Against All Odds: The Croatian Who Beat Roulette Through Sheer Mental Focus

  • Niko Tosa and his two partners won £1.3m ($1.6m) at London’s Ritz casino in 2004
  • Over nine months, Scotland Yard couldn’t find anything amiss with how they won it
  • He supposedly used mental focus and wheel bias to beat the house and secure the cash
  • Tosa is planning another international casino tour despite casinos improving tables
Roulette wheel
Niko Tosa and his two companies raked in £1.3m ($1.6m) from London’s Ritz casino in 2004 prompting Scotland Yard to investigate. [Image:]

Making money at the Ritz

The gambling world is full of mysterious, terrifying, and wonderful stories, from bizarre bad beats to hair-raising heists, murders, and even ghosts. But when it comes to beating roulette, the story of a Croatian mastermind – who claims he won millions through sheer mental focus – springs to mind.

Not much is known about the man who goes by the name Niko Tosa, a pseudonym used to hide his identity, other than that he lives in a small coastal village south of Dubrovnik. Believed to be in his 50s, Tosa comes from a prominent family and regularly uses fake names to visit casinos worldwide.

arrested after making £1.3m ($1.6m) from London’s Ritz casino

Nearly 20 years ago, Niko Tosa and his two partners, a Serbian businessman called Nenad Marjanovic, and Livia Pilisi, a 32-year-old Hungarian woman, were arrested after making £1.3m ($1.6m) from London‘s now-closed Ritz casino.

Initial theories regarding the trio’s tactics even included using lasers and microcomputers to predict the wheel‘s movements. But after nine months of investigating with no further leads, Scotland Yard finally closed the case.

Now, though, it appears the three beat the odds with far simpler measures: through sheer mental focus.

Arrested on suspicion of “deception”

According to Tosa, there are only two things needed to beat the odds with roulette: find a table that has a defect to reduce randomness and mentally estimate where the ball will go.

Tosa claims that the condition of the wheel is important as the ones that have a slight defect or bias reduce the randomness of where the roulette ball will land. By watching the wheel and the ball before bets are closed at the last second, Tosa and his companions could predict correctly.

For the most part, Tosa had flown under the radar prior to raking in the £1.3m ($1.6m) from London‘s Ritz casino in 2004. After visiting the casino, Tosa, Marjanovic, and Pilisi attracted the attention of security staff when they visited several nights in a row.

Tosa would enter the casino and scan the room before picking a table

Security watched on cameras how Tosa would enter the casino and scan the room before picking a table. According to Tosa, he would pick tables he‘d been successful on before, but that had been moved to a different location inside the casino.

Every night, the trio would follow a similar pattern: just before bets had closed and when the ball was in motion, they would place a bet. Over several nights of this, they managed to increase their winnings to £1.3m ($1.6m).

Returning to the Ritz the following night, the three were met by police who arrested them on suspicion of “deception.”

Getting away with the cash

Police searched the three believing they would find hidden devices; however, none were found. They also searched their hotel rooms, but only found money and a list of casinos with pluses and minuses next to them.

Determined to find some evidence of the “deception,” police even stripped the roulette table apart thinking they would find a hidden device inside. They combed through the security footage and interviewed the dealer at the table, all of which turned up nothing.

they were free to go with their winnings

After a nine-month investigation, Scotland Yard returned the money back to Tosa, Marjanovic, and Pilisi telling them they were free to go with their winnings.

Following the incident, many casinos worked at improving their wheels such as by implementing scalloped pockets to increase the amount of time the roulette ball bounces around.

Undeterred by these methods and having previously used fake names and disguises to visit casinos around the world undetected, Tosa has hinted that he‘s planning another international casino tour where he’ll no doubt use mental focus to beat the house once more.

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