Since he began writing gambling books, Mason Malmuth has always been one of the most thought provoking writers on gambling related topics. This book, Gambling Theory and Other Topics contains many of his most wide ranging and provocative essays. Insightful and controversial, it would be difficult for someone to read this book with an engaged mind and not both learn something and find some topic worthy of debate.
The book is divided into six sections, each of which contains from six to more than twenty essays. The topic of the first part is Gambling Theory, where Mason introduces us to self-weighting strategies. Right off the bat, Malmuth is controversial, essentially telling us that investment diversification is a bad bet. I believe his analysis to be correct, but he omits some important information that makes it apparent why this is so, and why someone would still want to diversify their investment portfolio. If I have one criticism of Malmuth’s writing, it’s that he occasionally states a quality opinion in more controversial language than it needs to be. I believe fewer people would disagree with him, and some disagree most strongly, if he selected different words with which to express some of his most difficult ideas.
Part two discusses examples of the theories mentioned in part one. This includes Malmuth’s view on Money Management, the extremely important topic of fluctuations, game theory, and other interesting issues. This book was one of the very first to discuss these topics in any depth, and the coverage here is still very good.
Part three covers fallacies in various betting schemes. Part four covers strategies for poker tournaments. This is one of the better sections in the book, in my opinion. Some very important ideas are discussed here, and this chapter by itself is better than …