From the statisticians forecasting sports scores to the intelligent bots beating human poker players, my debut book traces the scientific origins of the world's best gambling strategies. Spanning mathematics, psychology, economics and physics, it reveals the long and tangled history between betting and science, and explains why gambling continues to generate insights into luck and decision-making today.
The Perfect Bet is a tale of scientific creativity, ingenuity and audacity. Along the way, you'll meet the teams behind the betting equivalent of hedge funds; the mathematician who flipped a coin 25,000 times to see if it was fair; the college students who used a lottery loophole to yield huge profits; and the machines that have taught themselves to bluff and manipulate their opponents. You'll also discover how gambling shaped everything from probability to game theory, and chaos theory to artificial intelligence.
The book is being published by Basic Books in the US and by Profile in the UK. Translation rights have also been sold in Brazil, China (simplified and traditional Chinese), Italy, Japan, Korea and Russia. My agent is Peter Tallack at The Science Factory.
"This book is full of magic. It’s brimming with clever people and clever ideas... The links between betting and science run deep and wide, allowing Kucharski to cover some thrilling intellectual territory" —New Scientist
"Elegant and amusing... Anyone planning to enter a casino or place an online bet would be advised to keep this book handy" —Wall Street Journal
"Clever, entertaining and highly disturbing" —The Spectator
"Kucharski navigates the subject in a manner that makes it accessible to everyone... What makes it so readable is the way the stories are told—always with a human angle" —Prospect Magazine
"Kucharski delivers a fascinating read" —Publishers Weekly
"It's both a paean to human ingenuity and a Robin Hood tale" ★ ★ ★ ★ —The Telegraph
"Beautifully written, solidly researched and full of surprises" —New York Times Numberplay
"Replete with stories and examples of fascinating betting facts that often dispel common misconceptions... a comprehensible, up-to-date account of the state of the art." —Times Literary Supplement
"A lucid yet sophisticated look at the mathematics of probability as it's played out on gaming tables, arenas, and fields... Gamblers and math buffs alike will enjoy it for its smart approach to real-world problems" —Kirkus Reviews
"Right from Chapter 1, Kucharski grabs the reader’s attention... I highly recommend this book" —MAA Reviews
My work on the science of gambling has been covered by several media outlets, including interviews with BBC Radio 4, Bloomberg, The Economist, ESPN, ITV This Morning, Metro, Scientific American, The Times and The Washington Post.
How a group of MIT students gamed the Massachusetts State Lottery and won millions https://t.co/KJvj69NMPZ pic.twitter.com/l0aY19NtoR— The Atlantic (@TheAtlantic) February 23, 2016
📺 Lottery expert - more chance of winning Lotto, but also a much higher chance of the jackpot being split. #wato https://t.co/lWRZzfTijp— The World at One (@BBCWorldatOne) January 7, 2016
Three basic mistakes people make at casinos, according to a math experthttps://t.co/6DGP5X2DbW— Washington Post (@washingtonpost) July 17, 2016
How the science of gambling influences everything around us https://t.co/IATs7c0Bqv— The Independent (@Independent) April 30, 2016
How you can use maths to beat the lottery: https://t.co/2vmKrO8CNW #R4in4 pic.twitter.com/iRZlNbzSWV— BBC Radio 4 (@BBCRadio4) August 16, 2016
The Perfect Bet: Taking the Gambling Out of Gambling: Mathematician and author Adam Kucharski talks about his ... https://t.co/6W1ZFsM8ln— Scientific American (@sciam) April 14, 2016
Seven lucky ways that gambling changed maths https://t.co/xzQJ8znaOV— Guardian Science (@guardianscience) May 5, 2016
To make better decisions, try thinking about what will minimise regret https://t.co/22MBp6wRdy pic.twitter.com/Q05pSk2Lzb— New Scientist (@newscientist) August 18, 2016
Where do betting and science overlap? Adam Kucharski Talks "The Perfect Bet" and their long and tangled history https://t.co/OtOyvASUok— Talks at Google (@googletalks) June 21, 2016
The science behind beating the house: https://t.co/CRvnx35Z6C pic.twitter.com/VaWtUSPMNn— The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) March 12, 2016
"Extremely well-written and carefully researched. I highly recommend it."
—Arthur Benjamin, Author of The Magic of Math: Solving for X and Figuring out whY
"Kucharski does a remarkable job of telling the story of how gambling has influenced science and science has influenced gambling. He manages to make it a good read while providing a scholarly underpinning."
—J. Doyne Farmer, Director of the Complexity Economics program at the Institute for New Economic Thinking at the Oxford Martin School
"This book contains so many great stories of how smart people have used maths, statistics and science to try and beat the odds—legally. It almost, but not quite, makes me want to take up gambling."
—David Spiegelhalter, Winton Professor for the Public Understanding of Risk, University of Cambridge
"Adam Kucharski takes us on a wild ride through the history, psychology, mathematics, and technology of gaming—a remarkable look behind the curtain of what most people think is intuitive, but isn’t."
—Paul Offit, author of Bad Faith and Autism’s False Prophets