Spin Roulette Gold
Frank Scoblete

At the time of writing, there's a copy of this title being hawked on EBay for £67.03 - I kid you not. When it was first published in 1997 in the States, the cover price was $14.95 (which equates to around $22.00 at today's value) so a fair amount to spend on a paperback book even then. I picked up my copy for £2.20, which I was content to run to in order to satisfy my curiosity and add another review to the site. Was it a steal? Well, if I said the money would have been better spent on a pint at my local 'Spoons, that might be a clue?

In a short word then, this title can best be described as tosh - 229 pages of words that, at best, do little more than state the obvious and at the other extreme are likely to insult the intelligence of anyone who's ever thrown a chip on to a roulette layout. Of the 229 pages, 56 of them are simply a record of "live spin" results taken from the display boards of roulette tables in casinos in LV and Atlantic City. What all that's about is anyone's guess - pure voodoo. A further 22 pages are dedicated to further reading (a synopsis of other roulette titles available at the time), a glossary and the index - so a third of the book's pages are taken up with content of little value, and thereby $5 of the original cover price has been wasted before reading a word.

So after disregarding that, what's left? Well, there's lots written about the benefit of finding biased wheels accompanied with inconclusive discussions around whether dealer signatures really exist. Regardless of whether or not you can, and they do, Mr S's advice is to bet as if they do - and where some numbers are showing up on the results board far more frequently than the mathematical average dictates they should, to pile your money onto them. He talks about "BIG" numbers - if a number has four or more hits in twenty spins he considers it to be a "very strong BIG number", as does he for any hitting three times in sixteen spins. At the other end of the scale two occurences of the same number in twenty spins he considers to be a "weak BIG number". BIG numbers form part of Mr S's "Double Dynamite System", which also incorporates "sector slicing" - 27 pages of the book are devoted to diagrams of wheels, each carrying marks denoting the previous sixteen or twenty results and with a description of how you'd bet in response to the past results. With the Double Dynamite System all "BIG" numbers are covered with a chip. Wow!

Now although taking this trip into probability fantasyland may provide some added entertainment when visiting a house of chance, it certainly doesn't constitute "the secrets of beating the wheel".The pages that aren't devoted to the nonsense referred to above simply detail a brief history of the wheel, the house edge, how to play and place bets, the payoffs etc as well as a few paragraphs devoted to notorious "systems" - the Martingale, the Grand Martingale, the Labouchere and the D'Alembert, in Chapters 3 and 4. Chapter 5 is "Golden Numbers - how to beat the wheel in Roulette", which is where the tosh begins in earnest.

In summary, if you like collecting books on the subject of Roulette, this one may complement your collection and pad out the bookshelf. Contents wise, however, I'm afraid in the main it's just a collection of crack-pot ideas that have been presented in a way that fills the majority of the space between the covers. A great shame that many trees had to be felled in order to provide the pulp to service the print-run twenty years ago. Thankfully, it's never been reprinted.

Frank Scoblete is a prolific gambling writer and has published over two dozen gambling titles over the last twenty five years, in addition to other articles and columns. No less than the Washington Post has described him as a "a widely published authority on casino games", and he even has a Wikipedia page dedicated to him (I wondered who set that up). On his Wikipedia page, it's recorded that Mr S use to be an actor in a travelling theatre company he had a financial interest in during the 1980s, but while researching the part of a gambler he and his good lady discovered that they enjoyed gambling more than they did acting. No doubt afterwards they also discovered they could make more money out of writing about it than they could by doing it? On his own wordpress web-pages he states he also taught English for thirty three years (shame it wasn't maths) which is, I suspect, how he made his living - not at the felt.

November 2016.