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The Twisted Wheel - Marty Wilson

by Card Player News Team |  Published: Jan 01, 2011


The majority of Americans go to Las Vegas for two or three nights. It’s plenty for them, but some Brits and Europeans like to stay for up to six weeks at a time.
That allows us to find out the best deals in town such as where to stay, where to eat, cheapest transport, and so on.
Well, in the spring of 2004, I was accompanied in Vegas by a friend of mine named Tony Carter. Tony is as sharp as a razor’s edge. In fact, he’s so sharp he can slice a cigarette paper in half lengthways with a hacksaw blade. More about Tony later.
We stayed at the Plaza Hotel & Casino in Fremont Street, downtown Las Vegas, which was also where a young man named Ashley Revell from London was filmed placing a one-off bet of a lifetime.
Ashley wanted to bet every single thing he possessed and he sold absolutely all of his worldly goods, including his house, his car, his clothes, and even his treasured toy steam engine collection.
He also changed his name by deed poll to Ashley “Blue Square” Revell for 12 months in a sponsorship deal, then added all the money he had. His bet, which he placed on just one spin of the roulette wheel, amounted to $136,000 (£76,840).
Numerous casinos refused to accept Ashley’s bet, but the Plaza agreed to take it and, under a glare of publicity from around the world, the gamble was on.
The rules were explained to Ashley and, after the ball was already spinning around the wheel, he placed his bet on red. The ball dropped in 12 red but, dramatically, the casino adjudicators ruled a “no spin” because the bet was placed after the ball was on its way.
That’s the rule in America but, undeterred, Ashley immediately placed his huge bet back on red. The tension was almost tangible as he stood there like a statue before the ball dropped in seven red.
An almighty roar could be heard all down Fremont Street and in the surrounding casinos. Ashley had done it — he had pulled off his bet of a lifetime and walked away with £153,680.
In response, the casino bosses doubled the price of all their bottled beers and spirits the very next day in an attempt to get their money back.
Ashley told everybody in the
audience he would never gamble again under any circumstances, but he wasn’t true to his word. Two weeks later I sat next to him playing poker at the world famous Binion’s Horseshoe Casino and, as far as I know, he is still in Vegas today.
Now let’s get back to Tony Carter and me and the rest of another cracking tale.
Tony was always looking for an angle and in Vegas he discovered one right under our noses. One of the roulette wheels in the Plaza was situated under a skylight in the ceiling and the raging sun had twisted the wheel, buckling it and giving a massive advantage to a particular section of 10 numbers.
What happened was when the ball was bouncing and reaching the highest point, the ball was then stopping dead. Tony sat at the wheel for over eight hours taking a note of every number of every left and right-handed spin, and the conclusion was startling — the 10 numbers won 72 percent of the time, giving a massive edge to a level-unit stake backer.
So me and Tony set about working 12-hour shifts on the roulette wheel, me from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m., and he would then take over for the graveyard shift until the next morning. We were only allowed a maximum of $20 dollars on each number, so we would do splits to get extra money on the connecting numbers.
We only cashed in small amounts of chips at different cash desks around the casino, holding back the high denomination cash chips to change in the poker room so as not to alert the house.
Well, it was just shy of two-and-a-half days before staff at the casino worked out what we were doing and closed down the wheel. The next thing I saw was the wheel being rethreaded.
The wheel had probably been twisted for years, but Tony Carter was the first to spot it and we walked away with a very nice $20,000 dollars.
I used my winnings to play in tournaments at the WSOP, while Tony went to search Las Vegas for similar easy pickings. He told me it had been a waste of time, but I often wonder if he was telling the whole truth — he now lives in Henderson (a rich part of Vegas) in a £500,000 villa.
Just remember, if you look for it long enough there is always a clue…♠

Mad Marty Wilson is a professional gambler and poker consultant for Matchroom Sport.