This book would be an ideal text for what would no doubt be a popular special topics course in game theory applied to gambling. While gambling has always been a popular recreation among humans, it is now probably more popular than ever. With state sponsored lotteries now almost universal, new gambling casinos being built everywhere and the rise of internet gambling, it is now easier than ever to do battle with the odds as declared by the gambling gods. Although the chances of winning the battle rarely change. When I was a math professor decades ago, being asked a question about gambling was a regular event. Packel begins with a discussion of the basics of probabilities and mathematical expectation, explanations of the basics of counting and then analyzes some familiar games such as backgammon, craps and chuck-a-luck. The coverage then moves on to elementary game theory as expressed in zero-sum games and the now classic prisoner's dilemma situation. The explanations are detailed and complete, exercises appear at the ends of the chapters and solutions to some of them are included in an appendix. Game theory may be unique in that it is a topic that people find interesting and the mathematics is not very difficult. With a bit of explanation, relative novices can understand it. Therefore, this book falls into an unusual niche, it is a book containing mathematics and mathematical formulas that can be considered popular mathematics. A lot of people would be a lot wealthier if they read material like this before they spent their gambling dollars.
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Charles Ashbacher (CharlesAshbacher)
Charlie Ashbacher is a compulsive reader and writer about many subjects. His prime areas of expertise are in mathematics and computers where he has taught every course in the mathematics and computer … more
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Review of first edition: 'The whole book is written with great urbanity and clarity. It is hard to see how it could be done better or more readably. The main virtue lies in the close and clever interweaving of theory and example.' Mathematical Gazette<br /><br />Review of first edition: This is an informal, well-written, and witty exposition of the usefulness of mathematics and its analytical processes. The book covers gambling and betting schemes in math in greater detail than do most textbooks on introductory probability. --The Mathematics Teacher
High school students will find this book a good preparion for doing an elementary statistics and probability course at university level. This book is also a good resource for first year university students, in particular in mathematics and statistics, to understand the theories behind the games. --Boris Choy, The Australian Math Teacher