The Perfect Bet
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 the roulette table; now, in the 21st century, professional gamblers are using cutting-edge techniques to tilt the odds further in their favour. At the roulette wheel, card table or racecourse, 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, behavioural psychology, 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 artificial intelligence, how methods originally developed for the US nuclear programme are helping pundits predict sports results and how a new breed of algorithms are managing to lose banks and asset traders millions, The Perfect Bet has the inside track on just about any wager you'd care to place.
A guide to how the world's smartest gamblers are using science to take on the house - and win.
Adam Kucharski is a lecturer in mathematical modelling at the London School of Hygiene Tropical Medicine and an award-winning science writer. Born in 1986, he studied at the University of Warwick before completing a PhD in mathematics at the University of Cambridge. He has published papers on topics ranging from statistics to social behaviour, and has worked on disease forecasting for avian influenza and Ebola. Winner of the 2012 Wellcome Trust Science Writing Prize, his popular science articles have appeared in the Observer, BBC Focus and Scientific American. He lives in London.