- Hardcover: 192 pages
- Publisher: Mathematical Assn of Amer; 2 edition (July 15, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0883856468
- ISBN-13: 978-0883856468
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 7 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #868,230 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Mathematics of Games And Gambling: Second Edition. The Anneli Lax New Mathematical Library 2nd Edition
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Review of first edition: 'The whole book is written with great urbanity and clarity. It is hard to see how it could be done better or more readably. The main virtue lies in the close and clever interweaving of theory and example.' Mathematical Gazette<br /><br />Review of first edition: This is an informal, well-written, and witty exposition of the usefulness of mathematics and its analytical processes. The book covers gambling and betting schemes in math in greater detail than do most textbooks on introductory probability. --The Mathematics Teacher
High school students will find this book a good preparion for doing an elementary statistics and probability course at university level. This book is also a good resource for first year university students, in particular in mathematics and statistics, to understand the theories behind the games. --Boris Choy, The Australian Math Teacher
The new edition of a favourite, introducing and developing some important and beautiful elementary mathematics needed to analyse various gambling and game activities. Most of the standard casino games, some social games and various other activities (state lotteries, horse racing) are treated in ways that bring out their mathematical aspects.
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The fourth chapter is about the difference between permutations and combinations. Also explains the use of factorials and the n choose r notation in this chapter. Games using these concepts are poker, bridge, and keno. The book offers a pretty good betting strategy when it comes to poker. The fifth chapter talks about the binomial distribution, some general betting strategies, and talks about blackjack could be a favorable game to the player if you could count cards. The sixth chapter talks elementary game theory. The only thing I found interesting in this chapter is the Nash Equilibrium or also called the prisoner's dilemma. The final chapter has some pretty interesting topics. First topic is about bluffing in the game of Texas Holdem. The book gives some pretty nice formulas to determine when to bluff or not. Next topic was about horse race betting which talked about some observations and strategies behind it. Lastly it talks about probability and expected value behind certain lottery tickets which is pretty interesting. In a nutshell, this book would be pretty good to take a certain topic in probability theory like combinations or finite probability and use the game examples behind it to explain its meaning.
The book uses gambling as its entré to basic probability theory. Not a bad idea, but the title was clearly ambiguous.
If you are looking for an introductory text, it is probably a 4-4.5 star choice. For my purposes it gets a 2; the historical context was interesting and completely lacking in most texts (otherwise I would have gotten nothing out of it). The writing quality was also very good (easy to read and the explanations were straightforward and complete).
Recommended for beginners, NOT recommended for people looking for more advanced tools to solve more complicated gambling problems. Due to the titles ambiguity, I had to average my rating between the appropriate 'beginner's text' rating of 4-4.5, and the rating of 2 stars I give it for what I was looking for.
Modern college texts require a much higher level of preparation plus about four or five times the effort to assimilate. That's no fun, and truthfully of little value, to the average gambler who just wants to calculate the odds of throwing a 5 at craps. If you can't solve that problem and a hundred others after reading this book, you probably should stop trying.
There is fascinating historical and motivational material woven throughout dozens of examples taken from modern gambling scenarios. The essential combinatorics are developed and the normal distribution is described intuitively as a limit to the binomial. There's even a derivation of the famous gambler's ruin formula -- all without calculus.
A gambler will be more than just sharp after reading this book, he will become dangerous!