9780198526636 / 0198526636

Taking Chances: Winning with Probability


Publisher:Oxford University Press, USA



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About the book:

Most of us enjoy pleasant surprises and know that many of life's greatest rewards are obtained by taking chances. This is true whether we are playing the National Lottery or deciding whether or not to buy flowers when we are unsure if it might be our girlfriend's birthday. So if you enjoy taking chances, and winning--and it's a safe bet that you do--this book helps you do so in a more intelligent way.

John Haigh is Reader in Mathematics at Sussex University and his book covers a remarkably large number of topics. He tells you how to take chances playing the football pools and about the role of chance in sports such as tennis, golf, cricket and soccer. What points in tennis are most important? If a footballer gets a yellow card in 10 percent of games and is suspended for one game whenever he has accumulated two yellow cards, how often is he suspended? What is the chance that a team that scores the first goal goes on to win? He also writes about casino games, bridge and Monopoly, explaining why orange is the best colour of Monopoly property to own.

The book is practical rather than theoretical. It is written for anyone with a curious mind, aged perhaps 16 and up. It is not a textbook, but introduces concepts, such as random walk and game theory, that are familiar to professional mathematicians. There are technical appendices and test-yourself-quizzes for readers who want to explore more. A bonus is advice on the National Lotteries. Haig will help you choose UK National Lottery numbers that are more likely to give you a large prize. However, with typical vividness, he cautions that if the Lottery had begun with the ancient druids, and your ancestors had bought 50 tickets every week for the last 5000 years, then by now your family could expect to have won the jackpot just once! --Richard Weber

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