decided to test his theories and, together with his five adult kids, hit the casinos in his hometown of Madrid to check to see which roulette tables could be counted on to produce better odds than others.

The family used a computerized system to keep track of the results as they continued to play roulette in Madrid, and then further afield, including Las Vegas. Using this system, Garcia-Pelaya managed to turn roulette from a game with 5% house edge to one that gave him and his family a 15% player edge!  Translated into money, that meant that the family managed to earn around EUR 2 million!

Spanish casinos soon got wind of this roulette mathematician and, although they didn’t realize how he managed to win so much in the beginning, they sought to ban him from their casino floors. Garcia-Pelaya’s system was soon revealed and he was then taken to court and charged with cheating. However, Spanish courts, including the Supreme Court, ruled in his favour and the casinos were told that he had done nothing illegal. It was basically a matter of casinos not having used the available technology to ensure that there was no bias on their wheels… and being forced to pay the price!

Garcia-Pelaya fought a long and hard battle for the right to continue to play in Spanish casinos, and he eventually won that one as well. However, casinos quickly fixed those wheels that were offering better player odds and the roulette wizard’s winning streak soon came to an end!

Posted in News, Gambling.

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  1. gamebler says

    i think gonzala was the grats player in history

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  1. Gambling Down Mexico Way | Casino B Blog linked to this post on September 15, 2011

    […] helps me get through the depressing winter months.  The family seems to have their heart set on Mexico next year, each one bringing a good reason of why it makes sense to travel down south.  I have no […]

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