Cold numbers: bad beats or overdue bets?

Jan 11, 2005 3:24 AM


We may reject out of hand any playing system that uses so-called "cold numbers" for play. If we obtain a ball frequency report from the keno supervisor and we note that there are several balls that have not come up as often as expected, these are referred to as "cold numbers." We note that there are only two possibilities that can produce such cold numbers.

Case 1: The cold numbers were produced by natural random variation. In this case no playing strategy based upon the history of calls will be of any value; the future calls will be entirely random.

Case 2: The cold numbers were produced by some bias in the ball selection process. In this case the bias may continue into some point in the future, or the bias may discontinue.

If the bias discontinues we revert back to Case 1. If the bias continues producing the same cold numbers as it has in the past, it is patently obvious that we will gain no advantage by playing these cold numbers.

In fact, we will be at a disadvantage, since if the bias continues our numbers will continue to come up less frequently than expected. The only way to take advantage of a biased situation is to AVOID playing the cold numbers, since by definition the other numbers (non-cold numbers) will come up more often than expected.

Additionally, there is a misconception among some gamblers that events that have occurred less often than expected in the past must somehow compensate by coming up more often in the future. It is true that all random events tend towards the average (mean) over the long run, but this is expressed as a percentage rather than absolutely.

For instance, suppose that in the last 100 games, number 80 has only come up 15 times instead of the 25 times we might expect. In percentage terms, this ball has come up only 15/25, or 60 percent of what was expected. Thus the ball has come up 10 fewer times than expected. A player who believes that such balls are now "overdue" might think that the ball will come up 35 times in the next hundred games, in order to gain the expected 50 appearances in 200 games. In fact, the expectation for ball #80 over the next 100 games is 25 occurrences. But let’s suppose that ball 80 comes up only 20 times in the next 100 games, a shortfall of 5 occurrences. Now ball 80 has come up 35 times in 200 games, a total shortfall of 15 occurrences, but has come up 35/50 expected times, or 70 percent of expectations. Thus this number is behaving correctly (it is closer to its average expectation in percentage terms)even though in absolute terms its occurrences are further and further away from the expected average.

Well, that’s it for now. Good luck! I’ll see you in line!