Published in April 2016 issue of Prospect Magazine
Many of us enjoy a flutter every now and then. It was estimated that more than £200m was staked on last year’s Grand National, and football lovers regularly place bets to add to the excitement of watching the sport. The lure, of course, is the possibility of winning big—but is there a way to guarantee success? And what is the impact of mathematical and scientific principles on betting?
These are some of the questions that Adam Kucharski tries to answer in his new book, The Perfect Bet. It would be easy to get bogged down in the complexity of the subject matter, but Kucharski, a lecturer in mathematical modelling at the School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine in London, navigates the subject in a manner that makes it accessible to everyone, as he explains that gamblers have tried to use the principles of game theory and probability to give them an edge when they visit casinos—with varying levels of success.