What is Dealers Signature?
Casino dealers often fall into their own natural rhythm when they deal. The ball will tend to spin around the roulette wheel the same number of times as it did on previous spins. Therefore, it should land approximately the same number of pockets from where the dealer picked up the ball.
Is this really possible? Can dealers actually have such signatures? Or is this wishful thinking—the same kind of thinking that leads players to believe in trend betting and the like? The opinion of experts is divided on this topic. A few say it’s possible. More say it isn’t possible. Some pain-in-the-neck experts say it’s theoretically possible, but probably not actually possible at a real roulette wheel.
I tend to lean more towards those who believe it’s possible, but I do so with strong reservations. If a dealer does have a signature, I don’t think it would necessarily be manifested as often as players looking for it would like.
A dealer’s signature happens unconsciously—that is, the dealer is really not aware of what he or she is doing. To determine whether dealers typically have signatures, it would take thousands of rolls of the ball by dozens or hundreds of experienced dealers to measure the results. There has never been a study such as this (as far as I know) because it would take the patience of Job to do it.
If the dealer’s signature were conscious, that would be a totally different story. This dealer would have the ability to make his friends, his family and himself a bundle of money over time (assuming he didn’t get caught). A dealer with the skill to manipulate where the ball landed could be used subtly to nail players the dealer (or casino) didn’t like; help those he did like; and perhaps make some money on the side for friends or family members.
Roulette dealers disagree as to whether the “conscious signature” is possible. In fact, they doubt whether the unconscious or conscious creation of signatures exists at all. Very few dealers out of the dozens I’ve spoken to believe signatures actually exist. They are more skeptical than the experts. (Actually, the dealers are the true experts here, and should be listened to.)
All I can say is that if your dealer has a signature, you can identify, it might give you an edge. If you think you’ve identified a signature, but in reality there is none, you won’t hurt yourself any more betting that way. You’ll face the same house edge. So have some fun—go ahead and see if you can figure out a dealer’s signature. It might be like searching for Bigfoot, but it’s worth a try.
The wheel spins one way, the ball the other. The slightest variation in speed or place of release of the ball can send the next spin to a very different part of the wheel. But I am beyond being convinced now – I know that many dealers, though by no means all, can influence the outcome. Some experienced dealers can influence the outcome by predicting the landing at neighboring bet from the previous bet. Even the best-intentioned dealers can get it wrong. Equally, they may be fearful of reprimand from the Pit Boss or higher if they go too far to help you.
So what are we talking about? Strictly, a neighbor bet is backing five numbers next to each other on the wheel e.g.: 15, 34, 22, 5 and 17. In the UK where call bets are common, the dealer places such bets on the racetrack. This is an oval shaped ring marked on the green baize. For example, a bet might be called as “22 and the neighbors by five.” This would mean that the player wanted five pounds on each of these five numbers. In Las Vegas, the Mirage has a racetrack now on it’s 25 dollar minimum table. This table has the single zero and if zero strikes, outside bets lose only half. This is a great deal and mirrors casinos in the UK and much of Europe.
Even if there is no racetrack, you can place the five chips yourself on the layout, backing them with any sum subject to the table minimum. This is an ideal bet if the dealer is into a trance and is spinning into these numbers as a signature spin. It is an excellent bet if the dealer is trying to help you by going for a repeat. The winning bet if 22 hits with one dollar on each of the five numbers is: Stake x 35 minus 4 losing chips = +31.
Even the worst spinner in the world spins repeats as a random event anyway, so after 22 has hit once as a winner, you should always add to your stake for the next spin. If the dealer is friendly and appears keen to help and / or to receive your tips, make clear you hope for a repeater (ain’t nothin’ sweeter!). Personally, I would then place something on the two numbers either side as well.
I used the word strictly earlier to define the bet as being on five numbers. A dealer who did well for me and who received generous tips along the way told me he wanted a landing-strip of seven or eight numbers. Some dealers call it their signature. Anyway, I took his advice, covering seven adjacent numbers and until the Pit Boss had him taken off after I started staking twenty-five dollars on each of the numbers (having increased from only 2 dollars), this genius touched down as precisely as a jet on autopilot.
In France, where the dealers are greedy for tips, the older heads are amazingly accurate, spinning slowly to boost their modest salaries. In the better casinos in united states, I have found that even though tipping is banned and so the loyalty of the dealer cannot be bought, many of the older / more experienced dealers do spin neighbors. In some cases, this is down to a signature spin but some take a pride in accuracy to relieve the boredom of spinning for hours each day.
I spoke to a sharp guy of about thirty-five who told me he loved predicting where the next spin would land. He was unable to deliver a neighbor bet by intent. His signature spin was about 25% too long so that the ball landed predictably but not close to the previous number. That is equally useful – and indeed is better because to Inspectors and Pit Bosses, it is less obvious from the number boards that the dealer is spinning into a signature than if the last six numbers have been 34, 17, 22, 22, 5 and 34.
One reason why most players do not believe the concept of neighbor or signature betting is ignorance! Their idea of five close numbers is 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11. These are scattered round the wheel and are not neighbours at all. To read a number board and interpret what is happening is essential. It means knowing where the numbers are on the wheel. From this you can spot the repeats and near repeats – but gradually you will pick out the more obscure footprints where the ball will land in a different but predictable part of the wheel each time.
Las Vegas is full of talented dealers who can help. There is more to this than random selection of the first table and dealer you see. Do not forget this.
Big Six Wheel
I recall betting as a kid at a church carnival against what we call a Big Six Wheel in Noo Yawk (Big Six is also known as the Dice Wheel, since it has images of three dice in each section; wheels with U.S. currency are referred to here as Money Wheels).
Players place their wagers on a layout bearing numbers ranging from 1 through six, inclusive. If you bet on the number “1” and the wheel stops on a section with a single die depicting an ace you are paid at even money; two dice with aces, 2 – 1; and three aces, 3 – 1 odds. (The game is allegedly based on the game Chuck-A-Luck wherein three dice in a cage and an identical betting layout are used. The payoffs are also identical, although the house PC is much higher on the wheel version due to the fact that the wheel depicts more doubles and triples than will appear on live dice, according to “the laws of probability.”)
While watching the bored volunteers grab the wheel in the same spot and spin it with the same momentum spin-after-spin, it became apparent to my young, beer-soaked brain that the wheel would consistently stop four or five spaces away from it’s previous resting place. It was simple to bet on one or two numbers that would likely result in 2 – 1 or 3 – 1 payoffs on the next spin. Now, feeling a little guilty about beating the church, I exchanged my pockets full of quarters for more beer and went home broke.
The funny thing to me is that casinos have standard procedures to try
and prevent sector shooting while as an industry claim the ability doesn’t
exist. the wheel is not reversed each spin for the punter’s piece of mind.
i’ve seen the ball or dealer switched out when a player or table starts
winning a lot but never when the table is cold. these procedures are used
“just in case” and that will probably also happen with new wheel tech-
nology. if there is no need it won’t sell and if it does sell it will probably
be more for piece of mind- like insurance “just in case”.
An expert opinion
There are times when the dealer seems friendly and will spin slow predictable spins as if he almost attract hits to the player. For the best part of times its not the case. I can sector spins myself if the wheel is tilted, so i know how the cross reference numbers should develop if the wheel should have the perfect end position when the ball drops and many times it does NOT correlate. For the unexperienced, it just looks like the dealer is trying make a friendly and easy environment, its part of their job.
Having said that, i obviously agree that it is possible to sector spin. I just don`t think its practised a lot.
Observation in the casino
Dealer signature is no joke! I have seen it in action on more than one occasion here in LV. Fact is about two weeks ago I happened upon a poor lad getting hammered by it…. This guy was betting single #,s in the 2nd 12… about 20.00 a shot. ( dollar units ). I watched for about an hour as the dealer continued to pound the outer 12,s and the zeros… I really was not counting, but this guy went through about 5-7 hundred dollars, and in about 45+ spins there were only 3 hits that I witnessed. Now sure you could argue that is was just a fluke, but I have seen this senario more than once.
On the flip side, I know of a few good players that actually can recognize these signatures, and play very well against them. However it does take much experience to take advantage of those signatures.
Well yes… if you really want to explore DS, and try to take advantage of it. Learn the wheel (what sections are where) and practice target betting. Release points can be a section itself instead of a single number. You don’t really need to watch the ball drop just track the release, and drop zone. Match it against known averages. Handicapping the wheel, and the dealer is a very resourceful venture, and it can be done.
There seems to be two separate opinions regarding DS, so I will clarify my understanding. An apparent, (he said guardedly!) identifiable DS is not produced at the dealers instigation, so it is an entirely different “set” of data than that produced by a dealer who is “trying/attempting” to hit a certain “zone.”
True DS, in my opinion is the result of spinning the ball/wheel combination in a repetitive manner with an indifferent attitude to the result. From my fifty years experience, playing with real money at brick and mortar casinos throughout Europe and Australia, I have been able to bank on finding that preferred dealer/table combo that, at some time during the shift, will fall into this mechanical type of repetition, especially when there is no significant “action-game-buzz” at that table.
My favorite method of play is to partition the wheel into nine groups of four, and one of five, (as I have discussed in earlier posts) this makes tracking relative release points and subsequent drop zones very straight-forward.As the wheel and ball are reversed in direction for every spin, there are two sets of data to consider, the left hand set and the right hand set, and there are left handed tables and right handed tables, and left handed dealers and right handed dealers, and all of this information and more, is necessary to consider before commitment.
In my book there is no so-called “Holy Grail” but my knowledge bank reduces my urge to pursue a losing streak, throw caution to the wind or wager recklessly. Many will call my approach “educated guessing” and that is precisely what it is. The layout knowledge that supports my wagering decisions includes numerical memorization of the wheel, both clockwise and anticlockwise, the pocket separation between any two numbers, (both ways), and every combination of numbers and viable betting options for any portion of the wheel. Euro-O wheel only. Others will have various opinions, some conflicting, some allied, but this approach has worked for me for many years. Yes, I agree it is possible to handicap the wheel/dealer combo.
Can’t Win roulette: why advantage methods don’t work
A contrarian view from an experienced roulette player:
In modern roulette wheels it is impossible to predict the outcome of roulette. Physics, visual ballistics, advantage play or even dealer’s signature can not predict where the ball will land. I know you’d like to believe that it is possible to predict roulette by observation, but you better avoid wishful thinking and start looking for other methods.
Monte Carlo anecdotes
There is a bit on sector shooting on page 26 – 29 of the book Monte Carlo Anecdotes. The argumentation is the usual, i will try and elaborate..
Obstacles: The author claims the obstacles works an advantage for the casino. On the opposite actually. Sector shooting would not be possible without them.
Same wheel speed: That is to some extent correct, but the author makes it sound impossible. A log of 10 spins of the wheel at a monotone throwing dealer gives wheel speeds like this. 3.10 – 3.12 – 3.09 – 3.10 3.11 – 3.10 – 3.12 – 3.11 – 3.14 – 3.09 which good enough to hit 1/2 a wheel section on a tiltet wheel 7 out of 10.
It is not very likely that the dealer would ever be able to spin against the players because he is required to throw the ball from the last fallen number, which means that his target will be relative to the this number if he was targeting. But a player might benefit from such a dealer if he notes the travel-yardage from such a dealer on right and left throws. Look at Farnsworth’s post at GW board. You can call it unconscious sector shooting and is a result of a relaxed dealer who is doing his job and is focused on the players in a relaxed way. The best dealers for this kind of play is in my opinion the male ones +30 – 40 years of age with a relaxed attitude. They spin the wheel as if the rotor was driven by an electro-motor and the ball as if released mechanically.
The reason why the outcome suddenly becomes unbalanced, is because if the ball is thrown consistently doing say 14 ball revolutions and the wheel consistently spun with say ~3.10 sec rotor, the travel length of both components is “roughly” the same. When the ball drops, the rotor will be in a known position give and take +- 5 pockets to each side (a tolerance of about 1/4 wheel)so there will be places on the wheel which has about zero chance of getting a hit as well as other zones will have a huge chance of being hit.
Because of the tolerance of 1/4 wheel in the end position when the ball drops, there will very little chance of hitting a specific number, but a series unbalance is created and a certain area will be hit way above others as well as others will be hit below others.
When betting a number system, it becomes clear why one should not focus on actual numbers but rather focus on high probability numbers based on wheel speeds and consistent ball throws or even move upstairs in the VB department.