Stuart’s MATLAB Videos

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Puzzler: Match play on blackjack, baccarat or other casino games

As with many math geeks, I am fascinated by casinos and the math surrounding them. I, however, like to win. Consequently, I have no interest in playing a game that I am mathematically destined to lose. That means when I go to the casino, I walk past every blackjack spread, roulette wheel, and baccarat table until I reach the Poker Room. I play $1-$2 No-limit Texas hold-em and I do it better than most of the people at the table. A math geek’s dream: I get to extract money from people for being bad at probability! Something interesting came in the mail the other day. Mohegan Sun sent me four $20 Match Play coupons good at Basically, I put down an initial wager for $20, and the coupon makes it a $40 bet. I have checked, and this meets the minimum at every game listed above. I am looking to maximize the expected value of these coupons. I have no interest in learning to count cards, or learn any complex strategies (I am willing to play basic strategy at blackjack). I will walk away from the tables as soon as I am no longer a favorite (i.e. I run out of match play cards) and then head over to the Poker Room, where I know I am a favorite. Using MATLAB, make your best case for the wagers I should place. I know that even the best strategy could leave me losing money, I am fine with that as long as I have a positive expected value going in. Just like the Ultimate Frisbee puzzler, I offer a MATLAB t-shirt to the most convincing entry. Here are some entries from the File Exchange that might be of interest: dougsplayingpoker.jpg Please don’t gamble more than you can afford to lose (especially if you sit down at my poker table) and please take a big look at the legal disclaimer from MathWorks: “These postings are the author’s and don’t necessarily represent the opinions of The MathWorks.”
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