## You need to watch “Last Week” with John Oliver

John Oliver is one of the funniest, and most serious, people on TV. In my opinion, he is a better comedian and anchor than Jon Stewart of the Daily Show where he more or less got his start, tho Stewart (and Steven Colbert) are both quite good.

You can watch his shows on YouTube at this link. I don’t agree with everything John Oliver says or with his approach*, but he’s both funny and serious at the same time, as I said before.

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* For example, with the bit on gambling, it wouldn’t hurt to show that in blackjack, the average payoff is  negative  3% but for the lottery it’s negative 37%, which is a lot worse. In other words, if you are playing blackjack in a casino, on every bet of \$100, on the average, you get back \$97, losing \$3. With a state lottery, if you bet \$100, then on the average, you get back about \$63, losing \$37. It is very difficult to find any game of chance with worse odds than the lottery. In fact, we math teachers have a little saying: The Lottery is a tax on those who don’t learn anything about probability. And there’s this.

Published in: on November 18, 2014 at 2:47 pm  Comments (5)
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1. The situation with the lottery is actually far worse for the average player. Yes, the mathematically expected return is a bit over 60 cents on the dollar, but that is skewed by the large awards that appear so rarely — despite each one receiving extensive advertising. The usual return is more like 5-15 cents on the dollar. I have programmed this and run the program many thousands of times each time purchasing \$1000 worth of \$1 tickets. Virtually none represented returns that amounted to more than the investment. The lottery is a sucker bet.

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• I hope you did that VIRTUALLY and didn’t actually spend a thousand bucks, thousands of times….
That would be a very expensive experiment indeed!

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2. I do watch it, but you are right, everybody else does too…

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3. I myself have spent a lot in lottery, sometimes I win, sometimes I loose but i see it no different than any otherb casino game.

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• The point I was trying to make is that the lottery has far WORSE odds of winning than any other game of chance that I can think of.

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