Saturday, April 17, 2004

Lurking undercurrent of gloom

I just finished reading a fantastic book on computer analysis of gambling (and other) markets. The name of the book is Calculated Bets: Computers, Gambling, and Mathematical Modeling to Win by Steven Skiena (amazon link here). This book doesn't merely cover the range of techniques and capture the feel of applying them to a real-world betting situation -- it does so in a way that is fun to read. Parts ring true in a way that is funny and at times even poignant. I particularly liked this partial description of the ambiance at a fronton, a place where people bet on Jai Alai:
The spectators projected the same aura of modest seediness that you will find in any race track or casino. There was just enough light, glitter, and spectacle about the room to ward off the undercurrent of gloom that lurks wherever people are losing money.
So that's why LV's Monte Carlo Casino is so depressing...