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The Ultimate System - Chapter 2
Chapter 2"This is what I was thinking," began Evan Blake, as he adjusted his position on the dingy mattress; it was impossible to find a comfortable way to sit on the lumpy thing. "We have nearly $2,000 between us. That’s more than enough for deposit, first month rent, utility deposits, and it's a really nice apartment, two-bedroom, fully furnished; we could be roommates."
David Landstrom, who could be a George Costanza impersonator if he had a clearer complexion, leaned forward in his swivel chair in front of his converted entertainment-center desk. "It's like this; is this 'really nice apartment' $100 or less per month? Because that's what I'm paying now."
Evan Blake was two years David Landstrom's elder and his only real friend. He again shifted his 280-pound frame on the bed and ran a hand through his short spiked jet-black hair. His ice blue eyes widened as they did every time he was about to make a point. Despite the fact that David was significantly more intelligent than Evan, Evan had David in spades with respect to personal responsibility. Evan said, "You know, having a roommate isn't the best thing that could happen, but it's better than being thirty-eight and forty and living with parents. Getting out of your parents house is the first step to self-sust...um...self-sust..."
"Self-sustainability," David finished. "Listen, Evan, even if I were inclined to pay more money for basic survival than I already pay, which I'm not, the fact that neither of us actually have permanent jobs does merit consideration. You are also forgetting who gets this house when my mother passes on, not to mention the life insurance."
"Yeah," Evan agreed, "but it never means anything." Evan again shifted his buttocks trying to find a spot on the old mattress that would be comfortable for longer than thirty seconds, and then raised his eyebrows as his eyes widened. "I had six months worth of wages saved up, but when I got laid-off, it dried up. I should have moved when I had the money to do it, but I thought it was too risky to use a month's worth of wages to move somewhere. It turns out staying put in this shithole town and looking for a replacement job was the risk."
Evan had been a security guard for about thirteen years, which was something that David, who had never held a job for longer than three months, would be incapable of understanding. In fact, the only reason they had made nearly $1,000 each was because one of the people Evan met while performing security had just bought a slew of county-seized homes. The properties needed cleaning and minor repairs in order to convert them to rental units. In addition to making fifteen bucks an hour under the table, the guys also got to keep what they wanted from the rentals, which David promised to sell and split the proceeds between them, though he hadn't actually made any meaningful effort to sell anything yet.
Evan was laid off when his security company lost one of their contracts due to a client growing and moving their company headquarters to a bigger city more central to their market. When the time came to re-assign everyone, Evan's benefit turned into his misfortune when he was laid off, unbeknownst to him, because he was the highest paid security guard pursuant to his tenure. Nine months, and at least three applications at every business in town in which he had even the remotest chance of being offered a job later, he had gotten two interviews, both at pizza places, and had not gotten called back. He didn't interview very well due to a tic that caused him to click his tongue any time he was nervous, so that's what he spent most of each interview doing.
"Risk," David repeated back. "See, I don't mess with risks, which is exactly why I'm perfectly happy to be living here, and you should be happy in your mom's house, too."
"Well," Evan countered, "I'm not. You know, my son may be an adult now and in college, but I took care of him his whole life and would still like to have his respect. How can he respect his father when he lives with his grandmother?"
"I don't know," David replied. "Can't put myself in your shoes. I plan on multiplying this money ten or so times within the next month, and I'm heading to 'The Goose’ right now; you in?"
"No," Evan said, "You already know I don't gamble."
"That's fine," sighed David. "When I turn this grand into ten by the end of this month, you'll wish you did. Maybe I will be more amenable to discussing different living arrangements at that point, but I need to go shower now."
"Do you want to get something to eat before you hit the casino?"
"It's not 'the casino’," replied David. "It's 'The Goose’, as in, 'The Goose-The Goose-The Goose is on fire, but I don't need no water! Let the mother****** burn!"
"Calm down, man. I'm going to go get a pizza, then maybe hit Macy's and try to find some better interview clothes. Maybe that's why I get so nervous, because I'm always worried that they'll think my clothes are too tight."
"Later," David began. "No reason for you to be tied down anymore, so you grab the rope and do it yourself, but whatever."
David's plan for turning his $1,000 into $10,000 invoked the use of a gambling system that he designed and sold to people of suspect mathematical ability on the Internet. He called his system the "Ultimate Reverse Labouchere Semi-Martingale Double-Down Streak Finder System Deluxe", or just "The Ultimate System" for short. He claimed that his system could be modified to give the player an advantage over any casino game, and offered specific instructions to beat Craps, Roulette, Let it Ride and Baccarat.
Interestingly enough, his system did not invoke the Reverse Labouchere system of betting for any of these games, nor was it even remotely close to the Reverse Labouchere. In fact, David didn't actually know what the Reverse Labouchere entailed; he just thought it sounded good. The Semi-Martingale partial moniker was only semi-accurate; none of his systems "Doubled-Down", because none of them were ever centered on a Positive Progression - another system term that David probably could not accurately define - and he only looked for streaks in Roulette.
In essence, David might start with a bet of $10 on Red because Red had just hit. If the longest Red streak had been four, then he would continue to bet Red until it happened four times at $10 per spin, and then bet $10 on Black for the fifth time because Red could not hit again. If David lost on the initial bet on Red, then he would switch to Black and bet $25, then drop down to a bet of $10 on a win. Assuming straight losses, David would bet $10, $25, $60, $125, and finally, $280. If David did not have $280, then he’d bet everything left.
He would go to the casino every day and proceed in this fashion based on the eight hours of rolls he had tracked until he had lost the system starting amount of $500, or won $10,000, whichever happened first. He had never won $10,000.
It was once posed to him, "David, you do realize that you're not always at the roulette wheel. Even ignoring the math, isn't it relevant that the wheel may have longer streaks that you do not witness, thus making such streaks possible, where your system relies on them being impossible?"
David responded by saying, "Of course longer streaks are possible, but it is a question of likelihood. Having three Blacks in a row is like flipping heads three times in a row, of course you'll flip heads three times in a row, sometimes, but you probably won't flip heads four times in a row, especially if you're not pre-disposed to flipping things more often in a row than expected. Roulette wheels, similarly, have what are predispositions. There are some Roulette wheels where it is nothing to see Red or Black eight times in a row, but then there are others where you'd be surprised to see Black three times in a row. It's just a question of what that individual wheel is predisposed to do, streak-wise, and that's why my system calls for finding the streak."
David had been on something of a Craps kick lately, however. He had recently been paid a handsome sum of $150 for his tutelage of his Craps system, and even though he may not have gotten the results that he liked on that one occasion, he believed that he had taught a young man named Andy the good and proper way to play Craps. David initially felt bad that the session did not go as he had hoped, but then he remembered the system's disclaimer on his very own website: "No system can ever guarantee that you win 100% of your sessions, but you will win in the long run." He decided that Andy got every bit of what he paid for, and it was his to do with what he wanted after that.
David's Craps system had nothing to do with streaks, and was a very distant relative of the Martingale, a system by which a player doubles a losing bet until he finally wins, in the hopes of winning back the original amount bet. David's system consisted of "making it less likely to lose," each time a loss was incurred by hedging his negative expectation bets with bets that had an even greater negative expectation.
There is a difference between playing a system and believing in a system; some people play systems for fun, but David absolutely believed. David, when it came to his system, was the overzealous Baptist Minister whose veins bulged in his neck when delivering a sermon and whose eyes rolled back into his head as he spoke in tongues until falling onto the floor in convulsions. He spoke with a single-minded passion and fervor rivaled only by political opponents when he spoke of his system, the main difference between himself and political rivals being that he was 100% genuine.
David's Craps system worked in steps, and is reproduced below, with permission:
- Bet $5.00 on the Pass Line.
- If win, continue betting $5.00 until you have won $500, or until you are $5 in the hole.
- If loss, go to 2.
- Bet $10.00 on the Pass Line, with a $2 Crap Check.
- If win, make the same bet until you are even or ahead by $1.00 or more, then revert back to Step 1.*
- If loss, go to Step 3.
- If win, make the same play until you are even or ahead by $1.00 or more, then revert back to Step 1.
- If loss, which can only happen in the RARE event of a Point-Seven-Out, go to Step 4.
- If win, make the same play until you are even or ahead by $1.00 or more, take Place Bets down, revert to Step 1.
- If loss, which is nearly impossible because it would require a Seven to show up prior to two Box Numbers, and that immediately after a Point-Seven-Out...this only happens on 1 in about 275,000 occasions, go to Step 5**
- It will only take one win, any win, to put the player ahead. Revert to Step 1.
- The odds of a loss, at this point, are 1 in about 375 trillion as it would require a Point Seven Out, followed by a Seven-Out without two Box Numbers being hit, followed by another Point-Seven-Out, CONSECUTIVELY. If you lose at this point, then the best thing to do is to try again another day, because this just isn't your day.***
*David Landstrom seems not to notice the fact that the player cannot possibly end up even after Step 2. The player will only engage in Step 2 when he is exactly $5.00 behind, but 5 is an odd number and all of the bets and potential payouts for Step 2 are even numbers. When an even number is added to or subtracted from an odd number, the result must be an odd number.
**The editor has not done the specific math on this step, but 1 in 275,000 cannot be anywhere near correct.
***The editor has not done the specific math on this step, but 1 in 375 trillion is a ridiculous number.
End Editor's Notes
David's system received tremendous praise on David's own website, including the first names and last initials of people who didn't exist, paired with a major city, and a random picture David found on Google with such comments as:
I've always liked Craps, but have had bad luck. When I heard that there was a system that could genuinely beat the game, unlike other systems, I was all over it. Thanks to the Ultimate System, I've won $10,000 at the Craps Table in the last month, only playing for two hours a day! If I have another month like this, I'll be able to quit my job! Thanks, Ultimate System! — Lance B. - Kansas City, KS
Others on the Internet were a bit more guarded, such as Mission146, Administrator at WizardofVegas.com Forums, who had this to say:
This is among the worst systems I have ever heard of in my entire life. First of all, it counts on grinding your way to $500 flat-betting $5.00 and spending most of your time trying to get back to the point where you can flat bet the $5.00. In addition to that, your system depends not only on making higher edge Crap-Check and Place Bets, but having the VAST MAJORITY of your action on these higher edge bets. The Wizard of Odds says that all gambling systems are equally worthless, but he is mistaken, in this case. The term "Worthless," denotes something that has neither positive nor negative value; your system undoubtedly has extreme negative value as it counts on these huge House Edge bets. By the way, have you ever heard of a Buy Bet? Probably not, but you shouldn't even be Place Betting all those numbers.
In David's opinion, though, Mission146 was kind of a dick, as were many of the other circle-jerkers on WizardofVegas, so as much as he enjoyed posting about the extreme success of his system, he didn't really enjoy reading the commentary that usually followed.
David had finished his shower and walked the six miles to the Golden Goose Casino. His mom would have been home with her car six hours later, but he didn't feel like waiting. He purposefully marched to the Craps table in his customary athletic shorts and plain red T-Shirt too short to fully conceal the crack of his ass, and bought in for $500.
Three hours later, after a session that had actually been going pretty well for him-he'd actually been ahead by $60 at one point-he finally reached the point where he was $5.00 in the hole. He was determined that this would not last long, though; getting back to the point where he could flat bet $5.00 was what his system was designed to do.
Two players to his left was a hotshot "Dice Setter" named Nick. As usual, Nick was wearing a buttoned-down black dress shirt tucked into pressed black slacks with his sunglasses up on his head. You probably could have asked him about Avon, because even though he didn't sell it, it was the source of the entirety of his "Shine" including multiple thick necklaces, earrings, watches and bracelets. Despite this loud manner of dress, which by itself would have been quite enough to annoy most people, Nick was an outgoing and fun-loving guy who people generally wanted to be around because he was a million laughs a minute.
David couldn't have hated him more.
Nick, as usual, was speaking about his pathetic betting system that he incorporated with his dice-setting. Nick called his system the "Two-Way Martingale", but it was actually a Two-Way D'Alembert betting system. "See, the way you do it is you have a $5.00 Pass Line bet with $10.00 on the Odds, follow me? Look here, David, I'm trying to help educate you buddy. Okay, so if you win or lose the next bet is $10.00 Pass Line with $20.00 on the Odds. If the same result happens, then you double it again. Now, if you lose on the $20/$40, you return to the $5/$10, but if you make it to $20/$40 on the winning side, you keep going with the $20/$40 until you lose. You also ignore the Come Out roll completely, because you win more than you lose of those, anyway."
"See Sammy," Nick began, "I'm glad you asked that question because, under normal circumstances, you'd be right. I've already explained that the Come Out rolls are on my side, so let's talk about the odds. In terms of expectation, the long-term expectation on the odds is nothing; you don't win, you don't lose. I'm a dice-setter, though, professional. I'm already in the long-run, been doing this for a month, and I'm up about $1,000. Just have to get my bankroll to where I can really crank it."
Sammy replied, "Nicky, you're not in the long-run, not by far. Randomly, people will have your results in the course of a month, and randomly, some people will have better results. You're just on the right side of the Standard Deviation right now."
Nick quickly responded, "No, Sammy, I haven't even won as much as I should have, yet. Being a dice setter, I actually have an advantage on the Odds Bets, a reduced disadvantage on Pass Line bets, and the combination gives me a slight advantage."
Sammy rolled his eyes and sighed, "Come talk to me in a year."
The dice came back around to David who made his $10 Pass Line bet and $2 Crap Check. For all of his belief in his system, David was a skeptic when it came to anyone having an ability to set the dice, so he just threw them down and rolled a five. "I guess we're not going to do this the easy way," he said. David actually had a pretty nice hand of twelve rolls, but unfortunately, the twelfth was a Seven-Out.
David got the dice back quickly as Sammy said he didn't feel like shooting, and Nick Sevened-Out after first making one point.
David made his $5 Pass Line bet with a $1 Crap Check, established a point of six, put $26 across in Place Bets, and then rolled a Three, Yo-Eleven and then six-one for the Seven-Out. "Hey," David yelled at the dealer, "Are these sons of bitches loaded, or something?"
The dealer rolled his eyes; he was all too used to this from David when things didn't go right. "You don't like the casino's dice, Mack, then go find a casino where you do like the dice. In the meantime, quit swearing at my table; there's ladies present, like Sammy."
"Funny stuff, buddy," Sammy said tossing the dealer a red $5 chip. "Go ahead and lock that baby up this time."
"Always appreciated my man," the dealer replied, "Don't you EVER find a different casino!"
David was starting to sweat profusely. He had arrived at Step 4 of his system and, as always, he did not have enough money to undergo Step 5 in the event of a loss. In fact, David always blamed all of his losses in Craps on the fact that he couldn't afford to carry his system all the way through, and that if he could, a loss would be impossible.
Nick looked at David. "I know what's next, but listen, bet it on my shot...I'm about to go on a heater."
David replied, "Don't worry about what I'm doing, Little Nicky, and remember that seven is the one you don't want. I'll put up my money when I'm holding the dice."
Nick winked. "Suit yourself; here comes the pitch!"
Nick's first roll was a Six, so he backed his $5.00 Pass Line bet with $10.00 odds. His next roll was also a Six, and he remarked, "Shit, that was easy."
With great irritation, David noticed that Nick wasn't admonished for his use of profanity.
Nick tossed three whites to the Dealer. "Lock those up!"
"You're the man, Nick, keep winning!"
Nick rolled two consecutive Sevens for Come Out winners on his $10 bet, and then he rolled an Eight. Nick had a sixteen roll turn before landing an Eight again, with twelve of the other fourteen being other box numbers.
Nick stared at David, "I mean, if you don't want to win money, I guess that's your business..."
Nick fired the dice again: Yo-Eleven, Come Out winner for $20. He shot a Seven for another $20 and then established a point of Four. Three rolls later, he had it; the other two rolls were both box numbers.
Nick looked at David again, "What was it that Forty-Niners coach said, let's see…"
Sammy piped up, "Harbaugh, his name is Harbaugh. Are you really telling me that you know so little about the NFL that--"
"Sammy, calm down," interrupted Nick. "I'm not a sports bettor, anyway; only thing I really need to know is how to shoot these bones. Anyway, Davy-Boy, Harbaugh said, 'You go with the guy with the hot hand,' and let me tell you, I have the hot hand right now, check this!"
Nick tossed a soft little lob into the air. "SIX," he cried. The dice came in striking the pyramids low, and crazily. Hard-Six would have actually been more specific, but a six nonetheless.
It seemed that everyone at the table either ignored or didn't know a few things:
- Nick had attempted to "Call his shot" three previous times that day, failing every time.
- Nick's "Call" was only a little worse than one in seven to be right, given the number he called.
- Nick routinely called shots wrong even prior to this day, and had anyone been counting, he was actually wrong more often than probability would dictate...though everyone was always shocked and awed when this "Dice setter" called it right.
Either way, David was convinced, even more convinced than his system called for. "Don't pass the dice back, Stick!" He dug into the pocket of his shorts, tore off a few hundreds from his money clip, and said, "$300 more: Black."
It took what seemed to David to be an eternity for them to shout out, "Check-Change Three-Hundred!" and pass him his three black $100 chips, much longer than it should have. With his hands trembling, David counted out $720 and announced, "$720 across, $120 on every box number." The dealers knew it would be better for him to Buy a couple of those numbers rather than Place them, but they weren't saying a word.
Nick winked, "Smart boy, one hit and down."
Nick lobbed the dice into the air, as usual, and while one came down on three with what seemed to be precision (meaning that the next die would result in either a Point number or Seven, no other result was possible), the other die kicked all the way back to the opposite side of the table. Past Nick, past Sammy, it bumped into David's Place Four bet.
"You son-of-a-bitch whore!!!" David screamed. "YOU...YOU...Cheesy-looking, no-class, wannabe pro gambler, you tell me that wasn't on purpose!?"
The last die had kicked its way back and bumped into the chips on David's Place Four bet, and with irony, the cube landed on four, Seven-Out.
Nick looked around like he'd been slapped, "What!? The dice hit chips! How could I do that on purpose? Why would I? I had sixty bucks out there, too!"
The dealer scowled at David, "That's it for you, buddy, go away, you're off of my table. Go find a slot game."
David dejectedly gathered what pathetic few of his chips remained and went to the cage. He had bought in for a total of $800, lost $769 of that, and was cashing in a Green, a Red and a White for $31. The cashier didn't say a word; she knew and David knew she knew. She nodded apologetically after completing the transaction.
David had already paid his mom the rent for that month out of the $990. He'd also stopped and had something to eat at Burger King halfway to Golden Goose, so now $113 was all he had to his name. He asked if he could possibly speak to a host.
The host came down and said to David, "My name is Greg; what can I do for you?"
David requested, "I gave you guys a ton of action today, do you think I could get a buffet?"
The host responded, "We don't really do that, here, but you can use your points if you have enough. You can check your points balance at the electronic kiosk. Good day, sir."
David went to the electronic kiosk to check his points; to his dismay, he had $0.62 in food discounts available.
David walked straight home after leaving the casino. He knew that the slots were a bad play, but he stuck the odd $3 in hoping to get lucky and whiffed three consecutive times. He decided to leave with the other $110 intact. He didn't even know why he bothered to ask for a buffet; he was so nauseous after that beating that the mere sight of food would have made him hurl, and he also knew everyone hated him there. That S.O.B. Nick is probably eating a comped buffet right now, he thought.
David could still make it to Step 3 with his system, so he could always try it again tomorrow. He was worried, though, because he still had to get his Mom the rent next month, and he only had $110 to his name.
He plopped down in his computer chair and logged into PayPal to see if anyone had purchased his system; they hadn't. He logged into WizardofVegas.com again to brag about how well this weekend's session went.
He picked up the phone and called Evan, leaving the following message; "Hey, Ev, it's me. If you didn't go shopping for interview clothes already, I'll go with you tomorrow if you're not doing anything. I might need to go somewhere cheaper than Macy's, though, call me."
David lay down on his lumpy bed, closed his eyes, and desperately hoped Evan would call him.
About the Author
Mission146 is a proud husband and father of two. He generally fell quite a bit short of the expectations most people had for him, though happily so. Mission146 is currently a salary-slave in Ohio who enjoys documentaries, Philosophy and gambling discussion. Mission146 will write for money, and if you wish for him to do so, create an account on WizardofVegas.com and send him a Private Message with your request.
Written by: Brandon James