Category Archives: Uncategorized

The hot hand

The wager described in the previous post was motivated by an interesting recent paper (Miller and Sanjurjo, reference below) discussing the hot hand, or the perception in some sports, particularly basketball, that a player with a streak of successful shots … Continue reading

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Gambler’s fallacy fallacy?

The gambler’s fallacy is the belief that roulette wheels, dice, etc., have “memory,” so that, for example, having observed an unlikely streak of losses, the probability that the next outcome will be a win has increased, as a correction toward … Continue reading

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Reproducing randomness

Introduction We often need “random” numbers to simulate effects that are practically non-deterministic, such as measurement noise, reaction times of human operators, etc. However, we also need to be able to reproduce experimental results– for example, if we run hundreds … Continue reading

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The distribution of “roll and keep” dice

Introduction Some role-playing games involve a “roll and keep” dice mechanic, where you roll some number of dice, but only “keep” a specified number of them with the largest values, where the result of the roll is the sum of … Continue reading

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Snap card game probability

Introduction In the children’s card game Snap, a deck of cards is shuffled and divided as evenly as possible among two or more players. In alternating turns, each player deals a card from her stack onto a face-up pile in … Continue reading

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Poker puzzle

A variant of this problem came up in discussion recently, that I think lends itself to attack via either mathematical “pencil and paper” or “write a program” analysis: What is the median poker hand? More precisely, among all possible five-card … Continue reading

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Calling Java from MATLAB with pass-by-reference arrays

MATLAB has a pretty intimate connection with Java, supporting the creation and manipulation of native Java objects directly in MATLAB source code. For example: Contrast this with C++, where it is typically necessary to write an additional small amount of … Continue reading

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