Jai-alai is a sport of Basque origin where opposing players or teams alternate hurling a ball against the wall and catching it, until one of them finally misses and loses the point. The throwing and catching is done with an enlarged basket or cesta, the ball or pelota is made of goat skin and hard rubber, and the wall is of granite or concrete; ingredients which lead to fast and exciting action. It is a popular spectator sport in Europe and the Americas. In the United States, jai-alai is most associated with the states of Florida, Connecticut, and Rhode Island, which permit parimutuel wagering on the sport.
In this chapter, we will delve deeper into the history and culture of jai-alai. From the purely crass goal of winning money through gambling, much of this material is not strictly necessary, but a little history and culture never hurt anybody. Be my guest if you want to skip on ahead to the more mercenary or technical parts of the book, but don't neglect to review the basic types of bets in jai-alai and the Spectacular Seven scoring system. Understanding the implications of the scoring system is perhaps the single most important factor in successful jai-alai wagering.
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!