Over the past few decades, gamblers have begun taking mathematics into account more seriously than ever before. While probability theory is the only rigorous theory that can model the hazards of gambling, even in idealized conditions, numerical probabilities are viewed not only as purely theoretical information, but also as a decision-making criterion, especially in gambling.
This book presents the mathematics underlying games of chance and provides a precise account of the odds associated with all gaming events. It begins by explaining in simple terms the meaning of the concept of probability for the layman and goes on to become an enlightening journey through the mathematics of chance, randomness and risk. It then continues with the basics of discrete probability (definitions, properties, theorems and calculus formulas), combinatorics and counting arguments for those interested in the supporting mathematics. These mathematic sections may be skipped by readers who do not have a minimal background in mathematics; these readers can skip directly to the “Guide to Numerical Results” to pick the odds and recommendations they need for the desired gaming situation. Doing so is possible due to the organization of that chapter, in which the results are listed at the end of each section, mostly in the form of tables.
The chapter titled “The Mathematics of Games of Chance” presents these games not only as a good application field for probability theory, but also in terms of human actions where probability-based strategies can be tried to achieve favorable results. Through suggestive examples, the reader can see what experiments, events and probability fields mean in games of chance and why and how probability formulas can be applied there.
The main portion of this work is a collection of probability results for each type of game. Each game’s section is packed with formulas and tables. Each section also contains a description of the game, a classification of the gaming events and the applicable probability calculations. The primary goal of this work is to allow the reader to quickly find the odds for a specific gaming situation, in order to improve his or her betting/gaming decisions.
Every type of gaming event is tabulated in a logical, consistent and comprehensive manner. The complete methodology and complete or partial calculations are shown to teach players how to calculate probability for any situation, for every stage of the game for any game. Here, readers can find the real odds, returned by precise mathematical formulas and not by partial simulations that most software uses. Collections of odds are presented, as well as strategic recommendations based on those odds, where necessary, for each type of gaming situation.
The book contains much new and original material that has not been published previously and provides great coverage of probabilities for the following games of chance: Dice, Slots, Roulette, Baccarat, Blackjack, Five Card Draw Poker, Texas Hold’em Poker, Lottery and Sport Bets.
No formal background in mathematics is necessary to read these sections, although familiarity with some probability and set theory notions is helpful. In most cases, readers will benefit from having some college math to follow the formulas here, but this is not a requirement because the numerical results are given as summaries and tables at the end of each section.
Most of casino games are predisposed to probability-based decisions. This is why the approach is not an exclusively statistical one (like many other titles published on this subject), but analytical: every gaming event is taken as an individual applied probability problem to solve. A special chapter defines the probability-based strategy and mathematically shows why such strategy is theoretically optimal.