When I was in 9th grade, I did a science fair project in probability.  One of the math teacher came up and asked me, if I flip a coin 10 times and they all came up heads, is there more or less of a chance I will get heads on the next flip?

The answer is that it is still 50/50 but its amazing how many people will miss this one. 1000 flips should give close to 500 head and 500 tails, right? It seems if we have 10 heads to start, we are going to have to get some extra tails to get equal amounts of heads and tails.  In the casino, its like using a lucky roller or hot machine to predict what will happen next.

Loving games and probability I continued to play around with this.  A couple years later, I remember thinking I could win at gambling by always doubling my bet. The idea was that I would eventually win and make back what I lost. It turned out later I wasn’t the first one to think of this – its got its own name called “Martingale” and was popular back in 18th century France.

A more advanced system is D’Alembert (got to love the french 🙂 )  which also requires you to increase your bet, but at a slower pace than simply doubling your money. I won’t go into the detail but you can read about it here.

Now, for fun, go Google Martingale or D’Alembert betting systems and note how many sites will discuss them as valid strategies despite the face that they really don’t work without an infinite (e.g. you have more money than Bill Gates) bank role.

So be careful and watch out for those scams (even you, Bill!)

P.S. A good URL to follow is this one.  It debunks a number of betting systems http://wizardofodds.com/gambling/bettingsystems.html

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