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Calculated Bets describes a gambling system that works. Steven Skiena, a jai-alai enthusiast and computer scientist, documents how he used computer simulations and modeling techniques to predict the outcome of jai-alai matches and increased his initial stake by 544% in one year. Skiena demonstrates how his jai-alai system functions like a stock trading system, and includes examples of how gambling and mathematics interact in program trading systems, how mathematical models are used in political polling, and what the future holds for Internet gambling. With humor and enthusiasm, Skiena explains computer predictions used in business, sports, and politics, and the difference between correlation and causation. An unusual presentation of how mathematical models are designed, built, and validated, Calculated Bets also includes a list of modeling projects with online data sources. Steven Skiena, Associate Professor of Computer Science at SUNY Stony Brook, is the author of The Algorithm Design Manual (Springer-Verlag, 1997) and the EDUCOM award-winning Computational Discrete Mathematics. He is the recipient of the ONR Young Investigator's Award and the Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching at Stony Brook. His research interests include discrete mathematics and its applications, particularly the design of graph, string, and geometric algorithms.
Preface; Acknowledgements; 1. The making of a gambler; 2. What is Jai Alai?; 3. Monte Carlo on the Tundra; 4. The impact of the internet; 5. Is this bum any good?; 6. Modeling the payoffs; 7. Engineering the system; 8. Putting my money where my mouth is; 9. How should you bet?; 10. Projects to ponder; Glossary; For further reading; Index.
Posted September 4, 2002
As usual, the marketing people lure you into the book with promises that the book just doesn't deliver on. There is very little substance in this book except some specific information regarding Jai Lai. For my critics, I would point out that while I understand Dr. Skiena has a passion for Jai Lai, the title of the book is "Calculated Bets - Computers, gambling, and mathematical modeling to win". All of the specific information in this book relate specifically to Jai Lai, most of which is not applicable to any other gambling topic, or prediction system in general. I found his recount of the experience entertaining, however Dr. Skiena does like to drift off on tangents such as "why all programmers hate Micro$oft", which is one of his ramblings which has little to do with the subject matter. There are a few nuggets in the book, but you have to search DEEP to find them. Read this book if you want to be entertained (a little), but if you're looking for specific application ideas, you're better off to continue to search elsewhere.
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