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Basic Gambling Mathematics: The Numbers Behind The Neon

Basic Gambling Mathematics: The Numbers Behind The Neon [Print Replica] [Kindle Edition]

Mark Bollman

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Product Description

Product Description

This book explains the mathematics involved in analyzing games of chance, including casino games, horse racing, and lotteries. It helps readers understand the mathematical reasons why some gambling games are better for the player than others. Along with discussing the mathematics of well-known casino games, the author examines game variations that have been proposed or used in actual casinos. Numerous examples illustrate the mathematical ideas in a range of casino games while end-of-chapter exercises go beyond routine calculations to give readers hands-on experience with casino-related computations.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 9984 KB
  • Print Length: 284 pages
  • Publisher: Chapman and Hall/CRC; 1 edition (13 Jun 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00L2EBJ76
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #942,392 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Mark Bollman is Professor of Mathematics and Chair of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science at Albion College in Albion, Michigan, USA. In his career, he has taught 99 different courses at 6 different colleges, including all levels of mathematics and statistics as well as courses in physics, computer science, education, general science, chemistry, and geology. Among these 99 are three courses focused on applied probability, including games of chance. Mark and his students have traveled to casinos in Mount Pleasant, Michigan and Las Vegas, Nevada to revisit the origins of their subject and compare theory and practice.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.7 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A thoroughly enjoyable and informative book 16 Aug 2014
By Colin Brown - Published on
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Basic Gambling Mathematics starts off with a very short introduction into the history of gambling and games of chance and very quickly gets started on the mathematic theory behind the games.

It starts off simply enough with basic set theory but quickly gets more complicated with summations, unions, intersects etc. For the most part this is high school level mathematics, which for someone like me who's been out of high school for a number of years and have forgotten most of my math class makes the book a little daunting however Mark Bollman does a wonderful in explaining the symbols and terms used and you quickly start remembering what you learned in school.

The book takes a myriad of casino games and reduces each one the mathematics behind the probability of winning. Games range from well known ones like craps, roulette and blackjack to ones I've never heard of like the ninety percenter punchboard, pai gow poker and sic bo.

Although the book is very math heavy it is not dry and the author keeps you interested throughout with little tidbits of knowledge and history regarding the particular game you are reading about.

Dispersed throughout the book are little exercises for you to perform and calculate which aid greatly in both the understanding of what is being talked about and the calculations themselves. The exercises don't take long to complete.

Although the book doesn't cover every single casino game there, by the end of it you will have enough knowledge and confidence in your abilities that you could extrapolate the game down to its basic mathematical equations for yourself.

This book may not be for everyone but I can see those interested in math and probability and also those with more than a passing curiosity of gambling enjoying it. It does not read like a university thesis like other books on the subject I have previously read.

An enjoyable and informative book.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The odds are you'll like this book 29 Aug 2014
By Margie Read - Published on
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Mathematics has been a lifelong interest and this particular phase, gambling mathematics, is of special interest to a devotee of the subject. While there is no guarantee that it will help win at the casinos, it is beneficial to have some knowledge of the odds and how they fall. The book should be of great interest to students of stats and probability as the author has taught that subject at the college level. And if left about the house, teenagers may come to realize there is more to math than boring word problems. Now what are the odds of that?
5.0 out of 5 stars Textbook on the math of games 21 Sep 2014
By K. Rowley - Published on
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Many years ago, I attempted to develop some programs that were suppose to help with predicting and picking numbers for the local state lottery. Needless to say - those programs were not successful. In fact I would have to say someone just randomly picking numbers would probably had more success than I did with my software.

I wish this book had been available back then, if it had been I would have gladly purchased it. I wish too that when I was in college there had been a course based around this subject/textbook - I would have signed up for it. While this is a book that can be read by the general population, it appears to me to be designed more for use in a classroom (with an instructor to guide students through the math). There are exercises located at the end of each chapter that helps to illustrate and reinforce the concepts presented in the chapters. And helpfully, there is a section in the back of the book that provides answers to the odd number ones. The mathematics covered is not really hard - if you have had some college level math. But even if you haven't - I think most people could still get a lot from reading the non-mathematics portions of the book. The author goes into some detail on the history of the different games of chance, which was something I found fascinating.

The section on lotteries was what drew me to this book, but I enjoyed reading about the other games as well. The chapter that generated the most discussion among my friends was the last one on betting strategies. Everybody seem to have an opinion on that (and a favorite strategy for whatever game they liked to play).

There is a rather extensive index in the back of the book - something that I'm always appreciate of. In reading a book like this, I tend to like to jump around a lot - and having a good index really facilitates doing that. There are also several appendixes and a bibliography in the back of the book - along with the answers to the end-of-chapter exercises I previously mentioned.

I would easily recommend this book to anyone interested in mathematics and gambling.
3.0 out of 5 stars Good if it is what you are looking for... 13 Sep 2014
By M. Hyman - Published on
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This book takes a look at the mathematics of gambling. Each chapters starts with some basic math around statistics. If you haven't ever studied statistics or basics of algebra, you might find this daunting. If you have and have just forgotten such things, then it is a reasonably fast and understandable refresher into sets, series, combinations, permutations, standard deviations and so forth. After a brief section on math, the book looks at various games of chance: blackjack, craps, roulette, poker, pai gow and many others... and explains the math behind them. For example, what games in a casino have the best odds for the player? what strategies should you play against a poker machine? it all boils down to a simple law the author shares -- if you can understand the game easily, the odds are not in your favor. It's an interesting exploration of how to analyze how often you are likely to use with the various casino games and why the casinos set the rules the way they do. You may find it more valuable to skim through the details of each analysis to focus on the end results, or you might want to read through to see how you can derive house odds and hand probabilities yourself.

If you are looking for a guide on how to play blackjack or poker, this isn't for you. It will cover the basics and show you how to think about such things, but you really will want to look for a different book.

Sometimes I found the book went into far more variations than was interesting to me. I wasn't approaching it looking for a math class, so as such, seeing the math for a dozen variations of roulette didn't add anything for me.

Still, an interesting way to get grounded in statistics with some practical problems, and a good way to see why gambling is so good for casinos.

I also like that it points out many of the common fallacies you will see in casinos, such as "its been red five times in a row, i better put money on black".
5.0 out of 5 stars You don't have to be a math genius to enjoy this book 10 Sep 2014
By WryGuy2 - Published on
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Every so often, I like to read something that is off of the beaten path for me. I have to admit that just the title of this book "Basic Gambling Mathematics: The Numbers Behind The Neon" intrigued me. I'm an engineer by education and trade, so I've always been attracted to all things mathematical. And while I've only been to places where I was able to legally gamble a handful of times, I've found the strategies on how to bid/bet for various games to be interesting. So, I was happy to be given the opportunity to read and review this book, if for no other reason than to be able to get a look under the hood, so to speak, on how the various games of chance (as well as racing bets) worked and how to determine the true odds of winning.

The book can be viewed either as an introduction to probability and statistics, perhaps as a college textbook, or something interesting for the layman to read. First off, be aware that there is math at the beginning of the book, math in the middle, and math at the end. The good news is that you've had most of it in high school, and the little that you didn't, the author explains in easy to follow language. The first couple of chapters introduce you to the mathematical definitions and concepts that you'll be seeing, while the rest of the book breaks down odds the various games of chance and discusses strategies on how to maximize your return. Note that this means, with the possible exception of some pay table variations for video poker, you will not win money in the long run, you'll just lose it more slowly. :-)

He shows, via mathematical proofs, that the best possible strategies are often counter-intuitive. Using the just mentioned video poker as an example, oftentimes the best strategy is to turn down a sure payout in hopes of getting a much larger payout. With a five coin-bet, the payout for a flush may be 40 to 1, while the payout for a royal flush may be 4700 to one. If you have, say, the 4, 10, Jack, Queen, and King of hearts, the best strategy is to discard the 4, and hope to draw an Ace of hearts. Although the chances of drawing that Ace is only 1 in 47, because of the much high payout for the Royal Flush, you'll make about triple the money you'd get vice standing pat with the flush, over the long run.

You don't have to delve deeply into the mathematical equations if you don't want to, as you can just allow that the author's results are correct and follow along with the results. If you do want to do the math, he has problems and exercises (and like most textbooks, includes half of the answers) within the book. While there are books out there that go into greater detail on various betting strategies for individual games, this is an outstanding effort that not only gives you the best strategies for a large number of games, and mathematically shows you while they're valid. Five stars.
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