The story of how the Pelayos family took on a local casino

Gonzalo García-Pelayo is the head of the Pelayos family, which gained notoriety and fame for their gambling exploits in the 90s. He devised a statistical based system for winning on the roulette wheel. Using this system, the Pelayos clan won over 1.2 million euros mainly in the Madrid Gran Casino between 1991 and 1995.

Gonzalo was a record producer turned professional gambler. Being an avid roulette player, he observed that each roulette wheel had its own unique bias (imperfections) that made the spin results less random.

Roulette wheel bias; wheel bias is when specific numbers on a roulette wheel win more than others after many spins. Biased roulette wheels are flawed not rigged and are caused by several factors like; flaws in the wheels design, wear and tear, uneven table surface, etc.

The García-Pelayo’s system; Together, with his children, mainly his son Ivan and daughter Vanessa, they dedicated time and energy to observing and recording results from thousands of roulette spins at the Casino Gran Madrid. Gonzalo fed the collated data onto a computer program to ascertain which numbers won the most at each wheel. They found that most of the wheels had certain numbers the marble was more likely to fall into. The system effectively enabled him predict where the roulette ball would most likely drop, thus turning the casinos 2.7% house edge into his own 15% edge.

Armed with this information, they placed wagers on the “hot” numbers and won a lot of money to the chagrin of the Madrid Gran Casino manager called “The beast”. They were subsequently banned from the Madrid Gran Casino and other casinos in Spain, but they used intermediaries to play their numbers for a share of the profits. However, their hired players were also busted and the casino operators dragged them to court.

They moved to casinos in other parts of Europe and were successful applying their system. There were big wins in Vienna for €85.000 in one night, in Amsterdam for almost €78.000 and €240.000 in Lloret de Mar. Word spread about them in European casinos, and they were banned by most operators. They headed for Sin City Las Vegas and within a few days they made big profits from their system. It wasn't long before the operators realised what was amiss, and kicked them out.

Court case; Back in Spain, the supreme court ruled in favor of the Pelayos family. The judge, in his submissions, said that Gonzalo had used his ingenuity to gain an edge, and that the Los Pelayos had not broken any laws. Their actions were not deemed to be fraudulent and weren’t unlawful in the eyes of the court, as they did not fix the roulette wheels in any way, shape or form.

Aftermath; After retiring from playing roulette due to his many casino bans, Gonzalo and the Pelayos' have dabbled into various things like trying to create a winning system for online poker with their own poker school.