Could Machine Learning Perfect a Winning Roulette Strategy?

Could Machine Learning Perfect a Winning Roulette Strategy?

Roulette is one of the oldest and most played games that you find at any casino. In this game, a ball is dropped onto a revolving wheel with a series of numbered pockets. The player must then guess where the ball will land.

There are a number of different variants of the game, such as American roulette or European roulette. However, in whatever version you play you are usually given the choice to bet on one number, certain groups of numbers, the colour red or black, if the number will be odd or even, or if the numbers are high or low.

Roulette is considered to be a difficult game to win by some players due to it having a higher house edge than other games that you might find in the casino, with the chances of winning largely down to luck or chance and not skill in the short term.

Nevertheless, there are no shortage of roulette strategies out there that can help players to develop a formula for improving their chances at winning the game and minimising their loses.While no strategy can be 100 percent effective due to the nature of the roulette game, players often look at scientific methods that might help.

Machine learning (ML) is one of these scientific methods. Machine learning involves the development and deployment of computer systems that learn to adapt, it uses algorithms and statistical models in order to analyse and detect patterns in data.

It is a subset of artificial intelligence (AI) which involves providing computers with what they need to learn without explicitly being programmed with instructions. There are so many applications for machine learning, it is already being used in many of the technologies you use in daily life.

For example, machine learning is used to create your social media feeds and it is one of the sciences used in creating and running your virtual voice assistants like Siri and Amazon Alexa. You can also find it in autonomous vehicles and medical devices that read images to diagnose medical conditions.

So, the question is, can we apply the science of machine learning in the casino gaming world? While it is an interesting topic to explore, in reality it cannot be used on the casino floor due to practicability and the rules casino venues are likely to have in place.

Is machine learning perfect for getting a winning roulette strategy?

There is one example of a mathematician testing out this theory in the 1970s in Las Vegas casinos. A man named J. Doyne Farmer used the principles of machine learning to develop a machine that could improve his odds of guessing the correct outcome at the casino wheel.

For this method, it is important to note that many casinos allow players to place their bets after the wheel has been spun but before the ball lands in a compartment. In Farmers design, the machine considers the different factors at play and rules out half of the wheel, giving the player a better chance at guessing the correct outcome.

But how did this work in practice at the casino? In this instance, the mathematician rigged up a system that included attaching switches to the players feet. They would then tap the switch every time that the ball completes one spin around the wheel.

A small computer inside the player's pocket would then use this data to calculate the odds and deliver this information through a certain number of taps on the player's leg. The machine was developed to be discreet and hidden but eventually resulted in the individual being banned from casinos in Vegas when they discovered it.

Following on from this, in 2012 a team of researchers in Hong Kong wrote a paper that explained how the science of this could work. Their research showed how machine learning could be used through calculating the rate at which both the ball and the roulette wheel are spinning.

This team assumed that it is friction at the rim of the wheel that slows the ball down, however in Farmer's method he considered air resistance to be the main factor slowing it down as the wheel spins.

While good, machine learning isn't an easy strategy for roulette…

While machine learning is a great concept, for most players it isn't realistically applicable to their gaming experience. One strategy to try is the Martingale strategy, which involves doubling your bet if you do not get the outcome predicted with the hope of eventually winning back the money wagered.

This strategy is simple to employ but if you hit a losing streak there is the risk you using up your entire bankroll.

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