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.
'A well told story ... [the author] really knows his stuff. I couldn't put it down. The informal style is terrific; we should have more books written this way ... Skiena really knows how to teach.' Persi Diaconis, Stanford University 'The book is easy to follow and provides insight to the beginning student of gambling games.' William T. Ziemba, University of British Columbia 'This funny and utterly compelling book is the story of how Skiena and his students constructed an embarrassingly successful computer program called Maven.' Tony Jones, New Scientist 'The book teaches with humor and enthusiasm how to use statistical data and analyze them, how to use computers for processing data, how to create mathematical models that fit your problem, and many other interesting things.' Zentralblatt fur Mathematik und ihre Grenzgebiete Mathematics Abstracts 'This interesting book is about a gambling system that works. His methods can work for anyone; at the end of the book the author describes the best way to bet on jai alai. The book will be surely of interest not only for the fun of jai alai, but also for all those who would like to learn about the program trading systems, the future of internet gambling, how mathematical methods are used in political polling, what is the difference between the correlation and causality, and so on. If you are interested in gambling and mathematics, the odds are that this is a book for you!' EMS 'Interspersed with this account are many valuable digressions which make the book a very good general introduction to the ideas of modelling and simulation, enlivened by the highly practical example which forms its core. Skiena writes with wit, clarity and enthusiasm, and his story is an enthralling one. No matter if (like me) you have never heard of Jai Alai before, or never bet on a horse or bought a lottery ticket in your life, the reader identifies with Skiena's quest, and shares vicariously in his success.' The Mathematical Gazette 'Stephen Skiena has a rare gift: ... Charmingly self-depreciative, Skiena suggests early on in Calculated Bets he's just a 'mild mannered professor', noting that 'part of the fun' of the title 'is the spectacle of a second-rate mind wasting itself on jai alai'... Concerns for the future of gambling aside, Calculated Bets is an eloquent exercise in prose and effortlessly teaches the less mathematically minded amongst us how computing can be innovative and interesting. It also offers a unique tale of how one man, along with the help of a few friends, can get to grips with betting and beat the bookmakers. It's for these reasons and so many more that we strongly recommend Calculated Bets.' www.casinoonline.co.uk