**I**t came as a surprise to me that the book reviewed in the book review section of Nature of 25 June was a personal account of a professional poker player, The Biggest Bluff by Maria Konnikova. (Surprise enough to write a blog entry!) As I see very little scientific impetus in studying the psychology of poker players and the associated decision making. Obviously, *this is not a book review*, but a review of the book review. (Although the NYT published a rather extensive extract of the book, from which I cannot detect anything deep from a game-theory viewpoint. Apart from the maybe-not-so-deep message that psychology matters a lot in poker…) Which does not bring much incentive for those uninterested (or worse) in money games like poker. Even when “a heap of Bayesian model-building [is] thrown in”, as the review mixes randomness and luck, while seeing the book as teaching the reader “how to play the game of life”, a type of self-improvement vending line one hardly expects to read in a scientific journal. (But again I have never understood the point in playing poker…)

## Archive for betting

## the biggest bluff [not a book review]

Posted in Books with tags book review, decision theory, Nature, CHANCE, poker, NYT, psychology, data, betting, game theory, game, not a book review on August 14, 2020 by xi'an## a hatchet job [book review]

Posted in Books, Statistics, University life with tags Bayes theorem, Bayesian statistics, betting, book review, Bruce Hill, Bruno de Finetti, JASA, John Hartigan, Likelihood Principle on July 20, 2019 by xi'an**B**y happenstance, I came across a rather savage review of John Hartigan’s Bayes Theory (1984) written by Bruce Hill in HASA, including the following slivers:

“By and large this book is at its best in developing the mathematical consequences of the theory and at its worst when dealing with the underlying ideas and concepts, which seems unfortunate since Bayesian statistics is above all an attempt to deal realistically with the nature of uncertainty and decision making.” B. Hill, JASA, 1986, p.569

“Unfortunately, those who had hoped for a serious contribution to the question will be disappointed.” B. Hill, JASA, 1986, p.569

“If the primary concern is mathematical convenience, not content or meaning, then the enterprise is a very different matter from what most of us think of as Bayesian approach.” B. Hill, JASA, 1986, p.570

“Perhaps in a century or two statisticians and probabilists will reach a similar state of maturity.” B. Hill, JASA, 1986, p.570“

Perhaps this is a good place to mention that the notation in the book is formidable. Bayes’s theorem appears in a form that is almost unrecognizable. As elsewhere, the mathematical treatment is elegant. but none of the deeper issues about the meaning and interpretation of conditional probability is discussed.” B. Hill, JASA, 1986, p.570

“The reader will find many intriguing ideas, much that is outrageous, and even some surprises (the likelihood principle is not mentioned, and conditional inference is just barely mentioned).” B. Hill, JASA, 1986, p.571

“What is disappointing to me is that with a little more discipline and effort with regard to the ideas underlying Bayesian statistics, this book could have been a major contribution to the theory.” B. Hill, JASA, 1986, p.571

Another review by William Sudderth (1985, Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society) is much kinder to the book, except for the complaint that “the pace is brisk and sometimes hard to follow”.

## 61% above average!

Posted in Books, pictures with tags addiction, betting, England, gambling, The Guardian, UK on March 14, 2016 by xi'an

“The study, which uses gambling commission data, reveals that 61% of Paddy Power’s 349 betting shops are located in areas with above average levels of non-UK born population.”The Guardian, March 06, 2016

Uh… Is it significant?! But a deeper reading of The Guardian article reveals that the “percentage share of operator’s shops that are located in the 40 UK authorities with the highest percentage minority ethnic populations” is 61%, which is definitely not the same thing as the above. As there are apparently 353 principal authorities for England alone. Another journalistic shortcut… (Incidentally, the 349 in the quote does not connect with the 353 authorities.)