# Posts Tagged With: gambling

## I Analyze a Cereal-Box Game

Please look at the picture of the Alpha-Bits game. (Sorry, it’s a bit blurry. I have fired my camera man.) You draw from a deck of cards, containing each of the following numbers, 1, 2, 3, and 4. If you draw a 1, you move your piece, an Alpha-Bit letter, ahead one square, and so on. However, there is something funny about the game. Unsettling even.

Starting the game, it is impossible to land anywhere but on the 3rd square, the one with the bee. For . . .

If you draw a 1, then you move to square 1. The result tells you to move ahead two squares to square 3, the one with the bee.

If you draw a 2, then you move to square 2. The result tells you to move ahead one square to square 3, the one with the bee.

If you draw a 3, then you move to square 3, the one with the bee.

If you draw a 4 then you move to square 4. The result tells you to move back square to square 3, the one with the bee.

No matter what you draw, you end up on the bee.

Similarly, if your piece is on square 13, the one with the rocket, no matter what you draw, you’ll finish the game.

Working backwards from square 13, you can determine the expected numbers of turns needed to win the game.

THE EXCITING RESULTS

Square #   Expected Numbers of Turns needed to win the game.

———-   ———————————————————–

13            –         1.00

8              –         2.00

6              –         2.25

5              –         2.56

3*            –         3.15

Start        –         4.15

* = Mathematical excitement abounds if you’re starting on square 3. If you draw a 1, you have to go back to your bee. If in your second turn, you again draw a 1, you will once more be back at the bee square. Fear not! By using the mathematical formula for infinite sums, you can calculate how many turns you can expect to be stuck in this purgatory. (It’s 1.33 turns.) Knowing this, our calculations become simple again.

Note that is impossible to end your turn on squares: 1, 2, 4, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, and 20.

I have come to believe that the designers of this game never really played it. I am quite certain they never subjected their creation to mathematical analysis.

Please do not use this analysis for betting purposes. And if you do, do not employ a doubling cube as in backgammon.

At any rate, my years of mathematics has served me well. And you get a gold star if you read this blog all the way through.

Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef, Ph.D., nerd

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.

## CARAMELIZED BANANA CAKE

INGREDIENTS

4 eggs
½ cup butter, softened
1½ cups sugar (1¼ cups more later)
½ cup milk
⅛ teaspoon salt
2⅓ cups wheat flour or flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
no-stick spray
4 ripe bananas
⅓ cup water
1¼ cups sugar
no-stick spray

SPECIAL UTENSILS

electric beater
8″ * 12″ cake pan
sonic obliterator

Serves 10. Takes 1 hour 20 minutes.

PREPARATION

Separate eggs into yolks and whites. Add butter and 1½ cups sugar to large mixing bowl. Mix with electric beater set on medium until well blended. Add egg yolks, milk, and salt. Mix with electric beater set on medium until well blended. Gradually add wheat flour. Mix with electric beater set on medium until well blended. Add baking powder and egg whites. Mix with electric beater set on medium until this dough is well blended and fluffy. Spray cake pan with no-stick spray.

Cut each banana into 6 circles. Add water and 1¼ cups sugar to pan. Warm sugar using low-medium heat until it begin to melt. Stir enough to keep sugar from burning and clumping. Reduce heat to low and continue warming sugar until it melts completely and turns a caramel brown. Stir constantly. Pour this caramel immediately into cake pan. (Don’t let it set.) dish. Smooth with spatula.

Place banana circles evenly over caramel. (Be careful if caramel is hot.) Spoon dough over bananas. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees or until a toothpick stuck in middle of cake comes out clean. Loosen cake by sliding spatula around the edges and, as far as possible, under the bottom. Put cookie tray on top of cake pan. Carefully turn cake pan and cookie tray upside down. Tap cake pan with knife. Say a brief prayer. Lift cake pan. Cake should come out cleanly onto cookie tray. Let sit until cool. Serve to adoring guests. Zap unappreciative ones with sonic obliterator.

TIDBITS

1) One of the most beloved form of communal games of gambling is craps. Just go to any casino. Any time you hear a loud roar of happiness, it is quite likely it came from the craps table. Of course, as with all gambling choices in a casino, you will likely go home a loser. But you have more fun losing than people playing slot machines. And that’s the main thing.

2) There are two games that come to mind for people to play face to face. They are chess and dominoes.

3) However, chess is mostly a silent game. It’s bad form to disturb, in any way, the player about to make a move. People can take the longest time pondering whether to move their bishop or not. Or where. How long can some players take to move?

4) Eons.

5) Culinary sociologists have determined that chess is the game of choice for prison wardens. The wardens deal with violent and otherwise troublesome prisoners by placing them in solitary confinement.

6) There is always a chess game going in solitary confinement. The guard tells the ingoing inmate whether he is playing for white black. The player looks at the game. His mind goes a mile a minute thinking over the 172,329 possible moves. This takes a while, and lo and behold. just as he moves his chess piece, his time in solitary is over.

7) The head guard then picks the current troublemaker in the chess-game cell and informs this inmate that his is playing the opposite color from that of the previous cell mate.

8) Solitary Prison Cell has become all the rage. Inmates have begun to commit offenses just to play chess in solitary. Prisoners have begun to form chess gangs. The most popular gang names are the White Knights and the Black Bishops. For a while, wardens tried segregating these groups.

9) However, as this policy is proving insufficient in decreasing prison violent, the guards are starting to take away solitary-chess privileges for frequent rule offenders. These men can only play dominoes, a much less violent game. It’s still addicting, though.

10) When prisoners are released, the dominoes players need a good fix of the game. This is why you see people playing dominoes outside a remote, rural general store. But there aren’t many such establishments any more. So dominoes junkies naturally flock to anything that has the big dots on them that dominoes has. What do they do? They can’t play chess anymore. That games doesn’t have dots. Beside, the ex-cons have been conditioned against playing that game? So what do they do?

11) They play craps. The dice in craps have plenty of dots on them, enough for any dominoes junkie. However, as we established in the first tidbit, people who plays craps lose all their money.

12) Then what do these one-time felons due for their dot fix? They eat food with dots on them. Like caramelized banana cake. The bananas in ths dessert look like the dots on a domino tile. (See the above photo.) This is why this dessert is so enormously popular around the world. Now you know.

Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef, Ph.D.

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.

Cajun Entree

## SHRIMP PO’ BOYS

1 tablespoon capers
1½ tablespoons flat-leaf parsley or parsley
1 garlic clove
2 tablespoons Creole mustard or French coarse-grained mustard.
2 tablespoons lemon juice
¾ cup mayonnaise
½ tablespoon paprika (½ teaspoon more later)
¼ teaspoon pepper (¼ teaspoon more later)
¾ teaspoon TabascoTM or CrystalTM hot sauce

INGREDIENTS – SHRIMP

1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined.
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
¾ cup cornmeal
⅓ cup peanut oil or oil

INGREDIENTS – FINAL

⅓ head lettuce, iceberg or romaine
1 tomato
4 French rolls or 4 quarters of a baguette

SPECIAL UTENSIL

electric skillet

Serves 4. Takes 50 minutes

Dice capers, flat-leaf parsley, and garlic clove. Add all remoulade ingredients to mixing bowl. Mix with whisk until well blended. Chill in refrigerator.

PREPARATION – SHRIMP

Add shrimp, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, paprika, pepper, and salt to 1st small mixing bowl. Toss shrimp until well coated. Add egg to 2nd small bowl. Beat egg with whisk or fork. Add shrimp to beaten egg. Toss shrimp until well coated. Add cornflour to 3rd small bowl. Add egg-coated shrimp to cornflour. Dredge shrimp through cornflour until well coated.

Add oil to electric skillet. Heat oil to 350 degrees. Add coated shrimp to skillet. (Do not let shrimp touch. You might have to cook in batches.) Fry at 350 for 3 minutes or until dredged shrimp turn golden brown. Carefully flip shrimp once. Remove and drain on plate covered with paper towels.

PREPARATION – FINAL

Shred lettuce. Cut tomato into 8 slices. Slice rolls almost all the way through, leaving enough for a hinge. Spread remoulade over all roll tops and bottoms. Sprinkle shredded lettuce equally over all roll bottoms. Arrange shrimp equally over all roll bottoms. Top the shrimp on each sandwich with 2 tomato slices. Close rolls. Serve hot.

TIDBITS

1) The famed Edgar Allan Poe was born on January 19, 1809. A lesser known Edgar Allan Poe (LKEAP) was born on March 30, 1833. Interesting enough, 33 totally unimportant Edgar Allan Poe have been on February 29. Of course, that has statistical clustering written all over it.

2) Our Edgar Allan Poe (OEAP) was never totally adopted and had a constant need for income due to gambling losses. Never draw to an inside straight, never. Indeed, you need to know when to fold and to know when to walk away. Unfortunately, Kenny Rogers hadn’t written his great song, “The Gambler,” by 1822., so OEAP was bereft of this potentially life-improving advice.

3) The indebted Poe turned to writing menus. They were pure literary magic. As Thomas Jefferson penned, “Edgar Allan Poe’s descriptions of the tempting dishes to be had by the discerning dinner are pure culinary genius. Undoubtedly, if he’d been around in 1776, he’d have been invited to write the Declaration of Independence.”

4) Inspired by his success, Poe turned to writing novels. We now hold his first effort, The Elephant’s Tusks to be the greatest novel of all time. Unfortunately, the letter “e” on his typewriter was broken and the published text of lphant’s Tusks was absolutely unreadable.

5) Distraught, Poe turned to drugs for solace. (Hey, I spelled that word correctly on the first try!) His drug habit drove him deeper into debt.

6) Poe’s life had to pick up, and in a hurry, as I am running out of space on this page. Poe went back to menus. His typewriter still had occasional trouble with the letter “e.” Then brilliance struck his brow like a tiny meteorite made of kitty fur; why not substitute an apostrophe for “e?.” His creation the Shrimp Poe Boy could now be written up as the Shrimp Po’ Boy. Elated, Poe felt confident enough to write a short book chock full of wrote a short book entitled, “Simple and Tasty Treats to Eat After Taking Heroin.” This wildly successful work provided him with the financial success he’d always craved. Poe would become a literary giants. Menus, however, would once again be boring. They still are. It’s a tradeoff.

Chef Paul

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.