|Is he the first father of modern roulette wheel clocking?|
But suddenly an article has appeared in the UK Daily Mail newspaper claiming that a broke Victorian textile boss in the 1880s is the real father of beating casinos out of fortunes by clocking biased roulette wheels.
The man's name was Joseph Jagger, and according to the newspaper's account Jagger beat the storied Le Grand Casino of Monte Carlo out of 80,000 pounds back in 1881, which is the equivalent of 7.5 million pounds today.
According to a new book by Jagger's great-great niece Anne Fletcher, who happens to be a historian, Jagger was facing debtors prison after failing to pay off a series of loans he had taken while his textile business was going bankrupt. He then, as a last-ditch attempt, borrowed money from family members and friends and hightailed it to Monte Carlo, heading right for the roulette tables.
Taking advantage of a lifetime of working with textile wheels, Jagger was convinced he could survey all the roulette wheels in the casino and determine which ones had a bias in their revolutions. He knew that at the time no wheel of any kind could spin perfectly; there had to be a tilt in each one. So he spent an entire month, twelve hours a day, sitting at roulette tables and observing and recording the spins of every wheel in the grand casino.
Then he finally made his move, beat the casino for a small fortune, returned home to the UK, supposedly bought 30 houses, one for himself and his family, the rest for his friends, and lived happily ever after.
Le Grand Casino is said to have refurbished all its roulette wheels in Jagger's wake.
My take: Well, I don't know whether to believe this father-of-modern-roulette-wheel-clocking story...but then again, I don't know if I believe the first father-of-modern-roulette-wheel-clocking story about Richard Jarecki either.
But I ask myself one question: Didn't anyone working at Le Grand Casino in Monte Carlo notice the guy sitting at roulette tables twelve hours a day for a month without ever making a bet???