Steve Cotler

Steve Cotler

Category Archives: Sports

Betting on the World Series

You pays your money and you takes your chances, but the House always has an edge. Did you ever wonder how big that edge is? Among the simplest edges to compute is Las Vegas roulette.  If your chips are on one of the numbers from 1 to 36, and you win, you get paid 35-1. […]

Deflategate and Bikeshedding

With Super Bowl XLIX (how many Americans can quickly translate Roman Numerals?) just days away, the sports pages (even some science and editorial pages) are passionately afroth with Deflategate chatter. Was the football intentionally underinflated during the first half of the Patriots/Colts game? Hands are wringing! The world trembles with the possibility that an NFL […]

A Different Kind of Basketball

Over four years ago I wrote about basketball at little Grinnell College (Iowa, 1500 students). They play a run-and-gun style that’s fun to watch. Two days ago, Grinnell sophomore Jack Taylor lived the dream of every kid who ever tossed the ball up at a backyard hoop. He broke the NCAA record for points in […]

Mac Crash

My 3.5-year-old Macbook Pro went on the disabled list Wednesday. Symptoms: Normal start up, but then, as the blue screen and desktop icons appeared, so did the spinning beach ball of death…and a queasy stomach. Interior sirens wailing, I rushed to my not-too-far-away Apple Store where, amid dozens of milling i-enthusiasts, the patient was taken […]

A Captain and the Majors

Time and situation award only a few in each generation with an opportunity to take a place in history. How much smaller is the number who are twice-touched by fate. Today’s post is about one such man. It starts with the differences between North and South and ends with the thin line that separates fair […]

Final Four Math — 2011

This year’s March Madness has brought us a Final Four with no #1 or #2 seeds, unique in NCAA tournament history. But the absence of high-seed teams has not dulled enthusiasm for the last three games. In fact, some sports pundits are trumpeting the “Cinderella” factor: can a #11 seed, Virginia Commonwealth University, pull off […]

Teaching Contract Bridge to Intelligent Women

I learned contract bridge at 13 and played through grad school. Then came almost 40 years without a bid. But for the last year or so, I’ve been teaching bridge to a group of women. It has been a particularly satisfying endeavor for two reasons: 1) they are members of AAUW—American Association of University Women—and […]

Zorb in Slovenia

The Zorb In 2002, my son and I toured Slovenia by car. Rarely featured as a travel destination, Slovenia is a gem: fabulous scenery, interesting and friendly people, inexpensive (comparatively) accommodations…and it has Zorb. What is Zorbing? Well, the website states: Imagine yourself suspended inside a clear inflatable plastic ball of about 3 meters in […]

LeBron’s Choice

LeBron James, 25, is arguably professional basketball’s biggest star. A member of the Cleveland Cavaliers since jumping straight from high school in 2003, he has led the Cavs to playoff berths for six consecutive seasons. In addition to his basketball salary, he makes many millions each year from endorsements. In December 2007, James was ranked […]

Betting the Final Four–2010

If you bet on the Final Four (or on almost anything), the bookie’s odds always include a built-in percentage for the house. Last year I calculated the Las Vegas Final Four edge at 9.8%. This year the edge is so big (20.8%) that something must be wrong!