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Publisher's Summary

Bringing together ideas from mathematics, psychology, economics, and physics, The Perfect Bet traces the origins of successful betting methods.

From the simple to the intricate and the audacious to the absurd, Adam Kucharski reveals the long and tangled history between betting and science and explains why gambling continues to generate insights into luck and decision making today. Covering exploits and ideas from across the globe, he meets the teams behind hedge funds that capitalize on inaccurate sports betting odds and explains how PhD-level pundits are using methods originally developed for the US nuclear program to predict sports results.

Kucharski reveals why winning at chess depends on luck - but victory in checkers does not - and why poker is one of the ultimate challenges for artificial intelligence. He also explores the difficulties of mimicking human behavior and explains what caused one hedge fund's rogue algorithm to lose them $400,000 per second in the summer of 2012.

©2016 Adam Kucharski. Recorded by arrangement with Basic Books, a member of the Perseus Books Group. (P)2016 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Philo
  • San Diego, CA, United States
  • 04-02-16

Nontechnical, wandering far beyond "gaming"

This book is a sort of meandering introduction to many concepts in probability and some related maths and applications. It is only at turns about gambling, per se. It is written to be readable and entertaining and listenable (though the narrator's voice is a bit much on the "gee whiz," "oh shucks," "howdy doody" kind of 1950s tones). Sometimes it might seem unsure of what its own overall topic is, or pivot from one subject or vignette to the next inexplicably, but this is not bad, as a sort of broad intro to Claude Shannon, Ed Thorpe, and many other thinkers and tinkerers who have themselves meandered across the boundaries of probability, info theory, gambling and sometimes finance. Many concepts spanning across these areas are introduced and given simple, understandable definitions and story-based introductions, with no math rigor alongside it. (So, there are no worries about awkwardness in the audio format, as there might be with equations, etc.) But is is useful for getting at least a popularized sense of what these concepts are, and a path linking the thinkers and concepts together across time. Each of the more technical threads can be followed elsewhere.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A great story spoiled

This is a great story of the role of science in gambling and vice versa. The narrator however, had an annoying habit of trying to imitate accents which distracted from the narrative.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Good story, very superficial

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

I will recommend this book to someone that likes the gambling subject. it tells some stories and explain that it is possible to beat some games with skills or technology.

What did you like best about this story?

All about horseracing in Hongkong and poker bots.

Any additional comments?

It is an interesting book to understand that luck is not always luck!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

breaks down lots of types of gambling

Very well written and lots of good information and perspectives .
A lot of information Regarding sports betting

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great book with interesting points of view

This is a great book for everyone who wants to learn more about the right way to approach sports betting and gambling. Very inspiring and informative read. Highly recommend it!

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Todd
  • Muskego, WI, United States
  • 11-23-16

Not much groundbreaking here

If you are looking for a very high level survey of various betting related topics (handicapping, botting/AI, game theory, the role of chance,etc) you might enjoy this. If you are looking for more meat I'd recommend scorecasting, fooled by randomness, or perhaps a Ben Mezrich book.

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    4 out of 5 stars

Great Narrative

The book has a very great way of telling you how scientific betting has evolved and become the standard today.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

just rehash of all recent books I read

nothing really new. I read all the stories in this book from one book or magazines or another.