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Mathematics of Games and Gambling

Edward Packel


The first edition of this MAA Classic was reprinted eight times! Read what reviewers had to say:

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

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

This book introduces and develops some of the important and beautiful elementary mathematics needed for rational analysis of various gambling and game activities. Most of the standard casino games (roulette, craps, blackjack, keno), some social games (backgammon, poker, bridge) and various other activities (state lotteries, horse racing, etc.) are treated in ways that bring out their mathematical aspects. The mathematics developed ranges from the predictable concepts of probability, expectation, and binomial coefficients to some less well-known ideas of elementary game theory.

The second edition includes new material on:

  • Sports betting and the mathematics behind it
  • Game theory applied to bluffing in poker and related to the "Texas Holdem phenomenon"
  • The Nash equilibrium concept and its emergence in the popular culture
  • Internet links to games and to Java applets for practice and classroom use.

The only formal mathematics background the reader needs is some facility with high school algebra. Game-related exercises are included at the end of most chapters for readers interested in working with and expanding ideas treated in the text. Solutions to some of the exercises appear at the end of the book.

* As a textbook, Mathematics of Games and Gambling does have DRM. Our DRM protected PDFs can be downloaded to three computers. iOS tablets can open secure PDFs using the AWReader app (available in the App Store). The iOS app uses the native iPad PDF reader so it is a very basic reader, no frills. Linux is not supported at this time for our secure PDFs.

Electronic ISBN: 9780883859438

Mathematics of Games and Gambling $27.50


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