The Theory of Gambling and Statistical Logic, Revised Edition / Edition 2 available in Paperback
- Pub. Date:
- Elsevier Science
Richard Espstein's classic book on gambling and its mathematical analysis covers the full range of games from penny matching, to blackjack and other casino games, to the stock market (including Black-Scholes analysis). Epstein is witty and insightful, a pleasure to dip into and read and rewarding to study.
|Product dimensions:||6.04(w) x 9.04(h) x 0.86(d)|
Table of Contents
Preface to Revised Edition. Preface to First Edition. Kubeiagenesis. Mathematical Preliminaries. The Meaning of Probability. The Calculus of Probability. Statistics. Game Theory. Fundamental Principles of a Theory of Gambling. Decision Making and Utility. The Basic Theorems. Coins, Wheels, and Oddments. Biased Coins. Statistical Properties of Coins. Coin Matching. Coin Games. Diverse Recreations. Casino Games. Problems. Coups and Games With Dice. ABrief Chronicle. Detection of Bias. Probability Problems With Dice. Formal Dice Games. Casino Games. Related Games. Dice Divertissments. The Play of the Cards. Origins and Species. Randomness and Shuffling. Card Probabilities. Simple Card Games. Matching Problems. Formal Card Games. Casino Games. Card Games With Skill. Poker Problems. Blackjack. Memorabilia. Rules. Pertinent Mathematics. Optimal Strategies. Possible Improvements. Blackjack Variations. Contract Bridge. The Family Tree. Assumption. Distributional Probabilities. Residual Probabilities. Evaluation Systems. Bidding. The Play. Expectations. Bridge-Playing Computers. Bridge Mutants. Weighted Statistical Logic and Statistical Games. Strategic Selection. Horse Racing. TheStock Market. War Games. Games With Information Lag. Hide-and-seek Games. Dueling. Miscellaneous Statistical Games. Inquizition. Games of Pure Skill and Competitive Computers. Games of Pure Skill. Computer Programs for Board Games. Two Board Problems. Fallacies and Sophistries. Psychology and Psilosophy. Paranormal Phenomena. Epilogue. Appendix Tables. Author Index. Subject Index.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Some parts are interesting, and the writing can be entertaining, but the book is short on insight and clarity and long on tedious tables and uninterpreted computations. Buy this if you already know probability and would like to see -some- applications and cute games. Don't buy it if you want insight into particular games; especially, the blackjack and bridge sections (and meager poker section) have virtually no value. I am a graduate student in mathematics, and enjoy probability theory and games: I should be the ideal audience. The math is no problem for me, but much is boring, and much time is spent writing huge tables without giving much insight. Research articles in statistics are easier to read, and far more informative. The math background is awful: if you don't already know it, don't learn it here. [Instead, see 'The Cartoon Guide to Statistics', or Feller's 'Intro to Probability'] The writing is willfully obscure and florid (though, admittedly, entertaining): gymkhana, panjandrum, kubiagenesis? My main objection is the lack of insight: the author does (mostly) correct computations and statements but seldom shows much depth of understanding and rarely conveys any to the reader. Rather than answering questions or giving examples that convey the meaning of the theory, how it lets you understand questions, Epstein does many unillustrative examples. This book won't teach you to understand games and gambling, which it could do, and should do. At best, it provides a basis from which you can (after too much work) begin to understand games. This is not because the subject is that hard (at least not what Epstein covers) -- it's because the material is undigested and Epstein is a poor expositor. If you want to get something out of this book, be prepared to do the work that Epstein hasn't, and to look at more modern and insightful references. Here's an example: how many times do you need to shuffle a deck before it's essentially random? Very natural question, of big interest in gambling. Epstein gives a very slick argument, one of the gems of the book (measure entropy of a shuffle) that you need at least 5 shuffles -- but beyond that just writes some equations for 2 shuffles of a 4-card deck and says that a computer would help, and instead tabulates that 18 perfect shuffles of a 58-card deck return it to the original state. The rest of the book is like this: some question begging for study, perhaps a gem, and then irrelevant and pedantic computations and tables. There are gems in here (it's a grab-bag), and the writing is often amusing, but it's a frustrating read: it could be so much better.