By Paul Wilmott
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Additional info for The Best of Wilmott 1: Incorporating the Quantitative Finance Review
At the time the prevailing assumption was that none of the major gambling games allowed for systems. e every spin or dice roll was unaffected by those that preceded it, then there was no way a mathematical system would allow you 22 THE BEST OF WILMOTT to numerically track outcomes and reasonably predict future outcomes. Unless you used rigged dice or had some information on the croupier, you might as well bring along a rabbit’s foot as a calculator. Ed had previously concluded (in 1955) that roulette was an exception to this rule, because he wasn’t using a numerical system and instead relied on the physical properties of the mechanism.
Concluding remarks Where do the ideas come from? Mine come from sitting and thinking, academic journals, general and ﬁnancial reading, networking, and discussions with other people. In each of our three examples, the market was inefﬁcient, and the inefﬁciency or mispricing tended to diminish somewhat, but gradually over many years. Competition tends to drive down returns, so continuous research and development is advisable. In the words of Leroy Satchel Paige, “Don’t look back. Something might be gaining on you”.
The truth is more mundane. Card counting is not about memorizing entire decks of cards, but about keeping track of the type and percentage of cards remaining in the deck during your time at the blackjack table. Unlike roulette, blackjack has “memory”. What happens during one hand depends on the previous hands and the cards that have already been dealt out. 30 THE BEST OF WILMOTT A deck that is rich in low cards, twos to sixes, is good for the House. Recall that the dealer must take a card when he holds sixteen or less; the high frequency of low-count cards increases his chance of getting close to 21 without busting.