FURSCA Student Rolls the Dice on Research

Jacob Engel, '13Jacob Engel, '13, is serious about play—as it relates to casino gaming, that is. Engel spent the summer studying odds and payouts as a participant in Albion's Foundation for Undergraduate Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity (FURSCA). A mathematics and computer science major, Engel is studying the statistics that underlie gaming through developing (and possibly marketing) unique casino games of his own.

At the suggestion of his FURSCA adviser, mathematics professor Mark Bollman, Engel started with Spider Craps, his own variation of the classic casino game played with eight-sided dice. Engel spent a couple weeks writing a computer program that created some 70,000 dice rolls. With this data, Engel adjusted the winning and losing combinations to give Spider Craps a house edge between 2 and 4 percent, in line with other casino games.

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