Contrary to popular belief, luck plays an even bigger role than you might think. In fact, the science behind many casino games has had a profound effect on statistics, probability theory and even game theory itself.

In this captivating audiobook, mathematician Adam Kucharski reveals how gambling inspired some of science’s foundational ideas. He also delves into the psychological and emotional factors that tempt us to gamble despite its mathematical inevitability.

Game theory

Game theory is the study of how competitive strategies and participant actions can shape an event’s outcome. It has applications across various fields, such as business and economics.

Game theory in the business world helps companies explain how they can effectively collaborate and market their products. It may also be utilized to assess how competitors respond to price changes or other strategic moves.

Game theory holds that players in a game are utility-maximizing rational actors who understand the rules and potential outcomes. They have the freedom to act in their own best interest, but sometimes this can lead to worse outcomes than if everyone had cooperated.

This concept, commonly referred to as the prisoner’s dilemma, is a popular strategy in game theory that involves two individuals acting in their own self-interests and can have disastrous outcomes.


Probability is a mathematical concept used to estimate how likely an event will take place. It plays an integral role in professional decision-making processes such as creating sales forecasts or crafting strategic marketing plans.

Luck and chance in gambling have been studied since the 17th century, when mathematicians began exploring games of chance like dice or cards. This interest in probability theory eventually led to the invention of probability theory itself.

Four distinct types of probability exist, each describing an event with different odds. Classical probability describes events where all outcomes are equal.


Many people have their own superstitions, often drawn from cultural traditions or personal experiences. These could include wearing certain clothes, carrying charms or visiting places associated with good luck.

Superstitions can be harmless or detrimental, depending on their level of irrationality. If your behavior or thoughts seem to be driven by superstition, seek professional help from a mental health professional for guidance.

Superstitions in gambling can be used as a way of creating the illusion of control. For instance, poker players may cover their cards with an auspicious token or take the same route to the casino every day.

Although some superstitions may be harmless, others can be irrational and indicative of an underlying medical or mental health issue. If you’re struggling with symptoms like anxiety, depression or avoidance behavior related to your superstitions, seek assistance immediately.


Risk is the potential outcome of an event or occurrence that could have either a positive or negative effect on a company, project, product, or process. It plays an integral role in business operations and is typically measured in monetary terms – the amount lost if something goes awry.

Businesses and organizations attempt to minimize risks by assessing them, recognizing their potential repercussions, and then managing them according to business objectives. This approach has become widely adopted across various industries such as health and safety, finance, and environmental protection.

Risk can be expressed in several ways, including the probability of occurrence and frequency of loss/damage. It’s also possible to express value volatility through standard deviation.

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