Title: Calculated Bets: Computers, Gambling, and Mathematical Modeling to Win

Speaker: Steven Skiena Department of Computer Science SUNY Stony Brook, NY 11794-4400 http://www.cs.sunysb.edu/~skiena

This talk describes a system that we have developed using computer simulations and mathematical modeling techniques to predict the outcome of jai-alai matches to bet on them successfully. It is based on my book of the same title, recently published by Cambridge University Press.

Jai-alai is a Basque variation on handball, and it is legal to bet on in Connecticut, Florida, and Rhode Island. The "Spectacular Seven" scoring system used in the United States, creates strong inherent biases in the probability of different outcomes, even if all players are equally skillful.

By coupling Monte Carlo analysis with statistical analysis of player skills and the public's betting patterns, we built a system which increased our initial stake by 544% over a four month period of actual betting.

In the talk, I will introduce the sport of a jai-alai, explain the scoring system, describe the theory underlying our system, and finally report on our experiences putting it to the test.