Chapter Nine: Dealer Signature Strategy

The Theory & Practice of "Dealer Signatures"

A very popular approach to roulette in recent years is the "dealer signature" strategy. The theory is simple. Dealers spin the wheel hundreds of times a day.

It seems reasonable to assume that they develop certain habits in the way they release the ball and spin it. If the dealer spins the ball in a somewhat similar way each time, then maybe we can track the results of spins in order to predict the results. In this chapter I describe this strategy--and warn you about its shortcomings.

There are different ways to track the dealer's signature, but the main idea is to notice two bits of data for each spin: where the ball is released and where it lands.

For example, if the dealer releases the ball over the number 31, and you notice that the ball actually lands in the number 31 slot after spinning around the wheel the appropriate number of times, then that dealer has the perfect "signature" to track. If, that is, you continue to track the dealer's spins and notice a consistent pattern between the release point and the landing point. The ideal signature would be if the ball consistently landed in or very near the exact point on the wheel where you notice the ball is released. Consider the dealer's signature consistent if it lands within a predicted 7-number area at least 50% of the time. If it does, you can make a lot of money fast!

Once you were sure of the dealer's signature, the betting method is simple. You watch where the ball is released, then immediately place your bets on that part of the wheel, being sure to cover 7 to 9 numbers. In the case of the perfect signature, if you saw the ball released over the 31 you would bet on the 31 plus 3 or 4 numbers on either side: 12 8 19 31 18 6 21.

To pursue this strategy seriously you would need to memorize the wheel so that you waste no time placing your bets after you see the release point. This is not hard to do and you can have a friend quiz you to help you learn the neighbors of all 38 slots on the double zero wheel.

Of course most of the time the signature will not be so easy to detect. Accordingly, most dealer signature strategists suggest dividing the wheel up into a set of sections.

You then keep track on paper which section the ball is released over, and in which section the ball lands. If you detect a pattern, such as when the ball is released over section 2 it lands in section 4, etc., then you place your bets accordingly.

Let's see how this is done. The numbers on the double zero wheel can be listed as follow:

0 - 28 - 9 - 26 - 30 - 11 - 7 - 20 - 32 - 17 - 5 - 22 - 34 - 15 - 3 - 24 – 36 - 13 - 1 - 00 - 27 - 10 - 25 - 29 - 12 - 8 - 19 - 31 - 18 - 6 - 21 - 33 - 16 - 4 - 23 - 35 - 14 - 2

The first step is to divide the wheel into manageable sections. By manageable I mean small enough that you have time to place bets on all the numbers in each section, but large enough to cover a decent amount of the wheel. You might be tempted to cover too many numbers, but you need to resist this temptation. Bet on no more than 9 numbers. That way as long as you hit even one time in 4 you can stay even with flat betting. If you do any better than 25%, you will make money. On the other hand, if you bet on any more than 9 numbers, then you might as well be using the other strategies that involve significant progressions.

Here is one way to divide up the wheel. It really does not matter which numbers you decide to cluster into your sections, as long as you can remember them and as long as your sections have no more than 9 numbers in them.

Section 1: 0 - 28 - 9 - 26 - 30 - 11 - 7 (7 numbers)

Section 2: 20 - 32 - 17 - 5 - 22 - 34 - 15 (7 numbers)

Section 3: 3 - 24 - 36 - 13 - 1 - 00 - 27 - 10 (8 numbers)

Section 4: 25 - 29 - 12 - 8 - 19 - 31 - 18 - 6 (8 numbers)

Section 5: 21 - 33 - 16 - 4 - 23 - 35 - 14 - 2 (8 numbers)

Now, mark down for each spin you observe which section the ball is released over and which it lands in. Make a grid that looks like this:

Section 1:

Section 2:

Section 3:

Section 4:

Section 5:

Record where the ball lands after each spin. If the first spin is released over section 3 and lands in section 5, record a 5 next to section 3 like this:

Section 1:

Section 2:

Section 3: 5

Section 4:

Section 5:

After 20 spins you might have something that looks like this:

Section 1: 3 2 3 1 3

Section 2: 5 5 5 4 5

Section 3: 1 4 4

Section 4: 2 4 3 1

Section 5: 1 5 3

Now, the tough question now becomes, what do you bet on? Let me share with you the first bit of bad news about this strategy. I know of no empirical study that proves that this strategy works. You may hear extravagant claims about how wonderfully it works, but beware. The person telling you these claims is probably trying to sell you something. Successful roulette players who believe that they have found a way to beat the game like to brag and the truly great accomplishments usually make their way into a book or gambling magazine. No study has ever been published that I am aware of that documents consistent success with this strategy. Maybe you'll be the first! In any case, do not run out and put a lot of money at risk with this strategy. Not yet. Make it prove itself to you.

Because no empirical work has been done on this strategy, I cannot tell you exactly how many spins you should record before deciding whether to bet on a given dealer's signature. What I can tell you is that if a dealer has a consistent signature, you should be able to detect it fairly easily. Look at the examples above. If you are getting results like I have invented for the first two sections, then they are worth betting on. Notice in section 1 that three of the five spins landed in section 3. That is a good enough batting average to step up to the plate and give it a chance. In section 2 we have 4 out of 5 landing in the same section. If such a pattern kept going, you will make a lot of profit fast.

But what about section 3? Two of the three spins landed in the same section.

Is it worth betting on? This is where you have to trust your gut. Because no empirical work has been done in this area, no one, and I mean NO ONE, can yet say with authority how many spins we need to confirm a dealer's signature.

Sections 4 and 5 are examples where the data do not suggest a consistent dealer's signature. With 5 sections, the odds of any given section being hit in any spin is 20%. Accordingly, unless you get results that are much higher than that, the results could be the result of random fluctuation.

Now, what if you got exactly the results I listed here. Does the dealer have a consistent signature? The answer has to be based on the overall results, not just on how one or two sections hit. Because if the dealer has a consistent manner of spinning the ball, it should show up not just in one or two, but in at least four or all five of the sections. My suggested rule of thumb is that you track at least 20 spins. Do at least half of the spins for each release-section land in the same results-section? If so, then you may have evidence of a dealer signature worth betting on. Remember: You want evidence of a 50% success rate of predicting the section in which the ball will land to pursue this strategy. If the dealer is less consistent than that, do not pursue the strategy. Change tables or wait for a new dealer.

Some Cautions about Playing this Strategy

Some advocates of this strategy will suggest that you track results for much longer periods of time than just 20 spins. Normally I would agree that the more data you have, the better off you are. But dealers change shifts regularly. If you track for too long, the dealer will change just when you have the data you need. Of course, that dealer may come back to the same table, so don't throw away your notes!

Remember, this strategy calls only for flat betting, not progressive. So bet just one unit on each number you bet on. The strategy is too speculative to risk any more.

Two other cautionary comments that you should keep in mind. First, watch the dealer carefully to see if the direction of each spin is the same, and notice whether the wheel speed is relatively consistent or not. I want to share with you a message posted to a computer newsgroup from a roulette dealer from Australia who wrote to comment on the concept of "dealer signatures." These comments should give you an idea what you are up against:

As a Roulette dealer, I'm constantly surprised how people fail to recognize that the dealer has two different spin motions on any one table.

One clockwise and one anti-clockwise. Furthermore, dealers rotate around tables that are both left and right-handed. Hence, in one night any one dealer has four distinctly different spin motions.

If anyone is interested in tracking numbers they should try to find a dealer that spins the wheel slowly and constantly--so there is less chance for error--and make sure they track the sections of the wheel differently for each clock-wise and anticlockwise motions.

Second, even if you are very successful with this strategy, don't quit your day job! The reason is that this is the easiest strategy in the book for the LIVE casino to defeat once detected. Think about it: To make this strategy work you have to stand over or near the wheel and watch the dealer quite carefully. Then after the ball is released you have to hustle and place your chips on a variety of numbers. If you start winning consistently with this strategy, any experienced dealer or pit boss is going to know exactly what you are doing.

You want to keep the dealer on your side by offering consistent tips when you hit. Even so, the dealer could be instructed by the pit boss to start varying the spin by changing the wheel speed, direction of the spin, or the balls velocity when released. In short, the pit boss can tell the dealer to make changes in what we have been calling their "signature." If that does not work, the pit boss will change dealers. If that still does not stop you, the dealer will start calling "no more bets!" almost immediately after the ball is released so that you do not have enough time to place your bets.

Unfortunately, that is the ultimate way to defeat this strategy: Allow players to place their bets for as long as they want, but then call "no more bets" even before starting to spin the ball around the wheel. To recap: This strategy has not been proven to work, and if it works it is easy for the casino to defeat. Sorry, folks, but better to know the truth than to lose money.

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