We can all relate to the feeling of walking into a casino with the hope of being the next big winner, the next person to “beat” the casino and walk out loaded with cash. The elusive jackpot often feels on the edge of our fingertips during a night out at the casino, but alas, most of us return home having had a full night of fun but none the richer. If you have ever had fantasies of finally winning the “big one,” this list may tickle your fancy. If you cannot be the winner all of the time, you might as well read about someone who was. Granted, some of these guys (a lot of them) cheated their way into the jackpot. We definitely do not recommend doing that, but you have to admit that it is still fun to read about. So, for your reading pleasure: two people who made it big at the casino. Ron Harris and Bally’s Number Generator In the year of 1995, a man named Reid Errol McNeal hit a big jackpot in New Jersey for a grand sum of $100,000. Oddly, the man showed very little excitement or any kind of emotion at all upon finding out he was the winner. He asked to be paid in all cash, and quietly left the establishment. Obviously, the authorities found the situation a little fishy. After all, he had just beaten odds that were worse than one million to one. If we had beaten those odds, we would have definitely cracked a smile. At least. And asking to be paid all in cash? Definitely a little bit sketchy, don’t you think? When New Jersey gaming officials went to his hotel and knocked on his door, they did not find Reid McNeal. Instead, they found a man by the name of Rob Harris who claimed to be a close friend of his. Upon further questioning, officials discovered that Harris was actually a computer technician who worked on the board for Nevada Gaming. His job was to regulate gambling games in Las Vegas by testing slot machines, etc. Officials found detailed notebooks and figures made by this brilliant mathematician, computer scientist, and gambling expert - all of which set out very specific methods of beating Bally’s randomized generator of numbers. How did he do it? He used his own personal computer to replicate the different mathematical equations made by the real machine itself. Thus, he was able to know what outcomes the machine would spit out before they ever happened. Obviously, he gave these “forecasts” to his partner in crime, McNeal. Both were arrested and neither kept their money. The moral of the story? Even if you are as smart as a rocket scientist, it is never a good idea to steal from casinos by cheating. They always find you. A little wisdom from us to you, please do not do that. Garcia-Pelayo and Roulette This Spaniard set out to make a career as a record producer; however, he ended up becoming one of the most ingenious gamblers of all time instead. His favorite game was roulette, and he spent all of his time and energy observing and studying the game. He discovered something called wheel bias during the 1990s, which he then began to successfully use to his advantage. Wheel bias is the concept of not-so-random roulette wheels; Garcia-Pelayo noticed that each roulette wheel may have certain patterns. Certain numbers seemed to be chosen more often than other numbers. Garcia-Pelayo concluded that this wheel bias must be due to very small technical glitches. For instance, if a wheel was not perfectly centered, it may spin in a slightly crooked fashion, which would then lead to a discreet but discernable pattern. Even things such as very minute changes in the sizes of different pockets made a difference. He may have taken the workings of roulette gears into consideration when making his calculations. You may be wondering, how does one notice wheel bias? A man like Garcia-Pelayo notices by staring at a single roulette wheel for hours on end, days even. He went about the study of the roulette wheel very scientifically, recording data and using a computer to create reports. Even his children aided in recording numbers and sending him data on the very same wheel. The result was a raving success for Garcia-Pelayo, who began to visit every roulette wheel in Spain testing out his theory - and walking away with cash. He then took his theory to the United States, where he continued to play his clever game. Finally, he was not allowed to play roulette in casinos, and he chose to retire. Casinos were not happy about his endeavors, and one casino even sued him in an attempt to regain the lost cash. However, the court chalked up Garcia-Pelayo’s success to fair-and-square techniques: ingenuity and the use of computer reports. He is probably still relaxing today, sitting on his 1.5 million dollar winnings. There you have it. Two infamous men who came away from the casino (at least briefly) with a whole lot of money. Look forward to more interesting winner biographies in next week’s posts. Until then, keep gambling! Even if you are not the next big winner, you know you can at least have a good time. And, hey, that is what gambling is really all about.