Yes. If he takes a big bet he gets a bigger bonus, if he takes a smaller bet his payoff is halved.
But if he takes a small bet and makes a bet of 0, then his payoff is 1/2 of the previous bet (since he will lose the bet), so in fact 0.8 * 1/2 = 0.5. So roulette won’t really pay you more than a half a cent on your last bet.
So how should you use roulette at all? There are a whole lot of ways to play roulette, but I think the safest is to take a bet of zero.
Take a small one. If you just take a bet of zero, you will win on average one cent over each bet you make. (You don’t win as much on more than a quarter of a cent bets.) If you make a big bet and win 10 cents on your first bet, you’ll win the same on your second and third bets, and so on, until you make one big bet on every second or third bet you ever make.
Take a big one. If you bet an extra quarter of a cent then you’ll win at least 15 cents per bet. This is far more than a normal roulette hand wins, let alone an even roulette hand.
Take 2. If you bet two quarters this time you’ll lose at least 25 cents per bet, which is better than only 10 cents per bet when your average win per bet is 0.5 cent.
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
AMY GOODMAN: And we’re talking to Mark P. Williams, author of the new book, The Myth of the Rational Voter. He’s also a fellow at the Brookings Institution. This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman, as we continue our discussion from the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. And we’re joined the other day by Mark P. Williams, a professor of history at Syracuse University whose new book, The Myth of the Rational Voter: Why Democracies Choose Bad Presidents, Is a Very Long Book.
Mark P. Williams, welcome to Democracy Now! Why it was important for you to launch a book on this subject, The Myth of the Rational Voter? The most interesting aspect of this book to me, as you say, is the fact that you have a thesis that basically goes “there’s no one right answer
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