Gonzalo Garcia-Pelayo started his career as a music and film
producer, having worked with many famous musicians and actors in
Spain. Eager to make more money, Gonzalo dabbled in the area of
gambling and found his true calling.
Gonzalo is known as the first person to actually be
victorious in exploiting the roulette wheel. He was certainly
not the first person who thought that casino roulette wheels
were bias, but he was the first person to successfully prove it.
Gonzalo Garcia-Pelayo was born on June 25th, 1947 in Madrid,
Spain. He studied film at the Official Film School, but was
unable to graduate because the school closed down. Interested in
both film and music, Gonzalo was offered a job working for the
National Radio music programs which he happily accepted.
Gonzalo is still known today as one of the founders of the
Andalusian rock movement, which is basically when flamenco music
and Andalusian folk music came together. He has produced albums
for Triana, Smash, Alameda, Maria Jimenez, and a variety of
other artists/groups, but he never signed on any big performers
and was barely making ends meet to support his new wife and
Discouraged, he picked up gambling and it soon became obvious
to him that certain numbers were coming up more frequently than
others on the roulette wheel. He knew if he could figure out
which numbers they were, then he would be able to predict the
outcomes of a spin.
He noticed there were minute inaccuracies with measurements
regarding pocket sizes and the wheel’s gears often threw off the
wheel’s balance. Recognizing these subtle inconsistencies
brought him one step closer to beating the game.
Gonzalo was determined to beat this game, so he spent the
next several months studying the roulette wheel at the Casino
Gran Madrid. While not placing any wagers on the spins, he
simply recorded the results of nearly one-thousand spins and
used his computer for a complete analysis.
Gonzalo had his eldest son, Ivan and his eldest daughter,
Vanessa to record data on different roulette wheels across
Madrid. In 1991, they started officially playing and less than a
year later, they had accumulated over $700,000. Because of this,
many casinos in the area forbid them from playing and one casino
even tried to sue the family, but Spain’s Supreme Court luckily
ruled in their favor.
The court didn’t deem studying the wheel and using a computer
to determine when to bet illegal at all. Instead, they said it
was wise to make an educated guess as to where the marble might
drop based on imperfections of the casino’s own wheels.
Although Gonzalo was happy to hear the court overruled the
charges against him, he decided to stop playing at casinos in
Spain and instead headed to Las Vegas to try his methods out
over there. Gonzalo and his family took precautions to blend in
as tourists and ensure the same staff didn’t see them at the
tables too many times in a row.
It wasn’t long before word got out about Gonzalo and his
unique strategies though, and soon everyone recognized him and
his family as the people that overcame the roulette wheel. With
this fame came more and more controversy and more and more
casinos refusing to let them gamble in their facilities. The
family had made over $2 million from the casinos of Las Vegas
before deciding to retire.
Gonzalo and his family now focus on other areas of gambling,
still using collected data and the laws of probability to help
them advance in poker and online sports betting.
Gonzalo eventually wrote the book The Fabulous Story of The
Pelayos which was published in 2003, which is a detailed account
of the family’s triumph over the roulette wheel. The family was
also the inspiration for the documentary Breaking Vegas: The
roulette assault that played on The History Channel.
Since Gonzalo’s long span of roulette wins, casinos have
tried to fix any mistakes that could influence the way the
roulette wheel spins. Most wheels are now manufactured on lines
to help keep imperfections from appearing and casinos have
updated their cameras so they can keep their eyes out for anyone
spending too much time studying the roulette wheel.
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