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Best of John Grochowski
My wild roulette streak15 August 2013
It was my turn to ride a streak this June. It was a family birthday, we had a group at a casino, and I was playing some cheap roulette. I don’t play roulette often, but when I do, I’m all about table minimums and family birthdays.
The date in question was June 7, so to make up the $5 table minimum, I put a $2 split bet on 6 and 7, then put the other $3 on the double street that included 6 and 7. The two-number split pays at 17-1 odds, while a double street is a six-number bet that pays 5-1. My double street included Nos. 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9.
I’d had six losing spins in a row, so I was down $30 and in danger of having to leave the table. My buy-in was $50, and I’m not really willing to go much deeper in roulette. Still, a couple others in our group were playing, and on this night I was there for the camaraderie.
This streak of the losing variety was broken when the ball landed in the 4 slot. The 5-1 payoff on my $3 bet brought $15 in winnings. Coupled with the $2 loss on the 6-7 combo, I had a $13 profit for the spin, and a couple of plays’ more leeway to stay with the party.
Two more losing spins followed, and now I was down $27 overall, and I started plotting a graceful escape to the land of blackjack and video poker.
But better things were ahead. All those losses were wiped out -- and then some -- on my 10th set of wagers. Up came the birthday month, black 6. That was worth $34 in profit on my split bet, plus $15 on the double street.
That meant I was now $22 ahead. I doubled to a $6 bet on the double street and $4 on the split. I had $12 in profit in front of me and $10 on the table.
One young man who’d been making bigger bets and spreading chips all over the layout teased me about my splurge.
“Ten whole dollars!” he yelled across the table. “Are you sure you can manage that? That’s half a buffet, you know.”
I told him that was OK, I had a coupon. Then I watched as the ball fell into red 7.
“Hey! Maybe you should give me that coupon,” my kibitzer said with a laugh.
This time I collected $30 in profits on the double street, and $68 on the split. And I increased my bets once again, to $9 on the six-number wager, and $6 on 6-7.
That raised interest from a different player, a 30-something woman who wanted to explain odds to me.
“I see what you’re doing,” she said. “But don’t you know how hard it is to win that bet three times in a row? Good luck with that.”
The good luck was there. For the third spin in a row, the winning number was 6, and this time I collected $45 in profit on the double street and $102 on the split.
I went to the well once more, raising to a $12 double street and $8 on the split. The result? Red 27, for a $20 loss. The streak was over, and I dropped back minimum bets for the next half hour we stayed at the table. Still, I made $294 during the streak, and was more than $200 to the good when I moved on.
Later, my brother-in-law asked about the streak. Just how hard is it to win on the same number three times in a row?
If I’d had to bet at the beginning that 6 would turn up three times in a row, the odds would have been long indeed. On a double-zero wheel, there’s a 1 in 38 chance of the ball landing in any given number. The chance of that number turning up three times in a row is 1 in 38 x 38 x 38, or 1 in 54,872.
But when the woman made the comment, after 6 had come up twice, the odds of it coming up again were 1 in 38, not 1 in 54,872.
And either number on my split -- 6 and 7 -- would have yielded the same results. Working with two numbers, there’s a 1 in 19 chance of one winning. For a three-bet sequence, that’s a 1 in 6,859 shot, far narrower odds than working with just one number. And for bet No. 3 just taken alone, it’s 1 in 19.
However you look at it, even a short three-win streak was an unlikely occurrence, one I’m not counting on repeating anytime soon. But while it was happening, it was a blast.
Look for John Grochowski at www.casinoanswerman.com, on Facebook (http://tinyurl.com/7lzdt44) and Twitter (@GrochowskiJ).
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Best of John Grochowski