Posted by netzer
Jan 27, 2019

Appreciate the Wizard

The Wizard is a most welcome antidote to the misinformation spread by gambling consultant John Scarne, who
worked as a consultant to casinos and was the author of Scarne's New Complete Guide to Gambling and
twenty-seven other books on gaming. He made calculations but invariably came up with wrong answers. He attempted to discredit Edward O. Thorp's blackjack card counting system. He claimed to analyze Thorp's system and concluded that the whole system was loaded with mathematical errors and it was pure fiction dreamed by Thorp.

From time to time Thorp published corrections to Scarne's results. To prove his point he challenged Thorp to a
playdown with himself as dealer. Thorp wisely refused. Scarne was an expert card manipulator who could deal any cards he chose.

In his Guide he describes a call he received from a casino manager who reported that a roulette player
was using a betting system and was winning. He described the system. Scarne went on that "After explaining why the system was working" he proposed a playing limitation to thwart it. How could any betting system in roulette be working? It was the blind leading the blind.

I went to considerable trouble to make sure the Wizard was properly oriented on the Monty Hall Problem but I
feel that I only partly succeeded. He wrote an article and gave the correct solution but then went on to consider the case where Monty opens a door at random and considers the cases where Monty makes a mistake and opens the door with a car to have no consequence. Of course they have a consequence: they end the game! Moreover if such a game actually were played it would happen 1/3 of the time.

We did find out that the game described by Marilyn never was played on the show. It was first described as a
game with three boxes, one of which contained car keys. The doors, two goats and a car were added by Marilyn's correspondent. Monty made consistent use of doors or curtains with prizes behind them but never two goats and a car, and Monty never offered a switch. The game could be played on a show like Monty's; perhaps someday it will be.


jackmagic777 Feb 01, 2019

Scarne had a counting system for BLackjack years before Thorpe wrote Beat the Dealer.