Online roulette systems, poker, and countless games of “chance” are relatively new phenomena of our cyber-age – and saturate the world-wide-web as inevitably as humorous photos of cats and pornography. Since the dawn of time humanity has been intrigued by luck and chance – ancient soothsayers have made predictions with all manner of auguries, mathematicians have developed predicative algorithms to win lotteries … Mankind is obsessed with the idea of taming chance itself, to turn it to one’s advantage or to play God.
Roulette, more than any other game, embodies this instinct. The complex laws of physics determine where the ball will land. The superstition, or past experience of the player often determines his or her choice – even though they know too well that adage : “you can’t beat the house”. Every trick in the book has been attempted to pervert these laws, of course : magnetized balls, leaning on the roulette table to tilt it, etc … but these techniques only apply to real world casino roulette.
The world of on-line roulette functions with algorithms and random-number generators which purport to imitate nature, but have the advantage of “predicting” the bet of the player by their previous bets. This implies that while a roulette strategy may be the same within a casino or on-line, the roulette system could not be more different. Imagine a kind of intelligent virtual Wheel-of-Fortune, which memorizes your strategy archives and lets you win occasionally, dangling the proverbial carrot in front of the gambling donkey.
Let’s get this straight : the roulette strategy concerns the placement of bets, the organization of teams, the rationing of funds – while the roulette system, by definition, is the mechanism itself which generates the results. Inside a real-world casino, a roulette table occupies physical space, contains a complex mechanism, and is subject to the laws of gravity, atmospheric conditions, all manner of minute forces (even the breath of the players!). We could say this is infinitely more flawed than virtual, online roulette systems, which generate pure, non-human results via automated equations such as the Fibonacci sequence. The mechanism is imaginary, the wheel on the screen is simply an avatar of something we are familiar with, but in truth is a pimped calculator.
I do not pretend to be either a mathematician or a gambler, and I am certainly not a technophobe – but I would prefer to have a profound understanding of the algorithms of roulette systems before placing a bet, and that might take a PhD in quantum maths. On the other hand, in a casino, there is something playful and childishly delightful about the experience, even being a spectator over a real roulette table. The hands-on experience, the human interaction, the adrenalin, the suspense – this is precisely what preserves the magic of a game of chance. In front of a flickering screen, even when the numbers that come up are the same, the experience leaves me slightly cold and indifferent. Rather like the comparing and contrasting real love-making with web-cam porn …