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Conquering Risk: Attacking Vegas and Wall Street Paperback – August 16, 2010

4.1 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


The authors present a lucid and comprehensive guide for developing a plan to succeed at sports gambling in an increasingly complex marketplace. Whether you're interested in becoming a winner at sports betting or simply fascinated by the role of risk in our society, 'Conquering Risk' is must reading. --Jeff Haney, Sports Columnist

About the Author

George S. Howard, Ph. D. is a Professor of Psychology at the University of Notre Dame. He has served as Chairman, Department of Psychology and Director, Laboratory for Social Research at Notre Dame, as well as the Joseph Morahan Director of College Seminar. He served as President, Division of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology and President, Division of Humanistic Psychology of the American Psychological Association. He also was the 1998 winner of Notre Dame's Faculty Award. Author of 14 books and over 190 scientific articles and chapters, his specialties include philosophical psychology, research methodology, narrative psychology and environmental psychology. Elihu D. Feustel, J.D. is a professional gambler. He was an insurance lawyer for 10 years until he began sports-betting full time. He was an odds maker and consultant for Pinnacle Sports in 2004-2006. His primary focus is on winning at sports betting. He still has a minor involvement in law mediating internet gambling disputes.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: George S. Howard (August 16, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1450723004
  • ISBN-13: 978-1450723008
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #591,788 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Aaron C. Brown TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 7, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There are many more bad books about gambling than good ones, and learning from a bad book is more dangerous than not learning at all. Most of the good books require quite a bit from the reader: experience, judgment and/or mathematical ability. Conquering Risk is nearly unique in offering a thorough explanation of sports betting for beginners, sound psychological and risk management advice and plenty of warnings; while requiring only essential, basic mathematics. On top of that, it's well-written: both clear and precise. This book will do no harm, and will do a lot of good.

The rest of this review is mostly negative. It is intended for people who have already read the book, to point out a few areas in which I disagree. I like 95% of this book, for the reasons given in the first paragraph. This covers the remaining 5%.

While I appreciate the reasons for keeping the mathematical level low, the trend among professional sports bettors has been to use far more rigorous and sophisticated methods than the ad-hoc-plus-regression-and-backtesting described here. In particular, signal processing and natural language processing techniques have revolutionized the field. For all the additional equations and computer power, it's not clear that the new methods outperform the simpler ones. Their huge advantage is they can be applied to far more markets with far less human intervention. Thus they are more suitable to someone who wants to build a business than someone who wants to work for himself and make a living. It would be nice to have a chapter on this, at least to point out the competition. This could have replaced the staggeringly dull and useless blow-by-blow account of one author's experience in fantasy fencing.

One specific problem is the discussion of Poisson models.
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Format: Paperback
This review is only on the sports betting sections of Conquering Risk. The sports betting sections are the majority of the book, written by Elihu Feustel. I have no comment on the sections written by George Howard.

The sports betting sections in Conquering Risk are nice additions to any sports bettor's library. There are few books on the subject and even fewer quality ones. While some handicappers may not entirely agree with all of Feustel's methods, it should be interesting to any handicapper to read Feustel's thoughts and how he goes about attacking a problem. He lays out his thoughts clearly and thoroughly, with a bunch of numbers; he's not hiding behind anything. Using math, logic and the combination of theory and betting in the real world, Feustel has presented some interesting work. I have bookmarked a few chapters that I know I want to read through a bit more thoroughly as I know I can learn from them, and if you are a thinking sports bettor, you can too. This is not a read-and-put-on-the-bookshelf book. There are chapters that will take some time to digest, pick out the parts one can use (that will different for everyone) and force the reader to think. That is a very good thing.

I recommend Conquering Risk for any thinking sports bettor.
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This is a must read for those aspiring to be a winning sportsbettor but it is not appropriate for the complete beginner - concepts are rolled out at a pace that assumes that the basic principles and terminology of betting have been internalised. As someone who has built a few soccer regression models and read much of the academic literature, I found the outline NFL model to be an eye opener - it is more sophisticated than models that have formed the basis of PhDs and yet would still not beat the odds. There is no magic formula in here for betting success but there are valuable hints and tips for those who have the skillset required to model sports data.
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Format: Paperback
I received this book back in Sept, I promised one of the authors that I would perform a peer review asap, unfortunately I was unable to analyze it thoroughly until recently.

I personally consider this book to be the third book in the series of legitimate sportsbetting books available in the current market, meaning that there were only two books prior to Conquering Risk that I feel can be considered legitimate: Stanford Wong's Sharp Sportsbetting, and King Yao's Weighing the odds. (Much like Super System and Theory of poker were considered the legitimate poker bibles that started it all)

In Wong's book, the ideas of advantage play and teasers and poisson props that can be used to beat the book were introduced. In Yao's book, the ideas of relative values and Derivatives bets that can be used to beat the book were introduced. Similarly, in Conquering Risks, the aurthors introduced the idea of mathematical modeling and regression testing, which again is an effective tool to beat the books.

In fact, the books/lines are getting so much tighter now that previous +ev opportunties such as buying on/off 3, teasers, quarter, half bets are pretty much obsolete (or at least severely toned down at the books that actually accept a bet or two.); being able to model and set a more accurate line than the books might be one of the only effective advantages the players have left.

In Conquering Risk, the author introduces several sportsbetting models on such sports as MLB, WNBA, and NFL. Database stats (caution readers following along need both a reliable database as well some database querying skills) are used as inputs, and the results were checked against historical game outcomes and spreads in a form called regression testing.
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