While Hurricane Sandy shuts down Atlantic City, it’s worth pondering this: Whether you gamble in Las Vegas or at an Indian Casino, you know that winning is not just a matter of luck.

Take a roulette table: at first glance, it looks like a jumble of numbers and a randomly hopping little white ball. But with a better understanding of physics and some general knowledge of the starting conditions, it may be possible to shift the odds of winning a little in your favor. If you know some of the starting conditions–such as the speed of the spin and the rotation of the ball– this game of chance starts to look a little less random.

Under normal conditions, the anticipated return on a random roulette bet extremely small, but by applying a few calculations to a casino-grade roulette wheel and using a simple clicker device, researchers were able to achieve an average return of 18%.

Will they soon be throwing scientists out of casinos, they way they do card counters now?

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