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Description de l’éditeur
Gamblers have been trying to figure out how to game the system since our ancestors first made wagers over dice fashioned from knucklebones: in revolutionary Paris, the 'martingale' strategy was rumoured to lead to foolproof success at roulette ; today, professional gamblers are using cutting-edge techniques to tilt the odds in their favour. Science is giving us the competitive edge over opponents, casinos and bookmakers. But is there such a thing as a perfect bet?
The Perfect Bet looks beyond probability and statistics to examine how wagers have inspired a plethora of new disciplines - spanning chaos theory, machine learning and game theory - which are not just revolutionising gambling, but changing our fundamental notions about chance, randomness and luck.
Explaining why poker is gaming's last bastion of human superiority over AI, how methods originally developed for the US nuclear programme are helping pundits predict sports results and why a new breed of algorithms are losing banks millions, The Perfect Bet has the inside track on any wager you'd care to place.
On first blush, Kucharski, a lecturer at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, would seem out of his comfort zone with this detailed exploration of how mathematics and physics operate in the world of gambling. However, he makes clear that the principles of mathematical modeling the ways myriad variables can be used to predict outcomes can be profitably transferred to the world of games of chance. Kucharski begins with a brief history of failed searches for the gambler's holy grail, which would be an infallible system, and then delves into modern mathematically based strategies that can shift the odds in the bettor's favor. Among the strategies he deconstructs are card counting, the calculation of the physics of a roulette wheel's spin, online poker-playing bots, and the ultrasophisticated algorithms employed to handicap horse races, soccer, and football. Kucharski's straightforward writing and attention to the fundamentals of the business of gambling, and the quirky personalities of the players who craft the strategies, successfully balance the drier descriptions of the underlying mathematics. The conjunction of the multibillion dollar gambling industry and mathematics brings together Ph.D.s, Las Vegas gamblers, and investment bankers, and though readers looking for an edge might be disappointed, Kucharski delivers a fascinating read.