Skip to main content

Roulette Wheel Odds

...Even David Mamet makes mistakes...

I

started reading David Mamet's Bambi vs. Godzilla: On the Nature, Purpose, and Practice of the Movie Business.

In his chapter on producers, he compares a movie producer to a casino gambler who bets black on a roulette wheel. After the first loss, he bets black again but with twice the money and keeps this up until he wins.

Movie producers keep betting more money on the tent pole movies with the hopes it will be the next JAWS or STAR WARS. If the movie fails, the producer can't be blamed because he didn't cut any corners. "We doubled our budget."

The strategy he insists is doomed to fail just like the gambler.

When he writes that there is a limited bankroll for both the gambler and producer, it's easy to understand even for a multibillion dollar company. They may very well run out of funds before their strategy pays off.

And he's correct when he writes about the independent nature of each roll of the wheel. That it came up black on the last roll has no bearing on whether it will be black or red the next time. The odds on each spin of the wheel are the same each time unlike the draw of a card in blackjack or poker.

But he's wrong about the odds on black or red coming up.

The odds of its appearance on the next spin are still 50-50.

Close, but no. In a Las Vegas roulette wheel there are 18 red numbers, 18 black numbers and 2 green numbers for a total of 38.

The odds for a fair coin toss is 50-50 since there are only two outcomes: heads or tails. To get the same odds for red or black on a roulette wheel, the green pocket would have to be removed, but since it's there, the chance of getting red or black is slightly less than 50% of the time. It's exactly 47.3684% (18/38).

In Europe, your chance of winning with black or red increase since they use one green pocket, zero, and don't have the second double-zero green.

P.S. I've never been to Las Vegas and I'm not a casino gambler. I don't get seduced by the possibility of hitting a jackpot.

I remember during a summer trip when I was in my early teens where on a ferry between Maine and Nova Scotia there were slot machines. I watched what was going on instead of playing. I remember two men who started with a couple of rolls of quarters, played until they doubled or tripled their money, they were all giddy, then lost it all and looked deflated. I imagine that happens everyday.

Posted 2007/04/21 at 17h58ET in Movies.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Cast of Characters from The Protectors

Friday, September 16, 2011 ... Cast of Characters from The Protectors... M ost novels do not include a list of characters, although I have read some with them. Tolstoy readers would likely appreciate it. Plays do. Scripts don’t. Not sure what the thinking is, but I didn’t include it with my novel. I had a feeling I’d be shot if I had suggested it, but with the internet, I can provide such a list and here is the list of the major players in my first novel The Protectors (A Thriller).
Black Carr Security Consultants Limited Baird Carr, Former CIA Officer, Co-founder, OwnerEmerson Black, Former Secret Service Agent, Co-founder, OwnerSarah Bishop, Former FBI Agent, Senior ConsultantDebra Paeytonne, Office AdministratorBeth, ReceptionistStephen Tedeschi, Former Secret Service Agent, ConsultantNigel, Independent Consultant
U.S. Secret Service Ken Milton, DirectorRichard Heyward, Retired AgentJulian Constance, Agent, Killed in Assassination AttemptTrisha Evrington, AgentTerry Flannon, Agen…

Day 5—Writing a Novel—The Deep Blue Cage

Monday, November 21st, 2016 No work on the novel on Day 4. Note: Unedited writings from my notebook for this novel. Square bracket items represent added comments.
At 18:31 Office ... if I use Leänne instead of Leanne how will people react... Y esterday was Sunday and I took it off, plus I was dealing with some mental health issues. I know this story is something that is simply a matter of putting in the time to make it happen. I’m supposed to be working on it as much as I can but I haven’t been doing that. Two main reasons. It’s been a while since I’ve worked on a story. Then there’s the issues of my mental health. Things happen. I get down and it impacts on my writing. I might be using it as an excuse, but it’s clearly something I need to deal with. I have to find a schedule I can work with. Perhaps I need to put this first and cut out other things. Not sure but I will figure it out. A name for the hero came to me. For the moment going with Leanne or is it Leanna? Should be Le…

Writing a Novel–The Deep Blue Cage–Introduction

Thursday, March 9th, 2017 ... I fight my insecurities and doubts and I withdraw farther away from people and life ... I n November 2016 I started work on a new novel with the working title: The Deep Blue Cage. A few weeks after I started, I stopped. I was feeling too depressed about everything including the idea of writing a new novel. It happens to me at various times, with varying degrees, and it is debilitating. The ultimate issue was: Why bother? Why bother write another novel no one will read and no one will care about. I also found I was dreading the writing process more and more. It was painful to think about. I walked away and focused on other things. Or tried to. That didn’t work either. I felt trapped and unsure where I should head, what I should do. I even asked the big question, what the hell is life about anyway. There’s no one answer to this question despite the proclamations of some and because I believe I can think critically, can reason, I look at it from many a…