What are the odds against winning the Lottery, making money in a casino, or backing the right horse? Every day, people make judgements on these matters and face other decisions that rest on their understanding of probability: buying insurance, following medical advice, carrying an umbrella. Yet many of us have a frightening ignorance of how probability works. Taking Chances presents an entertaining and fascinating exploration of probability, revealing traps and fallacies in the field. It describes and analyses a remarkable variety of situations where chance plays a role, including football pools, the Lottery, TV games, sport, cards, roulette, coins, and dice. The book guides the reader round common pitfalls, demonstrates how to make better informed decisions, and shows where the odds can be unexpectedly in your favour. This new edition has been fully updated, and includes information on "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" and "The Weakest Link", plus a new chapter on Probability for Lawyers.
John Haigh is Reader in Statistics at the University of Sussex. His interest in probability was awakened by various card games, and he has made a particular study of lotteries, cards, and dice.
1. What is probability? ; 2. Lotteries ; 3. Football Pools, Premium Bonds ; 4. One coin, many games ; 5. Dice ; 6. Games with few choices ; 7. Waiting, waiting, waiting ; 8. Let's play best of three ; 9. TV games ; 10. Casino games ; 11. Bookies, the Tote, spread betting ; 12. This sporting life ; 13. Lucky for some-miscellenea ; 14. Probability for lawyers ; Appendix I: Counting ; Appendix II: Probability ; Appendix III: Averages and variability ; Appendix IV: Goodness-of-fit tests ; Appendix V: The Kelly strategy ; Solutions to Test Yourself quizzes ; Literature cited ; Index