What's discount Luck Got to Do with It?: The sale History, Mathematics, and Psychology of the Gambler's Illusion online

What's discount Luck Got to Do with It?: The sale History, Mathematics, and Psychology of the Gambler's Illusion online

What's discount Luck Got to Do with It?: The sale History, Mathematics, and Psychology of the Gambler's Illusion online
What's discount Luck Got to Do with It?: The sale History, Mathematics, and Psychology of the Gambler's Illusion online__after

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The hazards of feeling lucky in gambling

Why do so many gamblers risk it all when they know the odds of winning are against them? Why do they believe dice are "hot" in a winning streak? Why do we expect heads on a coin toss after several flips have turned up tails? What''s Luck Got to Do with It? takes a lively and eye-opening look at the mathematics, history, and psychology of gambling to reveal the most widely held misconceptions about luck. It exposes the hazards of feeling lucky, and uses the mathematics of predictable outcomes to show when our chances of winning are actually good.

Mathematician Joseph Mazur traces the history of gambling from the earliest known archaeological evidence of dice playing among Neolithic peoples to the first systematic mathematical studies of games of chance during the Renaissance, from government-administered lotteries to the glittering seductions of grand casinos, and on to the global economic crisis brought on by financiers'' trillion-dollar bets. Using plenty of engaging anecdotes, Mazur explains the mathematics behind gambling―including the laws of probability, statistics, betting against expectations, and the law of large numbers―and describes the psychological and emotional factors that entice people to put their faith in winning that ever-elusive jackpot despite its mathematical improbability.

As entertaining as it is informative, What''s Luck Got to Do with It? demonstrates the pervasive nature of our belief in luck and the deceptive psychology of winning and losing.

Review

"From the dice-playing of Neolithic peoples to modern lotteries and casino capitalism, he tracks the history of placing bets. He explains both the mathematics of chance and the psychological and emotional factors that entice some people to risk it all to win that improbable jackpot." ---Joanne Baker, Nature

"In What''s Luck Got to Do With It?, mathematician Joseph Mazur explores these misconceptions, taking the reader on an entertaining and accessible tour of the history of gambling, the way mathematicians quantify luck and the psychology that keeps gamblers returning to the table. A book worth taking a chance on." ― New Scientist

"Doubtless aimed at the interested gambler, the frequent cultural references, anecdotes and intervention of psychology nevertheless make the book appealing reading." ― Times Higher Education

"Both an analysis of the idea of luck, the gambling impulse, and a history of it, stretching back to Neolithic times, the Renaissance (Francis Drake and Ben Johnson often played hazard--an early form of dice) up to the age of one-arm bandits." ---Steven Carroll, The Age

"Because Mazur''s not judgmental about luck and gambling, but is analytical, the book is a winner. It''s not just a mathematician telling us that we''ll never hit a million-dollar jackpot--it''s a mathematician looking at why we continue to hope to hit that jackpot. This book should be required reading for anyone in the casino business, and anyone who spends more than a fraction of their disposable income on gambling should find it informative, if nothing else. It''s a reasoned, but also passionate, search for the meaning of luck that may change the way you look at a pair of dice--or your mortgage." ― dieiscast.com

" What''s Luck Got to Do with It? is an entertaining and informative history of gambling beginning with the Ice Age. . . . Anyone who has an interest in probability will enjoy Mazur''s ideas and insights." ― Mathematics Teacher

"Readers will find many an unexpected treat in Mazur''s exploration of luck, or, as Mazur might say, the likelihood of long runs of desired outcomes within the purview of the law of large numbers." ---Andrew James Simpson, Mathematical Reviews Clippings

"Mazur''s book is appealing to virtually anyone with an interest in the human psyche. It should certainly be given out to anyone arriving for work on their first day on Wall Street. Perhaps it would help to avoid a few more disasters." ---Sam Marsden, Jackpot Gaming Limited,

Review

"Mazur''s book treats luck in a fresh light. The philosophy and emotional aspects (along with a little mathematics) are all there. The reader who delves in will be lucky indeed." ―Persi Diaconis, Stanford University

"Blending math with memoir, probability with psychology, and heuristics with history, Mazur has written an essential book for anyone who wants to get a better idea of why we consistently bet against the odds. From the betting window to Wall Street, he offers insights into both the mechanics of chance and the enduring appeal that luck holds for those who wager every day, whether they call it gambling, speculation, or just hoping for the best. Engaging and illuminating, this is a guaranteed winner." ―David G. Schwartz, director of the Center for Gaming Research at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and author of Roll the Bones: The History of Gambling

"This is a fascinating book. It''s a fresh, funny, philosophical look at gambling by a mathematician who knows what he''s talking about, and who has quite obviously thought about gambling for a long time. Mazur isn''t afraid to make provocative, opinionated statements. I have not seen a gambling book like this before. I think it will attract a lot of readers." ―Paul J. Nahin, author of Digital Dice

"This book is significant in that it offers a lively and diverse collection of gambling-related ideas. Mazur''s robust blend of anecdotes, history, psychology, and mathematics differs from other attempts to discuss these ideas. He offers plenty of insights into the questions and issues he raises." ―Edward Packel, author of The Mathematics of Games and Gambling

From the Inside Flap

"Mazur''s book treats luck in a fresh light. The philosophy and emotional aspects (along with a little mathematics) are all there. The reader who delves in will be lucky indeed."--Persi Diaconis, Stanford University

"Blending math with memoir, probability with psychology, and heuristics with history, Mazur has written an essential book for anyone who wants to get a better idea of why we consistently bet against the odds. From the betting window to Wall Street, he offers insights into both the mechanics of chance and the enduring appeal that luck holds for those who wager every day, whether they call it gambling, speculation, or just hoping for the best. Engaging and illuminating, this is a guaranteed winner."--David G. Schwartz, director of the Center for Gaming Research at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and author ofRoll the Bones: The History of Gambling

"This is a fascinating book. It''s a fresh, funny, philosophical look at gambling by a mathematician who knows what he''s talking about, and who has quite obviously thought about gambling for a long time. Mazur isn''t afraid to make provocative, opinionated statements. I have not seen a gambling book like this before. I think it will attract a lot of readers."--Paul J. Nahin, author ofDigital Dice

"This book is significant in that it offers a lively and diverse collection of gambling-related ideas. Mazur''s robust blend of anecdotes, history, psychology, and mathematics differs from other attempts to discuss these ideas. He offers plenty of insights into the questions and issues he raises."--Edward Packel, author of The Mathematics of Games and Gambling

From the Back Cover

"Mazur''s book treats luck in a fresh light. The philosophy and emotional aspects (along with a little mathematics) are all there. The reader who delves in will be lucky indeed."--Persi Diaconis, Stanford University

"Blending math with memoir, probability with psychology, and heuristics with history, Mazur has written an essential book for anyone who wants to get a better idea of why we consistently bet against the odds. From the betting window to Wall Street, he offers insights into both the mechanics of chance and the enduring appeal that luck holds for those who wager every day, whether they call it gambling, speculation, or just hoping for the best. Engaging and illuminating, this is a guaranteed winner."--David G. Schwartz, director of the Center for Gaming Research at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and author of Roll the Bones: The History of Gambling

"This is a fascinating book. It''s a fresh, funny, philosophical look at gambling by a mathematician who knows what he''s talking about, and who has quite obviously thought about gambling for a long time. Mazur isn''t afraid to make provocative, opinionated statements. I have not seen a gambling book like this before. I think it will attract a lot of readers."--Paul J. Nahin, author of Digital Dice

"This book is significant in that it offers a lively and diverse collection of gambling-related ideas. Mazur''s robust blend of anecdotes, history, psychology, and mathematics differs from other attempts to discuss these ideas. He offers plenty of insights into the questions and issues he raises."--Edward Packel, author of The Mathematics of Games and Gambling

About the Author

Joseph Mazur is professor emeritus of mathematics at Marlboro College. His books include The Motion Paradox: The 2,500-Year-Old Puzzle behind All the Mysteries of Time and Space and Euclid in the Rainforest: Discovering Universal Truth in Logic and Math.

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3.4 out of 53.4 out of 5
17 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

cbuch
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
False advertising
Reviewed in the United States on June 23, 2018
Many books on gambling are written by mathematicians, but most (unlike this author) at least attempt to understand gaming. This book is an attempt to chastise gamblers and does so in a very condescending tone. The math is on point, but mostly useless. Instead of trying to... See more
Many books on gambling are written by mathematicians, but most (unlike this author) at least attempt to understand gaming. This book is an attempt to chastise gamblers and does so in a very condescending tone. The math is on point, but mostly useless. Instead of trying to show gamblers (who are with all certainty going to continue gambling) which games are less terrible play and why (for example why double zero roulette and 6:5 blackjack are so unfair) he just keeps citing fictional tales from Dostoyevsky to illustrate his points on the laws of large numbers which to all but math majors would not comprehend. Further the book claims to discuss the psychology of gaming which is why I bought it, and it falls completely flat. Clearly the author has limited knowledge of the subject. Why is it that most people go to casinos? Certainly there are degenerate gamblers which is quite sad. However most people that regularly frequent casinos hope that they are going to win, know that will lose, and simply don’t care. The buildings (casinos) are generally pretty and clean with friendly staff who interact with gamblers. Where else will lonely people go? Go to a movie alone, there goes two hours to escape your life. Go to a restaurant alone, there goes another hour but who will talk to you beyond espousing the soup du jour? They certainly will not greet you by name and listen to your life story. Simply put, everyone has a vice and for many it is gambling. Some people are addicted to online shopping, or alcohol, or video games, or virtually anything. All trigger the dopamine that we crave. Citing Freud and Dostoyevsky (again, FICTION) is not the best way to confirm your assumptions, especially so long after their deaths. There is some fascinating contemporary work on the subject after all. And to top off the disaster of this book the author throws in political digs on a book that should have absolutely nothing to do with politics. Belief in God is stupid like belief in luck, and Republicans are to blame for all that is wrong in the world. Both of those arguments can be made, but not in a book by a mathematician on gambling. This book is a complete waste of time by a delusional elitist.
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David J. Aldous
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Entertaining snapshots of the psychology of gambling
Reviewed in the United States on November 12, 2010
For being well written, accurate, interesting and entertaining to the general reader this book deserves 5 stars, though I have some idiosyncratic criticisms. As the subtitle suggests, one third concerns history of gambling (including a chapter on the 2008 economic crisis).... See more
For being well written, accurate, interesting and entertaining to the general reader this book deserves 5 stars, though I have some idiosyncratic criticisms. As the subtitle suggests, one third concerns history of gambling (including a chapter on the 2008 economic crisis). The second third concerns basic mathematical probability -- the binomial distribution, normal curve, weak law of large numbers -- as it relates to gambling, plus our general cognitive biases about probability revealed by psychologists and a chapter on odds and expectations in what the author calls the eight standard gambling games. The final third concerns the psychology of gambling, with topics I''ll mention later. The overall style -- interspersed with anecdotes (personal or otherwise), historical episodes and some academic psychology research -- is brisk and, setting aside the mathematics, easy to read.

So what''s not to like? Well, the history and mathematics that are done well in this book have already been done well by many previous authors. Indeed, because of my peculiar hobby of reading all non-technical books relating to probability, I could quickly compose a work broadly similar to the first two-thirds of this book by cutting and pasting sections from existing general-audience books on my shelf. For history see e.g. Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk or Chances Are: Adventures in Probability or a more thorough and sophisticated account, by opinionated free-market economists, in A World of Chance: Betting on Religion, Games, Wall Street . For the basic mathematics of probability see e.g. Struck by Lightning: The Curious World of Probabilities or a somewhat more thorough account in Probabilities: The Little Numbers That Rule Our Lives .

So the only distinctive feature of the book is its final third, on the psychology of gambling, which I have not seen treated extensively in any other general-audience book. It touches upon ideas like recouping losses by doubling up, playing with house money, the "early win hypothesis" and hot hands. It analyzes the behavior of contestants on the Deal or No Deal show. It describes psychological theories of social gambling, problem gambling and pathological gambling. It relates anecdotes, inevitably including Dostoyevsky''s fiction and life.

This final third is interesting and entertaining, as far as it goes, but resembles a series of snapshots. It lacks critical analysis of the material used or systematic development of the thesis statement: "That fantasy of controlling chance -- the overconfident belief in one''s personal luck -- is the gambler''s illusion". So to me it constitutes a missed opportunity to write a more substantial general-audience book on the psychology of gambling.
6 people found this helpful
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Thomas
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Really well explained key concepts
Reviewed in the United States on May 25, 2013
Really well explained key concepts about fundamentals, where I picked up key points. The history section of gambling was nothing new. I have read roll the bones and nothing knew in this case except more concise. Has this guy ever heard of Baye''s though... See more
Really well explained key concepts about fundamentals, where I picked up key points.

The history section of gambling was nothing new. I have read roll the bones and nothing knew in this case except more concise.

Has this guy ever heard of Baye''s though or an even more modern example Nate Silver? Maybe a bit more of a discussion about subjective probability was needed.
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Vegasrebel
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Not bad.
Reviewed in the United States on July 26, 2016
Good book,but written by an academic,so a bit boring.
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Donald Limuti
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
History, Art, Psychology and most of all Insight
Reviewed in the United States on June 2, 2010
My dad had a gambling addiction that I just could not understand. This book gave me key insights into the whys of this with a multi-dimensional tour of the universe of gambling. I opened the book to the index for an initial random look and found Benjamin Franklin,... See more
My dad had a gambling addiction that I just could not understand.
This book gave me key insights into the whys of this with a multi-dimensional tour of the universe of gambling.
I opened the book to the index for an initial random look and found Benjamin Franklin, then on to page 52 to find out he ran a lottery! And George Washington and Thomas Jefferson participated in lotteries. My notion that gambling in the US was something new is now revised.
The book does not avoid mathematics, but the math does not interrupt the history, and psychological insight.
A spectacular tour of the universe through gambling.
PS: The book is physically a coffee table art book with beautiful illustrations.
6 people found this helpful
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K. Humphrey
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
VERY GOOD BOOK ON THE ILLUSIONS OF GAMBLERS
Reviewed in the United States on November 7, 2010
Probability not luck is the rule. The knowledge of the odds is a great understanding of how luck is not personal. To believe otherwise is an illusion. Good passages on how humankind viewed ''being lucky''.
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james hall
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Five Stars
Reviewed in the United States on February 24, 2015
Excellent!
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Kenneth L. Moore
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Three Stars
Reviewed in the United States on November 20, 2014
grate
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Top reviews from other countries

Bum Bara Bum
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
good but with small failings
Reviewed in Germany on September 7, 2011
Interesting read. Too much focus on addiction (to gambling) this spoils the book for me a bit especially the end of it. This and some small misconceptions concerning risk analysis where mathematics alone cannot actually help - especially analysis of low probability but big...See more
Interesting read. Too much focus on addiction (to gambling) this spoils the book for me a bit especially the end of it. This and some small misconceptions concerning risk analysis where mathematics alone cannot actually help - especially analysis of low probability but big impact events is not possible with standard tools. This is the same for nuclear facilities as well as big jackpots. This of course does not mean that one has to play for jackpot etc. I liked the book and I learned few interesting things too. Still the said failings disturb me enough to take two stars away. I do not regret the buy but still was not quite happy about it.
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What's discount Luck Got to Do with It?: The sale History, Mathematics, and Psychology of the Gambler's Illusion online

What's discount Luck Got to Do with It?: The sale History, Mathematics, and Psychology of the Gambler's Illusion online

What's discount Luck Got to Do with It?: The sale History, Mathematics, and Psychology of the Gambler's Illusion online

What's discount Luck Got to Do with It?: The sale History, Mathematics, and Psychology of the Gambler's Illusion online

What's discount Luck Got to Do with It?: The sale History, Mathematics, and Psychology of the Gambler's Illusion online

What's discount Luck Got to Do with It?: The sale History, Mathematics, and Psychology of the Gambler's Illusion online

What's discount Luck Got to Do with It?: The sale History, Mathematics, and Psychology of the Gambler's Illusion online