The Perfect Bet: How Science and Math Are Taking the Luck Out of Gambling

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"An elegant and amusing account.... Anyone planning to enter a casino or place an online bet would be advised to keep this book handy." --Wall Street Journal
For the past 500 years, gamblers-led by mathematicians and scientists-have been trying to figure out how to pull the rug out from under Lady Luck. In The Perfect Bet, mathematician and award-winning writer Adam Kucharski tells the astonishing story of how the experts have succeeded, revolutionizing mathematics and science in the process. The house can seem unbeatable. Kucharski shows us just why it isn't. Even better, he demonstrates how the search for the perfect bet has been crucial for the scientific pursuit of a better world.
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About the author

Adam Kucharski is an assistant professor in mathematical modeling at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and an award-winning science writer. He studied at the University of Warwick before completing a PhD in mathematics at the University of Cambridge. The winner of the 2012 Wellcome Trust Science Writing Prize, Kucharski lives in London.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Basic Books
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Published on
Feb 23, 2016
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Pages
288
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ISBN
9780465098590
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Computers / Intelligence (AI) & Semantics
Mathematics / Applied
Mathematics / Probability & Statistics / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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INTRODUCES THE FUNDAMENTALS OF PROBABILITY, STATISTICS, DECISION THEORY, AND GAME THEORY, AND FEATURES INTERESTING EXAMPLES OF GAMES OF CHANCE AND STRATEGY TO MOTIVATE AND ILLUSTRATE ABSTRACT MATHEMATICAL CONCEPTS

Covering both random and strategic games, Probability, Decisions and Games features a variety of gaming and gambling examples to build a better understanding of basic concepts of probability, statistics, decision theory, and game theory. The authors present fundamental concepts such as random variables, rational choice theory, mathematical expectation and variance, fair games, combinatorial calculus, conditional probability, Bayes Theorem, Bernoulli trials, zero-sum games and Nash equilibria, as well as their application in games such as Roulette, Craps, Lotto, Blackjack, Poker, Rock-Paper-Scissors, the Game of Chicken and Tic-Tac-Toe. Computer simulations, implemented using the popular R computing environment, are used to provide intuition on key concepts and verify complex calculations.

The book starts by introducing simple concepts that are carefully motivated by the same historical examples that drove their original development of the field of probability, and then applies those concepts to popular contemporary games. The first two chapters of Probability, Decisions and Games: A Gentle Introduction using R feature an introductory discussion of probability and rational choice theory in finite and discrete spaces that builds upon the simple games discussed in the famous correspondence between Blaise Pascal and Pierre de Fermat. Subsequent chapters utilize popular casino games such as Roulette and Blackjack to expand on these concepts illustrate modern applications of these methodologies. Finally, the book concludes with discussions on game theory using a number of strategic games. This book:

· Features introductory coverage of probability, statistics, decision theory and game theory, and has been class-tested at University of California, Santa Cruz for the past six years

· Illustrates basic concepts in probability through interesting and fun examples using a number of popular casino games: roulette, lotto, craps, blackjack, and poker

· Introduces key ideas in game theory using classic games such as Rock-Paper-Scissors, Chess, and Tic-Tac-Toe.

· Features computer simulations using R throughout in order to illustrate complex concepts and help readers verify complex calculations

· Contains exercises and approaches games and gambling at a level that is accessible for readers with minimal experience

· Adopts a unique approach by motivating complex concepts using first simple games and then moving on to more complex, well-known games that illustrate how these concepts work together

Probability, Decisions and Games: A Gentle Introduction using R is a unique and helpful textbook for undergraduate courses on statistical reasoning, introduction to probability, statistical literacy, and quantitative reasoning for students from a variety of disciplines.

ABEL RODRÍGUEZ, PhD, is Professor in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Statistics at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC), CA, USA. The author of 40 journal articles, his research interests include Bayesian nonparametric methods, machine learning, spatial temporal models, network models, and extreme value theory.

BRUNO MENDES, PhD, is Lecturer in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Statistics at the University of California, Santa Cruz, CA, USA.

BRUNO MENDES, PhD, is Lecturer in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Cal
Early in his rise to enlightenment, man invented a concept that has since been variously viewed as a vice, a crime, a business, a pleasure, a type of magic, a disease, a folly, a weakness, a form of sexual substitution, an expression of the human instinct. He invented gambling.

Recent advances in the field, particularly Parrondo's paradox, have triggered a surge of interest in the statistical and mathematical theory behind gambling. This interest was acknowledge in the motion picture, "21," inspired by the true story of the MIT students who mastered the art of card counting to reap millions from the Vegas casinos. Richard Epstein's classic book on gambling and its mathematical analysis covers the full range of games from penny matching to blackjack, from Tic-Tac-Toe to the stock market (including Edward Thorp's warrant-hedging analysis). He even considers whether statistical inference can shed light on the study of paranormal phenomena. Epstein is witty and insightful, a pleasure to dip into and read and rewarding to study. The book is written at a fairly sophisticated mathematical level; this is not "Gambling for Dummies" or "How To Beat The Odds Without Really Trying." A background in upper-level undergraduate mathematics is helpful for understanding this work.

o Comprehensive and exciting analysis of all major casino games and variants o Covers a wide range of interesting topics not covered in other books on the subject o Depth and breadth of its material is unique compared to other books of this nature

Richard Epstein's website: www.gamblingtheory.net

The human brain has some capabilities that the brains of other animals lack. It is to these distinctive capabilities that our species owes its dominant position. Other animals have stronger muscles or sharper claws, but we have cleverer brains. If machine brains one day come to surpass human brains in general intelligence, then this new superintelligence could become very powerful. As the fate of the gorillas now depends more on us humans than on the gorillas themselves, so the fate of our species then would come to depend on the actions of the machine superintelligence. But we have one advantage: we get to make the first move. Will it be possible to construct a seed AI or otherwise to engineer initial conditions so as to make an intelligence explosion survivable? How could one achieve a controlled detonation? To get closer to an answer to this question, we must make our way through a fascinating landscape of topics and considerations. Read the book and learn about oracles, genies, singletons; about boxing methods, tripwires, and mind crime; about humanity's cosmic endowment and differential technological development; indirect normativity, instrumental convergence, whole brain emulation and technology couplings; Malthusian economics and dystopian evolution; artificial intelligence, and biological cognitive enhancement, and collective intelligence. This profoundly ambitious and original book picks its way carefully through a vast tract of forbiddingly difficult intellectual terrain. Yet the writing is so lucid that it somehow makes it all seem easy. After an utterly engrossing journey that takes us to the frontiers of thinking about the human condition and the future of intelligent life, we find in Nick Bostrom's work nothing less than a reconceptualization of the essential task of our time.
Using the letters Warren Buffett wrote to his partners between 1956 and 1970, a veteran financial advisor presents the renowned guru’s “ground rules” for investing—guidelines that remain startlingly relevant today.

In the fourteen years between his time in New York with value-investing guru Benjamin Graham and his start as chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffett managed Buffett Partnership Limited, his first professional investing partnership. Over the course of that time—a period in which he experienced an unprecedented record of success—Buffett wrote semiannual letters to his small but growing group of partners, sharing his thoughts, approaches, and reflections.

Compiled for the first time and with Buffett’s permission, the letters spotlight his contrarian diversification strategy, his almost religious celebration of compounding interest, his preference for conservative rather than conventional decision making, and his goal and tactics for bettering market results by at least 10% annually. Demonstrating Buffett’s intellectual rigor, they provide a framework to the craft of investing that had not existed before: Buffett built upon the quantitative contributions made by his famous teacher, Benjamin Graham, demonstrating how they could be applied and improved.

Jeremy Miller reveals how these letters offer us a rare look into Buffett’s mind and offer accessible lessons in control and discipline—effective in bull and bear markets alike, and in all types of investing climates—that are the bedrock of his success. Warren Buffett’s Ground Rules paints a portrait of the sage as a young investor during a time when he developed the long-term value-oriented strategy that helped him build the foundation of his wealth—rules for success every investor needs today.

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