Secrets of Winning Roulette
This is another one of Marten Jensen's literary masterpieces that I picked up some while back, and which has been sitting in a box in the corner of my conservatory ever since. Due to the Covid-19 measures in place at the time of writing, I've been able to catch up on all of those titles I've acquired but never got around to writing a review for, and this one's now made it to the top of the pile.
Before I delve into the contents, let's take a look this title's tag-line and some of the other eye-catchers that are splashed across the outer covers.
"The Controversial Book that Shows Every Winning Method!"
(the title's tag line - capitalised as is),
"WIN AT ROULETTE!",
"PLAY ROULETTE LIKE A PRO!",
"The casinos couldn't stop this book from being published!",
*Groan*. OK, a tad on the purile side to be sure, but perhaps this is all just marketing blurb and there's some solid stuff inside - stuff that'll aid anyone who has never played roulette before, or who has and would like to understand their results and losses? Well yes . . . there is . . . a bit . . . but not much.
This book runs to 252 pages (not including the ads at the back), and considering the scope of the contents it looks to be a comprehensive guide to the game. But when you look beyond the index, and read through some of the text, anyone who knows anything about roulette would see much of it is complete bollocks and some of it is, quite frankly, hilarious. As an example of this on page 216 Mr J writes:
"Historically, gambling casinos have cheated players thousands of times more often than players have managed to cheat the casinos. Since cheating was originally and extensively practiced by the gambling halls and casinos, that makes them fair game."
So if you've considered engaging in a bit of "past-posting" at your local house of chance, and are looking for some tacit approval to go for it, there it is - directly from an "expert" and in print. Good luck with arguing that one in court though and, or course, don't bother asking Cardoza Publishing to cover your legal fees. A few pages later there's some advice on "team selection and behaviour" if you're planning your assault on a casino's profit and loss account as a joint venture and using a miniture computer to predict the winning track sectors. He writes ". . . most men will need to wear a wig, if only to cover the earphone . . .". Incidently, within the book two chapters are devoted to computer (track) sector prediction and building your own miniture prediction computer, and includes sections on "selecting the radio gear", "building an optical sensor" and "speech synthesis" - surprising how much valuable information you can get for your fifteen bucks? On page 211 there's even a list of recommended parts to purchase (I kid you not!) although as this was published over twenty years ago it'll be well obsolete now. I don't know whether Mr J had a straight face when he wrote all of this but it certainly had me in stitches as I was reading through it.
What about the rest? Giving credit where it's due Secrets of Winning Roulette does contain a few sensible bits and these cover a description of the differences between a single and double-zero wheel, the rules and explanations of probability, odds and the house edge. The lion's share of the remainder relates to considerations around biased wheels and how to find them (apparently it takes just 600 spins to know whether you've struck gold or not - see page 102), how casinos can fix their wheels in order to dupe their patrons (really - in times of strict regulation?) and the application of notorious systems and how they can be made to work by using them in conjunction with money management (read not betting as much at certain times) techniques - as expounded by John Patrick. Within the systems nonsense there's also the usual tosh around using "waiting spins", or "null bets" as Mr J refers to them (as no money is at risk), in order to increase the number of steps it's possible to play a progression before hitting the table limits (page 149 refers). Within the section A final word about system play (on page 162) Mr J writes:
". . . Yes, a case can be made to show that, in the long run, it is impossible to make a profit by playing the classical systems. None of these books, however, take into account any of the adjustments and modifications for mitigating system weaknesses that are outlined in this chapter. This may be because very little of this material has ever been published before.".
"Another reason could be that the statistical calculations get very complex when trying to generalize null bets and CYA bets. And statisticians have their way of rationalizing the possible paradox between the decreasing probability of the occurence of winning/losing streaks as they get longer and the fact that each spin of the roulette ball is an independent event."
Or . . . it could be the fact that there's no mathematical advantage to be had by applying such systems, whether incorporating null bets etc or not, and that the logic of doing so just don't stack up!
On page 225 Dr Ed Thorpe's ground-breaking book Beat the Dealer, which was published in 1966, is referred to together with how the strategy he developed using sound mathematical principles allowed players to gain an advantage at the game of blackjack. Mr J writes of Secrets of Winning Roulette ". . . This book is expected to produce a similar result for Roulette." Yeah . . . right. Although it should be acknowledged that in recent years the main manufacturers of casino roulette wheels have taken steps to make it more difficult for the wheel-clockers and sector-trackers to apply their trade, I think it highly unlikely that it was anything to do with Marten Jensen and this title. This one's simply about turning some trees into dollars.
So there you have it - not one I'd recommend anyone parts with any money for.
Marten Jensen has had six books on casino games published and he's held up as "The Doctor of Gambling" - although possibly only by his publisher. Bearing in mind his voodoo based advice I'd say people could be forgiven for thinking it should be "Witch-Doctor". He now writes fiction and has two works to his name although he's only published these in electronic Kindle format. Secrets of Winning Roulette was re-released as an e-book in 2012, and again in 2017 as a softback hard-copy, presumably with updated content. At the time of writing it's possible to pick up a copy of the earlier editions from online book retailers for less than a fiver.