It has been shown many times over the years that if you have a mind for mathematics, then you will be able to develop a comprehensive casino strategy. The MIT Blackjack team, who were the inspiration behind the film 21, is a perfect example of this. They used sophisticated card-counting techniques to get an upper hand over the house. Like that team, our final big winner also used brain power and complex mathematical models to beat the house advantage. Gonzalo Garcia-Pelayo noticed that you could in fact develop a Roulette strategy, based on small biases on individual wheels, which would pay out in the long run. Now, we all know that hustling the casinos wasn’t going to end well for Gonzalo, but after he finished up, clearing out Las Vegas, he had more than enough money to pay for the lawsuits.
In the early 90s, Gonzalo, a record producer at the time, began watching the roulette wheels in his native Madrid. As an avid mathematician, it soon became apparent to him, that certain numbers were coming up more frequently than others; and that if he could work out which numbers they were, a strategy could be devised to predict the outcomes of a spin. The notion was based upon the fact that each wheel is unique, each would have their signatures, and each would need to be studied in detail over many weeks and months. To help him in this task, Gonzalo recruited his family to compile data about the wheels which he inputted into a computer program of his own devising. This program gave him the
Armed with this knowledge, Gonzalo first set about cleaning out the casinos in Madrid. How much he actually won in Madrid varies depending on which article you read, but at the Casino Madrid alone, he is said to have walked away with the equivalent of $1 million, before the casino realised he was beating at them their own game. After his reign came to an end in Spain, he took on the ultimate mission: to clean out Las Vegas.statistical distribution of the wheels and allowed him to pinpoint ‘hotspots’ on them.
Being caught out in the world of the Vegas casinos means your name goes into the Griffin book and you’ll be blacklisted. So Gonzalo and his team had to be careful. They took precautions to blend in as tourists and ensure the same staff didn’t see them too often at the tables. By the time Gonzalo and his family had finished in the US, they retired with an estimated fortune in excess of $2 million, on top of the unknown amount he made in Spain. Much like our previous story, the fact that Gonzalo had in effect cheated the system, meant that he was open to a number of lawsuits. These began in the mid-90s and were kept out of the media spotlight, so the outcomes were unknown, but we are betting he lost much of his fortune to this.
To know that he successfully beat the system with the help of his family was much more important to Gonzalo than anything else. So we’ll leave you with his parting words:
“It’s not about how much we won, but about how we won it.”
Where is he now?
Gonzalo Garcia-Pelayo is still a gambling man, betting on horses and sports and has branched out into the relatively new online casino world. He has also recently released a film entitled the ‘Joys of Cadiz’.