Genius at work.

People sometimes call me a casino expert, and I usually disavow any claim to the title, partially out of modesty, and partially because that would put me into some pretty shady company. Case in point: Richard Ellison, who just pled guilty to kidnapping two octogenerians, one of whom was his mother.

From the Cincy Post:

Richard Ellison probably is a genius.

The Madisonville man has debated Ivy League professors over statistical probabilities and authored four books on gambling that have as much to do with probabilities as gambling.

Ellison, 56, comes by it honestly.

His mother, Jeanne Lee of Terrace Park, also is an author, having written a book called “Spirituality Warfare: Introduction to Warfare.”

That’s the same mother Ellison, in a May 16 Hamilton County Common Pleas Court hearing, pleaded guilty to kidnapping and tying up. He did the same thing to his father, Edmond Lee. Both are 80.

Police suspect Ellison – who uses R.D. Ellison when writing books – was planning to kill them.

Neither Ellison’s attorney nor his mother would comment for this story.

Proclaiming himself “one of the world’s leading authorities on casino gambling,” Ellison wrote several articles and books espousing what he insisted was a mathematical pattern that proved the ball landing on a specific number of a roulette wheel was anything but random.

Ellison believes roulette wheel spins – as well as rolls of the dice and turning over of cards – follow mathematical trends that, if followed in large numbers of games, will appear about equally to each other, a theory he pushed on his Web site

“It comes down to this: in a controlled environment that invokes a statistical certainty, there has to be a cause, and an effect,” Ellison wrote.

“The effect is that the numbers conform to their statistical expectation. The ‘other guys’ will tell you that there is no cause: that the effect is the result of willy-nilly random chance that conforms through unabated coincidence! And the entire world has been buying this illogical horsepuckey for a hundred years!”

That came from Ellison’s Web site in an article he entitled “The Big Lie.”

That kind of writing also is in Ellison’s books. Unfortunately for Ellison’s sister, mother and stepfather, police say, it’s also prevalent in the things he wrote about them in the last four years after he believed he was the object of a family slight, a slight that will lead to Ellison being sentenced to prison June 17.

“Obviously, it was out of the ordinary here. Anywhere, really,” Terrace Park Police Lt. Gerald Hayhow said of the Oct. 10 incident that led to Ellison’s arrest.

Hayhow, prosecutors and documents from the case reveal an odd tale of an obsessive son who does all he can to ensure that his voice will be heard – when and how he wants it to be.

They provided this account of how the events unfolded:

About four years ago, Ellison believed his sister, who owns a landscaping business in Hampton, Conn., somehow slighted him.

He exacted his revenge on her by printing “The Hampton Tattler,” a publication delivered to the northeast Connecticut town of 12,000. In it, officials said, Ellison derided his sister, a move she believed hurt her landscaping business but one her husband believed was potentially threatening.

Ellison’s sister and her husband called Cincinnati authorities, who placed him in University Hospital for an emergency mental evaluation.

Indignant, Ellison was released within 24 hours and has held a grudge since, a grudge that exacerbated his dislike of his mother’s husband, his stepfather, Edmond Lee.

The family feud turned obsessive for Ellison.

The Cincinnati Post – Gambling expert pleads guilty

First off, being a gambling expert hardly qualifies someone as a genius. If this guy had discovered “winning trends,” why isn’t he lounging on an island somewhere, counting all the millions he’s made from casinos?

I glanced through Ellison’s magnum opus, Gamble to Win, and found this gem:

Donald Trump’s Taj Mahal casino cost over a billion dollars to build. How does he pay for all that atmosphere ? (p. 13)

“All that atmosphere?” Yeah, the Taj is so atmospheric. It’s like a palace or something, right? As a former employee, trust me, it’s not so heavenly. Ellison then blathers on about casinos pumping “fresh oxygen into the gaming area.” I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again, in boldface:
Oxygen-rich atmosphere + open flame (cigarettes) = fire.

And this guy qualifies as a genius?

Another sign of an unbalanced mind at work. On pages 34 and 35, Ellison has epigrams from Thoreau and “Lt. Worf from Star Trek, Next Generation.” This wasn’t done to be ironic, or to undermine Thoreau, but, I think, because Ellison truly beleives “Lt. Worf” to be a quotable Klingon. Of course, he also quotes himself in an epigram (p. 48), which might be the most pretentious thing an author can do. To my mind, it’s the literary equivalent of laughing at your own joke.

It’s good that he’s going to jail for terrorizing a pair of 80-year-olds, but it’s too bad that he can’t be sent upstate for writing shoddy, misleading books about how to “win at gambling.”

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