Engineering in Casinos
Casino games are simple – I think we can all agree on this. Simple for the player, that is. Under the fun and thrill, many of them are great examples of the engineers’ ingenuity. Today, the most widely accessible casino games are all run by engineering software, they all simulate the mechanics of the originals, paying tribute to the original mechanics and engineers that first built them.
Slot machines are among the most popular games in the world, played by millions from Las Vegas to the JackpotCity online casino and beyond. Their history is long, longer than many would expect: the first of their kind was built sometime between 1887 and 1895 by a San Francisco mechanic called Charles Fey.
Gambling machines have been around for years at the time but they had a few shortcomings – among others, they were too complex to be able to function without assistance, especially when it came to payouts. Fey reduced the complexity of the game and devised an automatic payment system, plus he built a device that could tell real coins from buttons and metal disks of similar dimensions.
Needless to say, Fey’s machine became insanely popular with shop owners – by the early years of the 20th century, they were everywhere, from barbershops to gas stations and bowling alleys. And later, casinos.
The roulette wheel
Legend has it, the roulette wheel was invented by French mathematician and inventor Blaise Pascal in his efforts to build a perpetual motion machine. His design had nothing to do with gambling, of course. But it was a perfect choice for the unnamed inventor who ultimately built roulette, one of the best-known casino games in the world.
Roulette may seem like a trivial matter to gamblers when in fact, it’s a wonderful piece of engineering. The wheel itself, made of wood or a combination of other materials, turns in a dish-shaped indentation in the table on a set of precision bearings. To be fair (as in truly random), the wheel has to be perfectly balanced. If it’s tilted even a bit, it becomes biased, favoring certain numbers – and this can be observed by a watchful gambler and exploited for breaking the bank.
Continuous shuffling machines
Card counting is not illegal but it’s certainly frowned upon by casino operators because it bends the odds in the players’ favor. Casinos have tried to fight off card counters using different methods, from keen-eyed security guards to camera systems, finally settling for a piece of machinery.
Continuous shuffling machines make card counting virtually impossible. As their name suggests, these machines continuously shuffle half a dozen decks of cards (52 cards each), making sure that their order in the shoe (the case from which the dealer takes them out) is as unpredictable as possible.