As a well-known researcher caught luck, perplexed casino owners around the world, and left the game with a fortune
On a warm May evening in 1969, a crowd of shocked players crowded around a worn roulette table in the Italian Riviera. In the center stood a lanky 38-year-old professor of medicine in a crumpled suit. He just made a bet of $ 100,000 ($ 715,000 in today's money) for one round of roulette. The croupier released a small white ball, and the room froze. He can’t be so lucky ... or maybe?
However, Dr. Richard Jareki did not surrender to a blind incident. He spent thousands of hours developing a brilliant winning method - and he will soon bring him a prize equivalent to today's $ 8 million.
From Nazi Germany to New Jersey
Richard Jareki was born in 1931 in the German city of Stettin into a Jewish family, and fell into the world of chaos. Germany was in the throes of an economic crisis, growing support for the Nazi party of the Nazi Party with their anti-Semitic platform, blaming the Jews for all the problems of the country. Dzhareki's parents, a dermatologist and heiress of a large transport company, gradually lost everything they owned. Faced with the threat of internment and the outbreak of World War II, they fled to America in search of a better life.
Hitler on a German street in 1938, shortly after the flight of the Jareki family from the country
In New Jersey, the young Jareki found an outlet in such card games as gin rummy, ramp and bridge, and with pleasure “regularly won money” with friends. His gifted brain easily remembered numbers and statistics, and the young man went to study medicine - it was a noble act approved by his father.
In the 50s, Jareki gained a reputation as one of the largest medical researchers in the world. However, he had one secret: his real passion was hiding in the dark, musty corridors of the casino.
Somewhere in 1960, Dzhareki got a passion for roulette, a game in which a small ball spins on a randomly numbered multi-colored wheel, and players bet on where it lands. And although many considered roulette a game of chance, Jareki was convinced that it could be “defeated”.
He noticed that at the end of each evening, casinos changed cards and dice for new ones - however, expensive roulette wheels remained in place, and often served for decades until they were replaced with new ones.
Like other cars, these wheels wore out. Jareki began to suspect that minor defects - chips, dents, scratches, uneven surfaces - could cause certain wheels to issue certain numbers more often than they would in a truly random order.
Roulette on which Jareki played in the 60s
On weekends, the doctor drove back and forth between two tables, an operating room and a roulette table, manually recording the results of thousands and thousands of roulette starts, and analyzing the data for statistical anomalies.
"I experimented until I developed a sketch of the system on the basis of the previous winning numbers, - said he newspaper Mornin Sydney Herald in 1969. “If the numbers 1, 2 and 3 won in the previous rounds, then I could determine which numbers were most likely to win in the next three rounds.”
Jackie's approach was not new: Joseph Jagger , considered the pioneer of the so-called “off-wheel” strategies, won significant amounts in the 1880s [Apparently, this story was inspired by Jack London, writing the story "The kid sees dreams" / approx. perev. ]. In 1947, researchers Albert Gibbs and Roy Walford used this technology, bought a yacht with the money they received, and sailed into the Caribbean sunset. There was Helmut Berlin , a turner, who in 1950 hired a team of friends to monitor the work of roulettes, and won $ 420,000.
However, it was not about money for Dzhareki. He wanted to bring the system to the ideal, repeat it and “defeat” roulette. It was a man’s victory over the car.
After months of collecting data, he took the saved $ 100 (set aside for a rainy day) and went to conquer the casino. Before that, he had not played gambling, and although he believed in his research, he knew that he was still confronted with an “element of chance”.
In a few hours, he turned $ 100 into $ 5,000 ($ 41,000 in today's money). Confirming the system’s performance, he switched to more serious rates.
In the mid-60s, Jareki moved to Germany and got a job at the University of Heidelberg to study electrophoresis and criminal medicine.
Recently, he received a very prestigious award (one of only 12 awarded worldwide) for his work on international cooperation in the field of medicine, and became a member of an elite group of doctors and scientists. However, Jareki longed for another prize: he looked towards the nearby casinos.
Jareki (center) gathers a crowd in a European casino
. European roulettes had better chances than in America: they had 37 cells with numbers, and not 38, which reduced the casino's advantage over a player from 5.26% to 2.7%. And, as Jareki later discovered, they just suited him: old, broken-up, full of physical defects.
With his wife, he went around dozens of roulettes in casinos throughout Europe, from Monte Carlo (Monaco) to Divonne-les-Bains (France) and Baden-Baden (Germany). The couple gathered a team of 8 assistants located in the casino and recording the results of the roulette - sometimes 20,000 starts per month. Then, in 1964, he struck the first blow.
Having identified the defective wheels, he borrowed £ 25,000 from the Swedish financier and spent 6 months on the implementation of his strategy, not hiding at all. By the end of the period, he had earned £ 625,000 (approximately $ 6,700,000 today).
Jareki’s victories hit headlines around the world, from Kansas to Australia. Everyone wanted to know his "secret" - but he knew that in order to continue to win, he needed to hide the true methodology.
Therefore, he came up with a fashionable tale for the press: he supposedly calculated the results of roulette daily, and then fed the results to the Atlas supercomputer, which prompted him the winning numbers.
In those days, as gambling historian Russell Barnhart wrote in his book Beating the Wheel, “Computers were considered creatures from outer space. “Few, even among casino managers, knew enough about them to distinguish myths from reality.”
Hiding behind this technological trick, Jareki continued to track down defective tables - and prepared for the next major step.
Casino owner's worst nightmare
Charged with cash, Jareki purchased luxury apartments near San Remo, a luxurious Italian casino on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. Diligent observations helped him identify a table on which the number 33 fell out much more than usual - as a result of "constant friction of the ball on the wheel." On a spring evening in 1968, he arrived on his white Rolls-Royce in this stash of gambling sin and won about $ 48,000 (today's $ 360,000) in three days.
Eight months later, he returned after winning $ 192,000 ($ 1,400,000) in one weekend at two different roulettes twice in one night, which devastated the money in the casino. The casino owner, who was on the verge of ruin, had no choice but to prohibit Dzhareki from visiting his establishment for 15 days "for playing too well."
San Remo Casino, where Jareki won a large sum
In the evening, after the ban was over, Jareki returned and won another $ 100,000 ($ 717,000) - the casino even had to write him a debt.
When visiting the casinos around Jareki, large crowds of people gathered to observe the work of the master. Many tried to repeat bets after him, placing small bets on the same numbers.
Trying to outwit Jareki, the casino owners changed their favorite roulettes in places every evening. However, the professor remembered every vein in the tree, every chip, scratch and color defect - and always found the right ones.
“It has become a threat to all European casinos,” said Lardera Sydney Mornin Herald. “I don’t know how he does it, but I would be happy if he had never returned to my casino.”
“If casino managers don't like to lose,” Jareki retorted, “let them sell vegetables.”
As a result, San Remo surrendered and replaced all 24 roulettes, having spent a significant amount. Management decided that this was the only way to stop the best player of all that they saw.
In the following decades, casinos began to invest heavily in roulette tracking systems, tracking defects and creating wheels less prone to distortion. Today, most of the wheels are digital, and operate on algorithms that guarantee a casino win.
With tape measure to the grave
In general, Jareki won about $ 1,250,000 (today's $ 8,000,000) in casinos by making big bets on defective roulettes from 1964 to 1969. The
Italian newspaper Il Giorno called him “the most successful roulette player” - a skinny academic who did not look like “ gambler". Once at the university he was considered a "nerd", but now he has become the "hero of all university students."
Richard Jareki and his family
In 1973, Jareki moved back to New Jersey, starting a new career as a commodity broker. With the help of his brother, a billionaire, he increased his fortune by 10 times. He also transferred his passion for games to his son, who at age 9 became the youngest chess champion in history.
The casino owners periodically harassed him with partnership offers, but he never agreed: “He liked taking money from the casino,” his wife, Carol, told the New York Times, “rather than giving it away.”
In the early 90s, Jareki was tired of Atlantic City and moved to Manila, where gambling flourished and poorly regulated. He lived there until his death in 2018, at the age of 87.
Having settled in the corner of a noisy gaming room, surrounded by neon lights and slot machines, he made his last bet. The wheel was spinning and spinning. And, like many times before, a small white ball hit his chosen number.