A friend, who firmly believes in the element of randomness in everyday life and is always on the lookout for patterns, tried his hand at online roulette. This was the perfect opportunity to test his theory that it's possible to find patterns in the numbers and exploit them to win. The established casino in Colombo provided a live stream of their roulette, making it an ideal setup to analyze the numbers.
Using Excel and the =randnumber() formula, we started our experiment. The first spin resulted in 36, which was on my list. He wanted 11 numbers instead of 10, so we agreed and I added another number. To our surprise, the adjacent number was 19, which I won.
However, after a few rounds, he seemed to have figured out the spins and the differences between them. Despite having a random selection of 12 numbers and him having 12 carefully picked numbers, nobody won and it was a draw. The spinner changed, and he said "I like this female spinner," but that didn't guarantee him a win in the next 5 rounds. After 15 rounds, he was losing 7-4 and wanted to play another 5 rounds.
He said "This is not a game of luck," but after 18 rounds, the score was 9-5 in his favor. However, the spinner changed and he lost 8-7. The problem was that the random number generation seemed to repeat. So, we switched to using an iPad to identify patterns. Betters often wait until they identify a streak and continue to bet until they lose it.
Finally, we settled down with an iPad and pencil to mark the patterns and see if it works. To our surprise, it did seem to work. But, isn't it always the case that we see patterns all the time?