Since I had a little downtime a couple weeks ago, I decided to give some series from the last couple of years a second go. One of those series was Rio: Rainbow Gate, a 13-episode anime from 2011 about Rio, a popular casino dealer, and her quest to become the MVCD (most valuable casino dealer). A lot of people have already reviewed Rio: Rainbow Gate so I won’t go there. Instead, let’s consider if Rio really is a goddess of luck or if she wins through calculated risks.
The first two episodes deal with games where you can determine the probability of an outcome: poker and roulette. In the first episode, Rio plays one round of draw poker with her decency on the line. Each player is dealt 5 cards and they may discard any number of cards from their hand and draw the same number of cards once. When the players have all drawn their cards, they reveal their hands and whoever has the highest hand wins. Poker hands are ranked from lowest to highest as follows: high card, single pair, double pair, three of a kind, straight, flush, full house, four of a kind, and straight flush. More information on what each hand is can be found on Wikipedia. To get a feel for how likely it is to get each hand, you can actually play the game at www.partycasino.com. Rio’s opponent was dealt a near royal flush, needing only to obtain an ace of hearts or a 9 of hearts to get a straight flush. His chances of getting a straight or higher were at 16.7%, but he opted to only keep a queen, hoping to get a 4 of a kind (the probability of which is less than 1%).
While Rio does not show her initial hand, she ends up with a single pair of twos and only discarded one card so we can assume that she started with a 5 of diamonds, king of hearts, 6 of diamonds, and a 2. If we take into account what her opponent had drawn, the probability of her drawing a card to make a pair was 26.1%. At first glance, you would think that Rio has the upper hand, but her opponent actually has a good chance of getting a pair too. So was her win due to luck or probability? Actually, Rio rigged the game, but none of the audience seemed to notice. Recall that her opponent almost had a royal flush of hearts in his initial hand, that means that he had the king of hearts. When Rio revealed her hand at the end, she also had the king of hearts. Her “modest” win was really just a show.
The second episode focused on another popular gambling game, roulette. This involves a wheel with 38 coloured pockets with numbers. Players place bets on a colour/number and a ball is spun around the wheel. If the ball lands on a player’s selection, then they win. Rio: Rainbow Gate tweaked the game a bit, supersizing it to a huge wheel and using a bowling ball instead of a bullet-sized ball. The basics were all the same though: the ball was rolled and Rio made her bet.
So what were Rio’s odds of winning? She could only pick one number and there were 38 in total, so her odds were 1 in 38 or 2.6%. Disregarding Elvis’s ability to predict where the ball would land (he wasn’t the one betting anyway), Rio’s chances of winning this game were the same as any other roulette game, so her victory all boiled down to luck.
However crazy Rio: Rainbow Gate may seem, it actually makes you think about different aspects of gambling, like luck, probability, and whether or not your opponent is cheating. Hopefully that last one doesn’t happen. Whether Rio: Rainbow Gate is good or bad or a good bad anime is up for debate, but it certainly is unique.