About three million Basques live in their green and beautiful homeland in the Pyrenees Mountains. The land of the Basques (called Eskual Herria in the Basque language) straddles the border of France and Spain, comprising three French and four Spanish provinces. The Basques are a distinctive people with several unique characteristics:
Legend states the Devil tried to learn Basque by listening behind the door of a Basque farmhouse. After seven years, he mastered only two words: ``Yes, Ma'am.'' This, say the Basques, is a tribute to their women as well as the difficulty of their tongue.
The Basque love of freedom continues today. For over thirty years, the terrorist group ETA (Euskadi ta Askatasuna, translated as Basque Homeland and Liberty) has been fighting Spain to win the independence of the Basque region, and killing some 800 people in the process. More recently, the spectacular new Guggenheim museum in Bilbao has put the Basque region on the map for something other than jai-alai or terrorist activities.
Indeed, the Basque region of Spain and France is a terrific place to spend a vacation. A one-week trip could combine the unique architecture of Bilbao with the spectacular beaches of San Sebastian. You can drive winding cliff roads along an unspoiled rocky coast, stopping to eat fresh seafood and tapas, the little plates of savory appetizers which have spread throughout Spain but originated in the Basque country. You can stop in nearby Pamplona to see the running of the bulls, made famous by Hemingway. And, of course, you can watch the finest jai-alai in the world.
I hope you have enjoyed this excerpt from
Calculated Bets: Computers, Gambling, and Mathematical Modeling to
Win!, by Steven Skiena,
Cambridge University Press
Mathematical Association of America.
This is a book about a gambling system that works. It tells the story of how the author used computer simulation and mathematical modeling techniques to predict the outcome of jai-alai matches and bet on them successfully -- increasing his initial stake by over 500% in one year! His method can work for anyone: at the end of the book he tells the best way to watch jai-alai, and how to bet on it. With humor and enthusiasm, Skiena details a life-long fascination with the computer prediction of sporting events. Along the way, he discusses other gambling systems, both successful and unsuccessful, for such games as lotto, roulette, blackjack, and the stock market. Indeed, he shows how his jai-alai system functions just like a miniature stock trading system.
Do you want to learn about program trading systems, the future of Internet gambling, and the real reason brokerage houses don't offer mutual funds that invest at racetracks and frontons? How mathematical models are used in political polling? The difference between correlation and causation? If you are curious about gambling and mathematics, odds are this is the book for you!