The Origin of Predictable Behavior

May 31, 2010

I’m reading some really good articles today, for some reason:

[W]hat if there is uncertainty because agents are unable to decipher all the complexity of the environment? Will allowing complete flexibility still benefit the agents?

[An] example is the publishing history on strategies to win at blackjack. Earlier books emphasized sophisticated card-counting, bet-variation methods (see especially Edward Thorpe’s book, Beat the Dealer). However, while no one has challenged the mathematical validity of these earlier more complex methods, their actual use resulted in worse performance by most persons attempting to use them (which generated sizable unexpected profits to the casinos). As a result, later books have steadily evolved toward more rigidly structured methods (for example, two recent books are No Need to Count and Winning Casino Blackjack for the Non-Counter).

-Ronald A. Heiner, p. 563


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