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"Chance, Luck and Statistics" by Horace C. Levinson

A fun yet easy title talking about the discipline and the tasks when doing Probability and Statistics.

My wonderful, late grandma retired in Las Vegas, Nevada throughout her senior life. Since I was a kid, I loved visiting grandma a lot and we usually spent ample time at casinos given how much I loved the energy and the music in casinos. It is with that when I realized the gambling scene, the purpose and why many people enjoyed taking risks at the turn of a single card. Growing up, it's no wonder I easily became fascinated with the mathematical discipline of Probability and Statistics, and that's where this book by author Levinson provides us with.

Split into two parts, the first part of the book is his emphasis on Probability: why we take risks every single day, its sole philosophy is and making simple calculations, via fractions and percentages, using playing cards, dice and "Head or Tails" coin flipping. All throughout, you'll also read about the science behind trying to win and what the player/gambler looks to achieve in putting down an ample amount knowing that s/he may be lucky in piling up a huge win. Oh, and Luck is also talked about as to why being 100% dependent on it won't cut the chase, nor is it the source as to why someone should even take risks. (If you're one of those people relying on the fact that luck will always save you when things don't go right, you're likely going to run into some serious trouble.)

Near the end of the first part of the book, Levinson discretely talks about the odds and chances from one of the most popular games. While he spoke about popular games such as Poker, Roulette, Lottery and Craps, the longest writing was on the card game Bridge (that's a card game I haven't played in so long, to which I now forgot how to play).

The second part of the book talks about Statistics. Levinson discusses the goal and the purpose of Statistics but doesn't give too much examples, compared to his information about Probability. Perhaps because there's a ton of things the author may be unable to squeeze into a small volume, but does mention the infamous "bell curve" when plotting the information on a graph. Later near the end of the book, Levinson writes about why Statistics is crucial in the business world when tallying profits, stocks and items available for the everyday consumer. It felt like I was reading a book on Economics more than the mathematical science of Statistics (could be a good thing, depending on the reader). What I wish to have known more was how Statistics applies to Physics, namely Quantum Physics ever since physicists integrated the discipline into the behavioral patterns of atoms. Would have been nice but it's not too much a big deal.

Although some chapters were short, it was engaging enough to keep me occupied. I learned something at least. I believe the chapters talking about the odds of the card games were kind of unnecessary since there's a ton of books out there dedicated to all gambling games, big and small. Saying that, Levinson could've added more on his writing about Statistics since it's a very powerful mathematical discipline, even in science. Nevertheless, it's a book and rather decent enough to where you'll come away with learning something, regardless of how miniminal you know about the subject.

Overall, a modest, simple volume enough to entertain those wanting to study the science of taking chances. Check it out!





  • An underrated book exploring Probability and Statistics.
  • Isn't mathematically overwhelming for the average reader.
  • Briefly talks about the philosophy behind the subject.
  • Content gets a little mixed up on some chapters.
90% (A-)
Fan Rating
Title Chance, Luck and Statistics
Author(s) Horace C. Levinson
Description To understand the laws behind chance and probability, you don't need a degree or other formal training in mathematics; all you need is this book! In simple, nontechical language, it will introduce you to the fundamentals governing chance. Then you'll find a host of practical statistical applications for new knowledge, including everyday pursuits ranging from sports and government to business and other fields.

The first part explains the theory of probability, with particular reference to superstitions and fallacies, betting odds, and the law of mathematical expectation, and with specific applicaitons to poker, roulette, lotteries, dice games, bridge, and other games involving chance. The second part illustrates how to apply the principles behind probability theory to statistics, with discussions of normal frequency distributions and the dangers of misusing statistics. A survey of statistical applications takes in a remarkable variety of fields, including strategic warfare, social problems, stock speculation, advertising, and operations research.

Written in a highly readable style, with frequent touches of humor, this volume will enliven any course in probability and statistics. It will appeal to both teachers and students of probability and statistics as well as to nonmathematicians.
Dedication --
ISBN 978-0-486-41997-5
Book Dimensions Width: 5.88″ (5 7/8″)
Height: 8.5″ (8½″)
Depth: 0.75″ (¾″)
Page Count 384
Contents Preface to Dover Edition, Foreword, [PART I: CHANCE] Chance Luck and Statistics, Gamblers and Scientists, The World of Superstition, Fallacies, The Grammar of Chance, "Head or Tails", Betting and Expectation, Who Is Going To Win?, Chance and Speculation, Poker Chances, Poker Chances and Strategy, Roulette, Lotteries Craps and Bridge, [PART II: STATISTICS] From Chance to Statistics, Chance and Statistics, Fallacies in Statistics, Statistics at Work, Advertising and Statistics, Business and Statistics, Appendix I, Appendix II, Index
Cover Design ????
Published 2001 (originally published in 1939)
Publisher Dover Publications (www.doverpublications.com). Originally published by Rinehart & Company.

Published in Canada by General Publishing Company, Ltd., 895 Don Mills Road, 400-2 Park Centre, Toronto, Ontario M3C 1W3.

Published in the United Kingdom by David & Charles, Brunel House, Forde Close, Newton Abbot, Devon TQ12 4PU.
Copyright © 1939, 1950, 1963 by Horace C. Levinson. All rights reserved under Pan American and International Copyright Conventions.
Manufactured / Printed in United States of America
Book Format Hardcover, Paperback, Kindle, eBook
Quoted Reviews "The style is clear and lively. The treatment . . . is remarkably accurate. In short, it is a good book." — Scientific Monthly
Best Seller's List --
Other Dover (2001) revised and enlarged version of the work published by Rinehart & Company, 1950, as The Science of Chance. The first edition of this work, published in 1939, was called Your Chance to Win. Index. Two Appendices. 384pp. 5 3/8 x 8½. Paperbound.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data 1. Probabilities.
2. Games of chance (Mathematics).
3. Statistics.
I. Levinson, Horace C. (Horace Clifford). Science of Chance.
II. Title
CIP Number ????
LC Control Number 2001032362
LC Call Number GV1302.L4  2001
DDC Call Number 519—dc21


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