MACLEAN’S REPORTS

TAKING THE GAMBLE OUT OF ROULETTE

NICHOLAS STEED January 22 1966
MACLEAN’S REPORTS

TAKING THE GAMBLE OUT OF ROULETTE

NICHOLAS STEED January 22 1966

TAKING THE GAMBLE OUT OF ROULETTE

With Weber's system, the croupiers snarl "Rien ne va plus" and mean it

IN EUROPE’S elegant casinos it’ll be business as usual this year; at Monte Carlo, Baden-Baden and Biarritz the croupiers will call, the wheels will spin and the chips will flirt with chance. And across the green baize tables fortunes will be made and lost — mostly lost.

Every one of these casinos will at some point be visited by a quiet, balding man from Toronto. He’ll stay, his dumpy sportscoat conspicuous among the dinner jackets and Dior gowns, until he’s won $2,000. Then he will quietly leave for the next casino on his itinerary.

The man’s name is Kurt Weber. He is one of the few people in the world who just might be able to break the bank at Monte Carlo — or anywhere else. His system for winning at roulette actually seems to work.

He was back home in Toronto recently to talk to two businessmen who

want him to write a book. He told how he developed his system — and to prove systems can work, he revealed a simple one to back up his point. You can try it for yourself (see box).

Weber is about as improbable a gambler as you’ll find. To start off with, he insists he isn't a gambler. “I’ve never bet on anything in my life,” he says. “Horses, cards, I wouldn’t touch them. My system

A shy, quiet-spoken 36-year-old who is a movie photographer by trade, he came to Canada five years ago from his native Germany, settled down in Toronto and worked freelance for the CBC. His first year here he earned $2,400. His wife and two small children, he says, almost starved. Before he came to Canada he’d worked every year at the Cannes film festival. There he’d been struck by a group of little old ladies who year after year consistently won small amounts at roulette.

“They seemed to have some sort of simple system,” says Weber. “They’d make twenty or thirty dollars to cover their hotel expenses and then quit. I decided if they could do it so could I.”

He decided to try — but not in the casino. With a friend he bought a roulette wheel, started spinning it and noting the results. Slowly they built up page after page of figures and graphs. When Weber emigrated, they continued exchanging their information by mail. In the basement of his Islington home in suburban Toronto Weber worked until 2 a.m. on weekday nights and full time on weekends. He documented 350,000 spins, plus the hundreds of thousands in books of results tabulated by casinos. Progress was slow; he’s not a mathematician although he always got top marks at high school. But finally, after two years, the system was there.

His friend started playing the European casinos. Within a year he’d made more than $100,000, bought an oil distribution business and gone into virtual retirement from roulette.

Weber planned to work North

America and the Bahamas, leaving Europe to his friend. But at Las Vegas tough-looking characters wearing white-on-white shirts cut his winnings short by showing him the door. He made money at Lucayan Beach in the Bahamas but it was slow work; he found the North American roulette wheel’s two zeros slowed him up more than he'd calculated. In Europe the w'heel has only one zero, thus giving the player a better chance. (The house w ins everything on zero.)

In August Weber went to Europe. Within two months he’d made more than $25,000 — and casinos actually welcomed him. They liked the publicity his system brings; for every one who’s got a system, thousands think they’ve got one, and that’s how casinos get rich.

All Weber will reveal about his system is that it involves only simple chances—bets on red and black, high and low, odd and even—and that it needs capital to be played. He usually carries $20,000 into a casino to be sure of making $2,000.

“The greatest danger in the system is not that it might fail,” he says. “I don’t care if the wrong color comes up ten times in a row'. The danger is simply in the human psychology of it. You’ve got to really discipline yourself to keep going when you lose and

quit when you’ve won what you set out to make.

“My system isn’t designed to break the bank,” he says. “It’s just to make a certain amount a night. Sometimes it takes five minutes, and then that’s my day’s work. Other times I may hit a bad spell and then it takes all night.” His worst spell came at the German resort of Bad Neuenahr, where at one time he was down $6,500. But he eventually left, as usual, $2,000 up. “I have never,” he says, “walked out of a casino with a loss.”

This winter he’s back in Europe sticking mainly to the German resorts where he can combine skiing with his evening’s work. He seldom stays more than a day in a resort; casino managers don’t like it and people pester him for details — one man once swam around after him in a casino pool begging him tor a clue on the system.

At the end of this winter he’s counting on buying a 35-suite apartment house “to give me an income for life.” So far he’s treated himself to a new white Cadillac in Canada and a new Citroen in Germany. He lets his wife buy “wigs and things we could never afford before” but doesn’t bother with life insurance: the system, he reckons, is better than any policy.

He hopes to be able to quit roulette within 18 months—“those casinos are so unhealthy, all that smoke and nervous sweat”—and write a book on the game. Meanwhile, Weber has just one bit of advice for would-be roulette players. “Without a system,” he says, “you don’t stand a chance. So

don’t bother.”

NICHOLAS STEED