Few know that the first devices that have been considered percussion of notebook computers were created in order to predict roulette.
The predictions in this first ground-breaking roulette numbers experiment where the ball would land were consistent and offered a 44% edge, but a minor hardware issue deferred sustained high-risk bets and real winnings.
Voucher. We now know that the first roulette laptop was created by Thorp and Shannon in 1961, but in the history of professional players and roulette specialists, there has been a highly competitive race to discover the best gadgets and systems. That is why we are going to review the most relevant stages of this kind of replica of the “special career” starring the United States and the USSR and which served these two people to go down in the history of the 20th century … at least in the gaming sector.
Stage # 1 – 1955: How to win at roulette?
In the spring of 1955, as Thorp finished his sophomore year of physics at UCLA, he wondered if it was possible to beat roulette. An indisputable theory said that there was no capable mathematical system. He believed that the roulette wheels were well made mechanically and well maintained. With that, the roulette ball in orbit suddenly seemed like a planet on its majestic, precise, and predictable path.
Stage # 2 – 1955-60: timing and understanding roulette
Thorp began work in late 1955, relying on the idea that we have already presented in the previous section, beginning the attempt to unite radio frequency technology simultaneously with physics experiments. He then studied a cheap half-scale wheel by making films of the wheel in action, and to measure the time of each frame, and the image included a stopwatch measuring in hundredths of a second.
Stage # 3 – 1961: Design and construction of roulette
When the time switch was first hit for the ball, the tone sequence changed and played faster. When the time switch timed the ball a second time, the tones stopped, and the last tone that was heard named the octant to bet on. If the timer miscalculated the number of remaining ball revolutions, the tones continued to indicate that there was no prediction. Since the prediction, if submitted, was simultaneous with the last entry, the calculation time was zero.
Each of these protagonists listened to the musical output through a small speaker in an ear canal. They painted the cables that connect the computer and the speaker to match our skin and hair and fixed them with “chewing gum.” The cables were the diameter of a hair so they wouldn’t show, but even the thin steel cable we used was brittle. The first time she was fully connected for a laboratory test, Shannon cocked her head and, with a twinkle in her eyes, asked, “What makes you feel?”
Stage # 4 – 1961: Gambling on the computer in Las Vegas
The portable version of the computer was already complete and operational in June 1961. In the summer of 1961, Shannon and Thorp met in Las Vegas for a casino test. They used dime chips and often turned a few pennies into a huge pile thanks to another octave “hit”. When the computer worked, it worked very well.”
Stage # 5 – 1962-1998: What will come next?
An attractive offer led Thorp to leave MIT in June 1961, and for reasons such as the difficulties of working together remotely and the opportunity cost of our other activities, he never continued with Claude Shannon working on the project anymore. In 1961 Thorp built an “imitation” to predict the “wheel of fortune” or “wheel of money.”
To do this, it used the footswitch for the input, the speaker for the output, a single junction transistor, and only one person was required. The matchbox-sized computer had an expected win of over 200% in casinos, but the game took little action to hide the late bets and the dramatic consequences.
Finally, in 1966, Thorp publicly announced the roulette system because it was now clear that we were not going to exploit it. They continued to build an operational portable roulette computer in the 1970s using the next generation of technology.