Monday, November 12, 2012

Be a Billionaire in Five Minutes

The other day, I made the case that playing the Lottery was a losing proposition, but I also promised there might be a better way to win a lot of money.

About three years ago, I came across a casino scam, and explained how not to fall victim to it. However, it occurred to me that the Roulette wheel is better odds than the Lottery, and you can play with the same amount of money, $1.

The Lottery has about a 50% payback, which means that over the long term, for every $1 you spend, you get back 50 cents (before taxes). You could restrict your purchases to only those jackpots which exceed 100%, but it already takes thousands of years to win, so there's no point in that.

One day when I was in a casino, I saw the number 12 come up 4 times in a row, and I wondered, if I had put $1 on 12 and let it ride all four times, how much would I have won?

About $1.5 million! Let it ride one more time and that's $52 million! And, of course, if I'd plunked down $100 at the start, I could've multiplied that by 100, for $150 million or $5 BILLION. And what were the odds of winning? Four wins in a row is only 2 million to one, and five wins in a row is 79 million to one. MUCH better odds than the lottery!

Would you like to be a billionaire in the space of 5 minutes?

So what's the best way to bet?

In the Lottery, the odds are so low that you HAVE TO buy a lot of tickets to have a chance of winning, but even if you do, you have to restrict yourself to only big payouts or you could be spending millions of dollars with little chance of a good return, and no one likes doing that.

The Roulette wheel, on the other hand, gives you a 1 in 38 chance of winning on each spin, though it pays 35 to 1. This means it has a payback percentage of 92%. Basically, that means if you put money on all the possible numbers, you'll lose more than you win. Unlike the Lottery, the payback percentage doesn't rise above 100%, so we can't go spreading out our bets to increase our chances of winning. We have to pick one single number for each spin and put all our money on it.

So, you could start off with a single dollar, and place it on one of the 38 numbers, and if it comes up, you win $35. Then you put the whole $35 on a single number, and if it comes up, you win $1225.

With me so far?

Now you have to put the whole $1225 on a single number, and if it comes up, you've just won $42,875! Put it all on a single number again, and you've won over a million and a half dollars! You can be happy with that, right? If not, put the whole thing up again and you have a 1 in 38 chance of walking away with $52 million! Repeat as often as you feel lucky!

Since it takes the guy about a minute between spins, in a mere five minutes you could be a millionaire, and it's much better odds than playing the Lottery, plus you don't have to wait for a particular time and day to see if you've won.

Now maybe you're thinking that a 1 in 38 chance of winning isn't good enough. Maybe you want to put all your money on Black or Red. You've got about a 47% chance of winning and doubling your money. The odds are actually slightly better to go this route, but you have to win a lot more often, because you only double your money with each win. It takes 20 wins to turn $1 into a million dollars, which will take about an hour. A very nerve-wracking hour! But as I said, the odds are slightly better. The payback is almost 95%, versus the 92% I quoted above.

Better still, either of these strategies allows you to improve your odds significantly by increasing the initial size of your wager. Why start with $1 when you could start at $1225 or $1024? That's got you half way to being a millionaire, which means you're over 1000 times more likely to win!

Any of these strategies is just fine for making big bucks, as long as you're lucky. Remember, the payback is LESS THAN 100%. Over the long term, the only winner is the casino. That measley 5-7% margin is enough to pay for that multi-million dollar gambling establishment you're spending your paycheck in.

Another concern, of course, is that the casino won't be able to cover enormous bets, and therefore will not allow you to wager so much at once. I would be shocked if any casino in the world would cover a million dollar bet, assuming you're crazy enough to make one. And even if you're lucky enough to win so big, you have to worry about the casino cutting you off, or worse, accusing you of cheating and refusing to pay. And since they're not giving you those millions in winnings, you won't be able to afford the lawyers you'll need to combat the ones they pay million dollar retainers to.

Casinos make big bucks off people who dream of striking it rich there. For every one person who wins a million dollars, a thousand more had to lose $2000 or more. Which are you more likely to be?

I guess what I'm saying is, if you can't afford to make an enormous wager, so that you only have to win once or twice, then it's a better bet to just not play this particular game.


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