Probability is a study concerning the chances of an event happening. One way or another, probability affects all of life’s activities.
The Society of Actuaries is a group of businesspeople who analyze probability in regard to the financial impact of risk and uncertainty. They advise about financial security systems–complexity, mathematics, and mechanisms. Mathematics is the tool used by them to predict and evaluate the likelihood of events and the amount of preparation needed to minimize losses in case of undesirable events. ( Trowbridge, Charles L. (1989), Fundamental Concepts of Actuarial Science. http://www.actuarialfoundation.org/research_edu/fundamental.pdf )
The youngest person to pass the examination of the Society of Actuaries was 21 years old. That person was the great mathematician Oswald “human computer” Jacoby (1902-1984). He was known as a great player of games that involved probability as in bridge, poker, backgammon, canasta, and gin rummy.
Calling poker, ‘the great American game,” he realized that luck in cards was dependent on percentages and, thus, computed the following odds for desirable poker hands:
Royal Flush: 649,739 to 1
Straight Flush : 72,192 to 1
Full House: 693 to 1
Flush: 508 to 1
Straight: 254 to 1
Pair: 1.37 to 1
Many gamblers play with the scant idea of the percentages for or against them. Knowing the odds (percentage of certainty) may help in trying to determine your chances for making a winning hand as the game proceeds, the chances for improvement in subsequent hands, and in deciding whether or not the size of the pot makes it worth your while to continue.
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“In any one session of poker, the Goddess of Chance is the one who determines the winners and losers. In two or three sessions, she has a lot to say about who wins. But over the long period, she bestows her favors equally, and the good players win and the poor players lose.” — Oswald Jacoby