Gambling Games: Can investors learn anything useful? Definitely…

By | April 14, 2007

Ever fancied visiting a casino? I did. In Macao. My first recollection of that was how unglamorous it was, as the room was quite smoky. But for most Chinese on the mainland, Macao represents a glitzy, thrilling trip of a lifetime, where gambling is permitted, and Stanley Ho opens his doors to all! But it is just not as glamorous as Vegas or exciting as Atlantic City. After a childhood experience where I gambled $1 and lost it all, I have eschewed gambling for most of my life. That’s not to say, I don’t play gambling games: I play Backgammon, Blackjack, and one or two dice games, but mostly, I play for the thrills of the game.

So I was intrigued by Executive Gaming Monthly which offers an interesting service called game of the month club that allows you to receive a regular game in the welcome roulette

If only they could ship to me, I’d likely order the Player Level Game of the Month Club for myself and my friends. It’s been quite rainy here since Chinese New Year, so it’s like the best time of year to play these kinds of games – you just don’t have to go outside! I’d go for Roulette, Blackjack, and Poker Mania packages, principally because I am most familiar with these games from movies on TV!roulette p 700

Actually, I think games like these really can help investors hone vital skills. With Roulette, it’s analyzing the probabilities of certain throws of the dice and having an understanding of the concept of ‘house odds’. For those with a mathematical bent, it’s not surprising that roulette is popular as it was invented by a French mathematician called Blaise Pascal. It has since been tweaked several times to increase ‘house odds’, thereby giving gamblers less of an edge. Naturally, the mechanical system that is used in Roulette has attracted a number of researchers who studied the mechanics to predict results (and won!), most notably Joseph Jagger and Claude Elwood Shannon! It’s amazing how the “King of Casino Games” also attracts the some very creative and intelligent individuals. blackjack-basic

BlackjackBlackjack was invented after another American variation of a payout. It represents the hand played in the image (below). I’ve always enjoyed playing Blackjack, but then I never played with any strategy at hand. It seems that there are a number of ‘ways’ to help increase the odds of winning at Blackjack, but the most useful for beginners involves ‘basic strategy’ (see the other image for more information). Naturally this helps to reduce ‘house odds’.

So, for investors everywhere, gambling games have discrete values and skills that can benefit investors: an awareness of ‘house odds’, assessing your probabilities, and finding appropriate strategies. In gambling, effective decision making requires the ability to use ‘incomplete information’ and still come out ahead.

Do comment this posting! I’m interested to read more about what others have to say.

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