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Pretty light on mathematics and software engineering though. You can easily get through this book in an evening or two and refresh some of your thoughts on modeling and statistics. Steven Skiena keeps a web site Wish the book had shipped with a CD though so you could play around with his model and simulate a few games of Jai Alai for fun. Jai-alai is possibly the most beautiful and exciting sport in the world, full of fast-paced, amazingly athletic action, and you can actually bet on it!

A dog race takes less than a minute, most horse races less than two, and then you stand around for half an hour waiting for the next one. In jai-alai, you get less than ten minutes between games, and the action-packed games themselves can go on for twenty or more - which can be, if you have a bet riding on the outcome, an eternity. Jai-alai is also the most difficult of all sports to handicap, due to a fiendish scoring system called "Spectacular Seven.

I'd love to pan this book, to discourage everyone from reading it and learning most of my precious winning tricks, but it's just too darned good. Almost the only flaw I find in the book is that Skiena is not as maniacal in expressing his love of the incredibly beautiful sport of jai-alai as I would have been.

He comes close, and I certainly hope this book inspires more people to experience this amazing spectacle first-hand. There is nothing like it in all the sporting world, and although it has been broadcast on television at times, it really has to be seen in person to be appreciated. A single performance of jai-alai has as much action crammed into four hours or so as an entire season of football: all the drama, all the farce; the highs, the lows, the blown calls by the referees, the rowdy fans.

I could watch it every day, never bet a dime and still be thrilled. Skiena does manage to convey the excitement of a game, especially when a bet is riding on it, as the action unfolds point by hard-fought, critically important point. Unlike baseball, no catch or throw in a jai-alai game is ever "routine," and when your team is at game point, you can find yourself not breathing for surprisingly long periods of time.

And the acrobatics of the players can be astonishing - I have seen men jump their own height up a sheer wall, and then seemingly stand there, defying gravity, waiting for the ball to come to them. Willy Mays couldn't do it better, nor even Michael J. But betting is the name of this game, and is examined in the book in scrupulous detail.

Using fairly easy-to-understand mathematical methods, with a few equations, but nothing that requires a rocket scientist to understand, Skiena shows the reader how to take apart the game of jai-alai and see what makes it tick. And he does it more efficiently than I ever did, analyzing not only the game itself, but the way money can be made on it by managing your bets properly.

I cannot fault any of his mathematical or computer-programming details, since I have used pretty near all of them myself. I used a different programming language, and slightly different methods of analysing the data - for instance, I never bothered with charting all the pay-outs for various bets. Nor have I kept scrupulous track of my own bets, save in those few instances when I won enough to have to pay the tax-man his share. But the methods he gives are utterly sound, and will work.

I can testify to this from personal experience. Since none of the math and little of the stuff about jai-alai is new to me, I took my main pleasure in the book from reading Skiena's personal views on jai-alai, and a handful of his personal observations - I wish there'd been more - on the life of a mathematican.

Best of all were his pointed insights into the nature of mathematics in general, and probability and statistics in particular. I wish he would concentrate these into a single essay and send it to every major newspaper or magazine whose motto is "the public has a right to know. Considering that these are two of the most misunderstood and misreported items in the entire repertoire of today's newspapers and magazines, at least their editors and reporters should read this book.

Skiena ranges over a variety of topics, and demonstrates how things that seem entirely different turn out to be related quite closely. He also examines and dispells many of the myths that surround both jai-alai and mathematics. Yet he never gets bogged down in equations, or fails to keep things clear and to the point. In short, buy this book, and read it, and think about it, and if you are anywhere near a fronton, go and see some jai-alai games.

Just don't bet on the team wearing stripes - those are the referees. See all reviews. Top reviews from other countries. Translate all reviews to English. Verified Purchase. I bought this book on recommendation from an associate who is trying to use it to make a software model for UK Horse Racing. Given that I use a home-brewed software model for myself which used advanced calculus techniques to process all the data points I thought that I would read this book to compare notes and to see if the author has something that we could employ.

Sadly not. The most interesting part of the book is the description of Jai Alai the Basque sport which is played on an overstretched squash court and with baskets on the players' arms to catch and fling the ball back. The description of that sport is brilliant and I learned something new. However, the rest of the book is a disappointment. The author is supposed to be a professor in computer science in New York university.

His opinions nay, rants on various topics concerning computer science don't belong in this book. We want to know how he got his data, how he processed it using what sort of mathematical processing techniques he used. All I seem to have worked out is that the professor of the computer science department is unable to write much in the way of code. His rambling diversions on Obfuscurated C competitions only serve to confuse those who haven't met this stuff before.

I, who have come across this before, just filed this all away as pointless diversions. What I found really dangerous with this book is that professor didn't seem to explain once the theory of probabilities; particularly addressing the very important topic of losing runs.

In one part of the book he described how he staked almost all of his betting bank on night's games. This is no way to run a gaming system. Clearly this man has no idea of how to survive and putting across ideas like this is nothing short of dangerous.

In the end of the book he said that he hit a losing run as will any system statistically and then he turned off the machine. The author has written a hodge-podge of a book. The bits which I am interested were glossed over. Bits which may or may not have been used in his model were introduced. For example, we read about neural networks in a couple of pages. Nowhere did he give the basic and elementary workings of a neural net.

Did he use one? We don't know? What about his mapping techiques for his data? Did he use those, if so how? How did he enumerate the values or ratings of the Jai Alai players to make his selections? This wasn't clear. The bit at the back of the book where he gives a very edited betting diary convinced me one thing; never to try to bet off-course in the USA at all. Thank goodness we in the UK are a little more switched on when it comes to on-line bookmakers and, above all, the book has totally convinced me not to bother to get a post-graduate degree at New York university.

This book isn't a good investment at all. From a punter's perspective, no useful information unless you want to bet on Jai alai, a market that wouldn't take serious action. Ignore the 'computers and mathematical modelling' bit of the strapline - the book is aimed at the layperson, there is nothing for the technician to learn. Like another reviewer, I found the introduction to the sport of jai alai moderately interesting.

Not reads yet but looks like what I anticipated. Report abuse. Der Autor ist Prof. Jai Alai Span. Gleichzeitig findet man aber eine Unzahl von interessanten Ideen. Man kann aus diesem Buch mehr lernen als von vielen gelehrten aber letztendlich blutleeren Abhandlungen. Wie kommt man zu Spieldaten, wie gibt man Wetten durch, wie findet man Bugs Wie ihn Gewinne des Programmes in eine euphorische Stimmung versetzen, Verluste verunsichern und zutiefst deprimieren.

Translate review to English. Steven Skeina, Calculated Bets Cambridge University Press, The first thing you need to know about Calculated Bets is that it is, by far, the most readable book you will ever pick up from Cambridge University Press.

One wonders, in fact, how Skeina got past the stuffiness factor that distinguishes so much academic publishing to get this book released. A distinguished university putting out a book on, for all intents and purposes, building a system to bet jai-alai? And yet, I know it exists, as I have held it in my hands and read it.

And a good read it is, too. Skeina takes a look at what may be America's most overlooked and underrated spectator sport and how he created a computer program to automatically bet on jai-alai that actually beat the game and the book's major failing, in my opinion, is that he didn't get farther into the actual algorithms he used , and uses it as an introduction to jai-alai and an introduction to theoretical programming at the same time.

It's not a book for programming junkies as, as I alluded to, you're not going to get anything even remotely resembling hard code. It's also not really a book for handicapping devotees, because while Skeina does talk briefly about the basics of the stuff he plugged into those algorithms, he's going to leave you to do all the real work. And yet, despite both of these things, I loved this book.

It may just be the novelty of reading something non-fiction from a University press that actually didn't require having a dictionary next to me I should note here that much of what I read from university presses is linguistic and literary theory translated from obscure Eastern European languages, and poetry that might as well have been written in those languages and remains untranslated.

Skeina has produced an enjoyable piece of work that seems almost marketless. That is a shame, because it's a fun book, and well worth reading. Fast, FREE delivery, video streaming, music, and much more. Victor Bunyakovsky promoted the application of probability theory to statistics, actuarial science, and demography. Two of his students were A. Liapounov central limit theorem and A.

Markov, credited with the formulation of enchained probabilities. Tchebychev, Liapounov, and Markov together promulgated use of the vastly significant concept of a random variable. Probability theory was carried into the 20th century by two philosophers, Bertrand Russell and John Maynard Keynes, both of whom worked to establish the discipline as an independent and deep science of great practical importance with its own distinctive methods of investigation.

In his Principia Mathematica , Lord Russell combined formal logic with probability theory. Keynes was a successful gambler who sharply attacked the frequency concept of probability and extended the procedures of inductive inference initiated by Bernoulli and Laplace. In related areas, the work of Vilfredo Pareto contributed to both mathematical economics following Leon Walras and sociology.

Rigorous mathematical developments were supplied by Richard von Mises who, in a paper, introduced the notion of a sample space representing all conceivable outcomes of an experiment the glass to contain the fluid of probability theory. With R. Fisher, von Mises advanced the idea of statistical probability with a definite operational meaning.

It was his intent to replace all the doubtful metaphysics of probability reasoning by sound mathematics. Also in , a mathematical theory of game strategy was first attempted by Borel, who was interested in gambling phenomena and subsequently applied some elementary probability calculations to the game of contract bridge.

Beyond his real achievements, Borel struggled to apply probability theory to social, moral, and ethical concerns, and convinced himself if few others that the human mind cannot imitate chance. This work established analogies between the measure of a set and the probability of an event, between a certain integral and the mathematical expectation, and between the orthogonality of functions and the independence of random variables. Recent contributions to probability theory have become highly complex.

The frontiers of the subject have advanced well beyond the earlier intimacy with games of chance. Kolmogorov and Khintchine, also in the s, were largely responsible for the creation of the theory of stochastic processes. Other outstanding probability theorists—Y.

Lindeberg and William Feller, for example—and contemporary students of the subject now wield such weapons as infinite probability fields, abstract Lebesgue integrals, and Borel sets, in addition to many specialized, esoteric, and formidable concepts applicable in formal analysis of the physical sciences.

Game strategy as a mathematical discipline was firmly anchored by John von Neumann in when, in a creative mathematical paper on the strategy of poker, he proved the minimax principle, the fundamental theorem of game theory. More recently, quantum strategies have been added to the arsenal of game theorists. The player implementing such strategies can increase his expectation over those of a player restricted to classical strategies.

With modern technology we can provide complete solutions to most of the conventional games of chance card games such as Poker and Bridge are excluded because of the Herculean burden of calculations inherent in a realistic model.

Probability theory, statistics, and game-theoretic principles have seeped into population genetics, psychology, biology, cat surgery, weather forecasting, and a host of other disciplines. Mathematicians are closing in on the higher-order abstractions. As Aldous Huxley invented Riemann-Surface Tennis to fill the leisure hours of the denizens of his brave new world, so we might turn to such games as Minkowski Roulette, transfinite-cardinal Bingo, Kaluza Craps, or Quaternion Lotteries to challenge our mathematically inclined gamblers.

The concept of mathematical probability, cultivated in a petri dish of dice, cards, and Chinese puzzles, is now acknowledged as one of the main conceptual structures that distinguish the intellectual culture of modern civilization from that of its precursors. Gamblers can justifiably stand as the godfathers of this realm, having provoked the stimulating interplay of gambling and mathematics.

Yet few gamblers today are sufficiently knowledgeable of probability theory to accept their patrimony. Psychology and the graduated income tax have largely outmoded the grandiose gesture in gambling. Freud not surprisingly suggested a sexual element in gambling, and to emphasize the neurotic appeal, Gamblers Anonymous was organized in California in , proffering sympathy to repentant, obsessive gamblers.

The tax collector, hovering nearby, has discouraged the big winner from proudly publicizing his feat. Bet-a-million Gates and Arnold Rothstein no longer inspire adulation. Most tales of recent great coups likely have been apocryphal. Breaking the bank at Monte Carlo is a euphemism for closing a single gaming table. The ancient and universal practice of mankind has become a modern and universal practice.

Gambling—the desire to engage with destiny and chance—steadfastly reflects the human spirit. David Florence Nightingale. Pathways to Probability. Laplace Pierre Simon, Marquis de. A Philosophic Essay on Probabilities. New York: Dover Publications; ; translated by F. Truscott and F. Arnold, Peirce Charles, S. The Doctrine of Chances.

Popular Science Monthly. Russell Bertrand, Whitehead Alfred North. Principia Mathematica. Cambridge University Press — Todhunter Isaac. A History of the Mathematical Theory of Probability. New York: Chelsea Publishing Co. Asbury Herbert. New York: Dodd, Mead, and Co; Gronovius, Thesaurus Graccarum Antiquitatum , Leyden, — Teubner, — Carruccio Ettore. Mathematics and Logic in History and in Contemporary Thought.

Chicago: Aldine Publishing Co; A Sketch of the History of Probability. Math Ed. New York: Hafner Publishing Co. The first crude life expectancy table was drawn up by Domitius Ulpianus circa. The word probability stems from the Latin probabilis : truth-resembling ; thus the word itself literally invites semantic imprecision. Yet real concepts exist and are applicable in resolving or ordering certain questions.

For our purpose, which is to categorize gambling phenomena, we adopt an operational definition of probability that avoids philosophic implications and Bergsonian vagueness and constrains the area of application. This restricted definition we term rational probability and credit it as the only valid mathematical description of likelihood or uncertainty. Rational probability is concerned only with mass phenomena or repetitive events that are subject to observation or to logical extrapolation from empirical experience.

That is, we must have, either in space or in time, a practically unlimited sequence of uniform observations or we must be able to adapt correlated past experience to the problem for it to merit the attention of rational probability theory. The extension of probability theory to encompass problems in the moral sciences, as ventured in the rampant rationalism of the 18th century, is not deemed invalid, but simply another field of endeavor. The views of de Morgan and Lord Keynes we classify as philosophic probability.

Questions of ethics, conduct, religious suppositions, moral attributes, unverifiable propositions, and the like are, in our assumed context, devoid of meaning. Similarly, fuzzy logic, an offshoot of set theory that deals with degrees of truth, lies outside the domain of gambling theory. Three principal concepts of probability theory have been expressed throughout the sensible history of the subject. First, the classical theory is founded on the indefinable concept of equally likely events.

Second, the limit-of-relative-frequency theory is founded on an observational concept and a mathematical postulate. Third, the logical theory defines probability as the degree of confirmation of an hypothesis with respect to an evidence statement. Our definition of rational probability theory is most consistent with and completed by the concept of a limiting relative frequency.

We then postulate the existence of a limiting value as the number of trials increases indefinitely. The probability of the particular event is defined as. The classical theory considers the mutually exclusive, exhaustive cases, with the probability of an event defined as the ratio of the number of favorable cases to the total number of possible cases. A weakness of this perspective lies in its complete dependence upon a priori analysis—a process feasible only for relatively unsophisticated situations wherein all possibilities can be assessed accurately; more often, various events cannot be assigned a probability a priori.

The logical theory is capable of dealing with certain interesting hypotheses; yet its flexibility is academic and generally irrelevant to the solution of gambling problems. Logical probability, or the degree of confirmation, is not factual, but L -determinate—that is, analytic; an L concept refers to a logical procedure grounded only in the analysis of senses and without the necessity of observations in fact.

Notwithstanding this diversity of thought regarding the philosophical foundations of the theory of probability, there has been almost universal agreement as to its mathematical superstructure. And it is mathematics rather than philosophy or semantic artifacts that we summon to support statistical logic and the theory of gambling. Specifically in relation to gambling phenomena, our interpretation of probability is designed to accommodate the realities of the situation as these realities reflect accumulated experience.

For example, a die has certain properties that can be determined by measurement. These properties include mass, specific heat, electrical resistance, and the probability that the up-face will exhibit a 3. Thus we view probability much as a physicist views mass or energy.

Rational probability is concerned with the empirical relations existing among these types of physical quantities. Mathematics, qua mathematics, is empty of real meaning. It consists merely of a set of statements: if …, then …. As in Euclidean geometry, it is necessary only to establish a set of consistent axioms to qualify probability theory as a rigorous branch of pure mathematics.

Treating probability theory, then, in a geometric sense, each possible outcome of an experiment is considered as the location of a point on a line. Each repetition of the experiment is the coordinate of the point in another dimension. Hence probability is a measure—like the geometric measure of volume. Problems in probability are accordingly treated as a geometric analysis of points in a multidimensional space.

Kolmogorov has been largely responsible for providing this axiomatic basis. Axiom I : To every random event A there corresponds a number P A , referred to as the probability of A , that satisfies the inequality. Now consider an experiment whose outcome is certain or whose outcomes are indistinguishable tossing a two-headed coin. To characterize such an experiment, let E represent the collection of all possible outcomes; thence.

Lastly, we require an axiom that characterizes the nature of mutually exclusive events if a coin is thrown, the outcome Heads excludes the outcome Tails, and vice versa; thus, Heads and Tails are mutually exclusive.

We formulate this axiom as follow:. Axiom III : The theorem of total probability. If events A 1 , A 2 , …, An are mutually exclusive, the probability of the alternative of these events is equal to the sum of their individual probabilities. Axiom III expresses the additive property of probability. It can be extended to include events not mutually exclusive. Generalizing, the probability of occurrence, P 1, of at least one event among n events, A 1 , A 2 , …, An , is given by.

Corollary I : The sum of the probabilities of any event A and is unity. Open navigation menu. Close suggestions Search Search. Skip carousel. Carousel Previous. Carousel Next. What is Scribd? Find your next favorite book Become a member today and read free for 30 days Start your free 30 days. Create a List. Download to App. Length: pages 9 hours. Description 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.

Home Books Card Games. About the author RE. Richard A. Epstein, professor of law at the University of Chicago, is an expert on numerous areas of the law, including property, torts, land use, civil procedure, contract law, workers' compensation, and Roman law. Related authors. Related Categories. Activity Books. Reader and author are equally admonished: Never bet against the future.

Chapter One Kubeiagenesis Shortly after pithecanthropus erectus gained the ascendency, he turned his attention to the higher-order abstractions. Carneades, in the second century B. To phrase it in the vulgate: You can lose your shirt anywhere in the world. References 1. Pearson, Hacking Ian. The Emergence of Probability. Cambridge University Press Kolmogorov, A. Grundbegriffe der Wahrscheinlichkeitsrechnung , Springer, Maistrov Leonid E.

Probability Theory: A Historical Sketch. Academic Press Bibliography 1. Ashton John. The History of Gambling in England. London: Duckworth and Co. Barbeyrac, J. The first crude life expectancy table was drawn up by Domitius Ulpianus circa A. Chapter two Mathematical Preliminaries The Meaning of Probability The word probability stems from the Latin probabilis : truth-resembling ; thus the word itself literally invites semantic imprecision.

The probability of the particular event is defined as The classical theory considers the mutually exclusive, exhaustive cases, with the probability of an event defined as the ratio of the number of favorable cases to the total number of possible cases. The Calculus of Probability Mathematics, qua mathematics, is empty of real meaning. Axioms and Corollaries A random event is an experiment whose outcome is not known a priori.

We can state Axiom I : To every random event A there corresponds a number P A , referred to as the probability of A , that satisfies the inequality Thus the measure of probability is a nonnegative real number in the range 0 to 1. To characterize such an experiment, let E represent the collection of all possible outcomes; thence Axiom II : The probability of the certain event is unity.

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