Horse racing has been around since the time of the ancient Greeks. Often called the sport of kings, it was an early platform for making friendly wagers. Over time, private bets among friends gave way to bookmaking, and the odds of winning skewed in favor of a new concept called the “house”.
During the late 1860s, an entrepreneur in Paris named Joseph Oller invented a new form of betting he called pari-mutuel. In this method, bettors wager among themselves instead of against the house. Bets are pooled together and the winnings divided among the bettors. Pari-mutuel betting creates more organic odds than ones given by a profit-driven bookmaker.
Oller’s method caught on quite well. It brought fairness and transparency to betting, which made it even more attractive. It takes a lot of quick calculations to show real-time bet totals and changing odds, and human adding machines presented a bottleneck. In the early 1900s, a man named George Julius would change pari-mutuel technology forever by making an automatic vote-counting machine in his garage.
Continue reading “Tote Boards: the Impressive Engineering of Horse Gambling”
When you are a hardware guy and you live in a time of crisis, sooner or later you find yourself working for some casino equipment company. You become an insider and learn a lot about their tricks. I’ve been in touch with that business for about 30 years. I made a lot of projects for gambling machines which are currently in use, and I had a lot of contact with casino people, both owners and gamblers.
Now I’m sure you expect of me to tell you about the tricks they use to make you spend your money. And I will: there are no technical tricks. This isn’t because they are honest people, but because they don’t need it. Mathematics and Psychology do all the work.
Does the risk of gambling pay off? Mathematically speaking, no – but it’s up to you to decide for yourself. One thing is for certain – whether you decide to gamble or not, it’s good to know how those casino machines work. Know thy enemy.
Continue reading “Beating the Casino: There is No Free Lunch”
Everyone who enters The Hackaday Prize is already making a statement that Open Design is important to them. But if doing things on principle isn’t your primary motivation, you do stand a really good chance of winning something. At least at this very moment you do.
We’re giving away 55 really awesome prizes, and “hundreds of other” prizes. Since we just passed 300 entries over the weekend, a bit of quick math shows that right now your chances of winning something are quite good.
Still not enough for you? Consider the top three prizes which offer a cash value of $10k. At this moment each entry has just under a 1 in 100 chance of placing. And a 1 in 300 chance of claiming the trip into space valued at around 250 grand.
Do it because you support Open Hardware, do it because you want to go to space, or just do it because the odds are really really friendly at this point! You now have until the evening of August 20th to document your concept of an open, connected device.
Don’t mind me, I’m just listening to some tunes during our poker game. Well, that and getting some electronic coaching about poker odds. This board lets you wiggle your toes to input the upcards, and those in your hand. After each entry the gadget will tell you your odds of winning the hand. Take it easy with this kind of stuff, if Rounders was at all realistic, getting caught cheating is a painful mistake.
The thing we find interesting about the system is that it doesn’t use a stored odds database. Instead, the Propeller chip runs a simulation of 1000 hands of poker based on the cards you have entered and uses the results to calculate the odds. [Nick] says that this runs quickly because he’s using multiple cores for the calculations, and it cuts down on the data that the device needs to have on board. Right now the feedback uses a text-to-speech generated voice, but you can customize the audio clips if you’d like. Check out a demo of the device in the clip after the break.
Not looking to get the beat down for cheating? Here’s a poker tournament timer that we assure you is on the up-and-up. Continue reading “Board lets you know when to hold ’em; know when to fold ’em”