## What's Luck Got to Do with It?: The History, Mathematics, and Psychology of the Gambler's IllusionWhy do so many gamblers risk it all when they know the odds of winning are against them? Why do they believe dice are "hot" in a winning streak? Why do we expect heads on a coin toss after several flips have turned up tails? Mathematician Joseph Mazur traces the history of gambling from the earliest known archaeological evidence of dice playing among Neolithic peoples to the first systematic mathematical studies of games of chance during the Renaissance, from government-administered lotteries to the glittering seductions of grand casinos, and on to the global economic crisis brought on by financiers' trillion-dollar bets. Using plenty of engaging anecdotes, Mazur explains the mathematics behind gambling--including the laws of probability, statistics, betting against expectations, and the law of large numbers--and describes the psychological and emotional factors that entice people to put their faith in winning that ever-elusive jackpot despite its mathematical improbability. As entertaining as it is informative, Some images inside the book are unavailable due to digital copyright restrictions. |

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### Contents

1 | |

THE MATHEMATICS | 73 |

The Analysis | 155 |

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 |

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What's Luck Got to Do with It?: The History, Mathematics, and Psychology of ... Joseph Mazur No preview available - 2010 |