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The House Advantage: Playing the Odds to Win Big In Business Hardcover – Bargain Price, July 6, 2010
Based on seven years of reporting from over a dozen countries, writer Tom Wainwright takes you on an extraordinary journey into the business of being a drug lord. Learn more.
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
“From the minute I met Jeff Ma, I knew that my life was about to change; a mathematical genius who had turned Vegas upside down with a system that has since made him an international sensation, Jeff taught me more about money in a single neon-laced weekend than I could ever learn from a library full of CEO biographies. A perfect companion to Bringing Down The House, Jeff’s book opens a window into a world where high-level statistics mingle with heart-pounding gambling tales. To put it simply- this is a business book like no other you’ve ever read before.”- From the Forerword by Ben Mezrich, NY Times Bestselling author of Bringing Down The House and The Accidental Billionaires
"Few things like experiencing the ups-and-downs of beating the casinos at blackjack can better equip one to understand risk and reward in visceral and concrete way. The House Advantage is an efficient and enjoyable read that reflects Jeff's nuanced understanding about how to run the numbers in a real-world context. " – Nate Silver, Statistician and Founder of FiveThirtyEight.com
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Top Customer Reviews
Ma describes things for the reader that will get you up to speed on both your gambling--i.e. the nuances of 21--and your business-speak--i.e. I finally learned what an option is and then how it relates to volatility and the Mexican economic crisis' affect on the U.S. dollar--without turning the expert off in either arena. Not an easy task as a writer and is done exceptionally well here.
The book is of the same genre as Lewis' Moneyball (a book Ma cites as life-changing in the Acknowledgments). Ideal for the neophyte interested in economics, finance, etc., combining the highfalutin world of casino gambling with modern day finance. In a sense, Ma urges us to put our faith in something that we believe in--which is rooted in clear thinking and statistics--and forge ahead, regardless of the valleys that may occur in the arena of "ups and downs."
Ma uses well-told personal anecdotes to explain cognitive errors common in academic psychology such as the gambler's fallacy and confirmation bias. Clearly not a man of superstition, frowning up on the "same-roller" phenomenon in craps and the concept of `statistical atheist', making sure the reader knows he's not involved in magic or some form of voodoo.Read more ›
Perhaps the most glowing recommendation I can make about this book is via my own personal experience. For the past couple months I've had a conversation with my father, a trained engineer and a brilliant man, about poker and investing. Each time, I tried to make the case for non results oriented thinking. The first example, I brought up the fact that I was up a large amount playing poker in Vegas and ended up marginally up. His statement is that I should have quit while ahead while my argument was that as long as I had an advantage (I was +EV in the game) I should try to realize this advantage by playing as many hours as possible, because in the long run, I'd hit my hourly expectation. He argued while that was true, my time horizon in Vegas was 1 weekend.Read more ›
The book does a great job of taking some of the most common problems that can derail a successful venture and showing you how to achieve better results using an objective reality-based approach to problem solving. To help, he uses numerous real world examples through discussions with an interesting array of successful players in business, sports, finance, and gambling (see the list of impressive blurbs for the book) to help drive home many important principles that somehow get overlooked these days (for example: this past financial crisis).
Throughout the book, Ma shows how focusing on objectivity and data will help you make better decisions but, even more importantly, he is not a slave to numbers and constantly points out that making the right decision is way more than just access to and using numbers, it's also about asking the right questions and making sure you're interpreting your data properly so that it makes sense. His chapter on correlation versus causation is especially good at this as it points out just how important it is to think through what numbers mean as opposed to blindly following them.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Had to reference the Portland Trailblazers draft of Greg Oden... just re-read the book and forgot about its intriguing thoughts.Published 12 months ago by jason leadley
Well written and interesting. Not just a rehash of the MIT blackjack team. Ma is one of the brightest minds of my generation. Big data is here to stay.Published 14 months ago by BB from Maine
Heard the author, loved him and the book!
Places focus on "objectivity" of decision making. Read more
With all of the hype about Big Data, it's never been more essential to dial it down a notch. How can we make the right business decisions when we don't understand Small Data basic... Read morePublished on November 15, 2013 by Phil Simon
The guy spoke to Michael Lewis, Nate Silver, Darryl Morrey, Billy Beane and many other people on my short list of interesting people I admire. Read morePublished on August 12, 2013 by npullano
This should be required reading for the gaming industry, which I always thought was shortsighted for banning, rather than celebrating, card counters. Read morePublished on March 7, 2013 by Kevin Heisey
Even though this book was sort of a class assignment, the book was very easy to read and game me a whole new outlook on statistical analysis. I would recommend this book.Published on November 8, 2012 by kasper7mc
People with all sorts of backgrounds are using analytics to uncover facts in gigantic piles of data to guide decision making. Read morePublished on October 19, 2010 by Bev Brown