Mathematics in Games, Sports, and Gambling: - The Games People Play

Ronald J. Gould

July 28, 2009 by Chapman and Hall/CRC
Textbook - 374 Pages - 120 B/W Illustrations
ISBN 9781439801635 - CAT# K10099
Series: Textbooks in Mathematics

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  • Presents gaming in mathematics, statistics, and probability as applications
  • Encourages students to think mathematically and apply the fundamentals to real gaming situations
  • Includes real-world examples from sports, games, and gambling situations
  • Explores concepts, such as binomial distributions and combinatorics, through common games and sports, including backgammon, poker, roulette, baseball, football, and hockey
  • Discusses more unusual topics, such as mathematical card tricks and old TV shows
  • Contains many in-class group problems and homework exercises


With an emphasis on mathematical thinking and problem solving, Mathematics in Games, Sports, and Gambling — The Games People Play shows how discrete probability, statistics, and elementary discrete mathematics are used in games, sports, and gambling situations. It draws on numerous examples, questions, and problems to explain the application of mathematical theory to various real-life games.

Only requiring high school algebra, the text offers flexibility in choosing what material to cover in a basic mathematics course. It covers permutations in the two-deck matching game so derangements can be counted, introduces graphs to find matches when looking at extensions of the five-card trick, and studies lexicographic orderings and ideas of encoding for card tricks. The text also explores linear equations and weighted equations in the section on the NFL passer rating formula and presents graphing to show how data can be compared or displayed. For each topic, the author includes exercises based on real games and sports data.