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What's Luck Got to Do with It? The History, Mathematics, and Psychology of the Gambler's Illusion

Joseph Mazur
Princeton University Press
Publication Date: 
Number of Pages: 
We do not plan to review this book.

Introduction xi

Part I: The History
Chapter 1. Pits, Pebbles, and Bones
Rolling to Discover Fate 3
Chapter 2. The Professionals
Luck Becomes Measurable 19
Chapter 3. From Coffeehouses to Casinos
Gaming Becomes Big Business 37
Chapter 4. There's No Stopping It Now
From Bans to Bookies 46
Chapter 5. Betting with Trillions
The 2008 World Economic Calamity 58

Part II : The Mathematics
Chapter 6. Who's Got a Royal Flush?
One Deal as Likely as Another 75
Chapter 7. The Behavior of a Coin
Making Predictions with Probability 83
Chapter 8. Someone Has to Win
Betting against Expectation 101
Chapter 9. A Truly Astonishing Result
The Weak Law of Large Numbers 118
Chapter 10. The Skill/Luck Spectrum
Even Great Talent Needs Some Good Fortune 131

Part III : The Analysis
Chapter 11. Let It Ride
The House Money Effect 157
Chapter 12. Knowing When to Quit
Psychomanaging Risk 168
Chapter 13. The Theories
What Makes a Gambler? 182
Chapter 14. Hot Hands
Expecting Long Runs of the Same Outcome 202
Chapter 15. Luck
The Dicey Illusion 209

Acknowledgments 217
Appendix A. Descriptions of the Games Used in This Book 219
Appendix B. Glossary of Gambling Terms Used in This Book 224
Appendix C. The Weak Law of Large Numbers 227
Appendix D. Glossary of Mathematical Definitions 229
Appendix E. Callouts 236
Notes 249
Further Reading 265
Index 267