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Best of John May

Gaming Guru

 

System Huckster Detection Checklist

21 February 2000

Want to know if that attractive-looking advert for a gambling system is a loser?

I have spent the last few years poring over every junk piece of gambling literature. I consider myself an expert on the subject. I am a connoisseur of dreadful mail-order systems. If someone in Denver is composing some ghastly streak betting system, I can smell it several thousand miles away here in England. I have a finely honed bullshit detector.

The first and easiest principle to determine whether a system is valueless or not I will christen May's First Law Of Hucksterism. This law states that a gambling system sold through mail order is by definition worthless. This blanket statement is pretty accurate. Mail order system-sellers are almost universally charlatans who prey on human credulity and superstition.

The majority of mail-order systems depend on luck, some betting progression, "card-clumping" or some other form of pseudo-theory. Luck, for all practical purposes, does not exist. Luck is a medieval concept. Try to win at gambling by the use of a charmed amulet or lucky coin and you will slowly but surely get wiped out. You would be better off going into politics planning your career on the predictions of the entrails of a chicken.

Betting progressions, it is universally agreed, do not provide you with a long-term advantage over the house in a game of independent trials. They do change the distribution of wins and losses. Which makes them excellent for system sellers who can say something "you will win 75% of all sessions" in total honesty. I can do better than that. Try doubling your bet every time you lose. Then you will win all of your sessions. Except for one, which will be the one in which you lose everything.

Pseudo-theorists are the most lethal form of huckster. They cloud their pitch for a worthless system in confusing verbose language designed to wow the customer with their intellect. This is like toothpaste advertisements going on about fluoride. Know what difference fluoride makes to toothpaste? Me neither. In the same way you will find hucksters talk about Hypogenic non-linear congruential clumping strategy. When challenged as to what that actually means, they will go "Ah...$200 please".

There are more exotic varieties of system huckster. There is the plagiarist, the individual who simply steals someone else's quality work, photocopies it, and sells it for 10 times the original price. (Someone did this recently to Frank Scoblete's work on slots and my writings on baccarat.)

There is also the advanced pseudo-theorist. The advanced pseudo-theorist offers a system which will beat a game like baccarat or roulette with card-counting or wheel watching. These techniques are not fully understood by the greatest of mathematicians. They are not understood by the pseudo-theorist either, but he knows that it is very difficult to contradict his method when the subject is unbelievably complex. Even if someone does expose the system-seller, it's almost impossible to explain in layman's terms why the method does not work.

Are no mail-order systems worthwhile?

A few exceptions exist. Some individuals, such as Brett Harris, prefer to sell card-counting systems through mail order rather than a publishing house because of the specialized nature of the product they offer. But these are most certainly exceptions and not the rule.

John May
John May is one of the most feared gamblers in the world. He has developed "advantage play" techniques for many games that are considered unbeatable.

Books by John May:

> More Books By John May

John May
John May is one of the most feared gamblers in the world. He has developed "advantage play" techniques for many games that are considered unbeatable.

Books by John May:

> More Books By John May