This is a true roulette story from the seventies that has become part of roulette folklore that was later told on a book called the Eudaemonic Pie.
This roulette ruse was cooked up by a bunch of students from the West Coast universities in the USA. Most of the men and women were reading physics and engineering at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
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They named themselves the ”Eudaemonians.” Aristotle used “Eudaemonia” to describe the happy status of the rational life. Thomas A. Bass, one of the group, later wrote ”The Eudaemonic Pie,” (called The Newtonian Casino in the UK). Their plan was to take Las Vegas to the cleaners via roulette. They saw themselves as crusaders against the casinos- a force for good against the excesses of the Strip and believed they could take the big names of the desert down a peg or two.
Being physicists, the Eudaemonians were attracted to roulette. They figured that with knowledge and accurate measurements of the movements of the ball and the wheel, the group could harness their knowledge of Newtonian mechanics and make predictions as to where the ball would fall. Other players in the 70s were resorting to other means like the team behind the Cigarette Pack roulette scam in France, but not the Eudaemonians. They wanted to crack the code once and for all.
You’re allowed to continue betting in roulette when the ball has been spun- up to a certain point anyway, and the Eudaemonians reckoned that this gave them the window they needed to make some money. The theory has been tested again and again since- sometimes very successfully.
But of course, the game was not as simple as that. They also had to come up with a way of not drawing attention to themselves, of keeping under the pit bosses’ radar and of working in peace. That, in many ways, was the hard bit.
The project soaked up 6 years and almost 24 contributors before they came up with a feasible modus operandi. 2 person teams were used – one to record the data and one to execute the bets.
The process was tested in small casinos and their success built. They fine tuned their technology, using smaller computers, receivers, transmitters and keyboards until they had most of the kit fitted into a shoe.
Then they hit the bright lights of Las Vegas, but came up against a new technical problem- the Eudaemonians, punch drunk from the investment of time they had put into the project, backed away- static in the casino was interfering with the radio communication that linked the computer to the bettor.
So in the end, the Eudaemonians never did get to make hay when the sun was shining, but they still go down in history as the group that came agonisingly close.
So why didn’t they just fine tune their technology and head back for another season? Well, Thomas Bass will have you believe that they were never in it for the money- they just wanted to know whether they could crack the roulette code. And once they had proven to themselves that it was possible, there was little motivation to continue. Especially with the constant danger of being discovered by the pit bosses.
I am not sure I buy that. But we’ll just have to file it in the “Roulette Legends” draw. I guess we’ll never know.