When someone does cheat, it often feels like something out of a movie. That’s because it usually is from a movie. But now, a new book is proving how two men managed to get away with cheating at Vegas Roulette.
Shannon is “considered as the founding father of electronic communications age.” He was an American mathematical engineer. His work laid the groundwork for the computer industry and for telecommunications.
It was the only way they could see if the computer did indeed work. The book gives a picture of what the scientists were going for. Remember, this was the 1960s; phones were still huge and the internet was non-existent.
“Picture a roulette wheel divided up into eight segments: By June 1961,Thorp and Shannon had a working version of a device that could determine which of those segments would end up holding the ball.” The two men were using science to cheat, not luck.
“As soon as they concluded that they had, in fact, found their edge, Shannon impressed upon Thorp the need for absolute secrecy. He invoked the work of social network theorists, who argued that two people chosen at random would be, at most, three degrees of separation from one another. In other words, the distance between Shannon, Thorp, and an enraged casino owner was slim.”
“The device that they created ‘was the size of a pack of cigarettes,’ operated by Thorp’s and Shannon’s big toes, ‘with microswitches in our shoes,’ and delivered gambling advice in the form of music. Thorp explained: One switch initialized the computer and the other timed the rotor and the ball. Once the rotor was timed, the computer transmitted a musical scale whose eight tones marked the rotor octants passing the reference mark.”
“We each heard the musical output through a tiny loudspeaker in one ear canal. We painted the wires connecting the computer and the speaker to match our skin and hair and affixed them with ‘spirit gum.’ The wires were the diameter of a hair to make them inconspicuous but even the hair thin steel wire we used was fragile.”