Once seen as a harmless diversion, hi-tech slot machines now bring in more money than casinos – and their players become addicted three times faster than other gamblers.

Here’s how the math works:

In Australia pokie machines must return between

85%

and

90%

of money gambled.

But here is the catch. If you start out with $300 that means, surely, you’ll go home with$255 in your pocket less some for the big payouts.

WRONG! WRONG! WRONG!

According to ex-gambler Tom Cummings you’ll probably go home with

NOTHING!

In his article, Poker machine maths, (ABC, The Drum, 27 MAY 2011) it is not unusual for someone to start with $300 but put $3,000 into the machine over 4 – 5 hours.

Here’s the sting. According to the poker machine, $3,000 was gambled, and $300 was kept (by the slot machine). That means that the machine paid out $2,700… which is the 90 per cent return.

That’s one pension cheque gone for the week.

Warren Buffett has called

gambling in general a

“tax on stupidity”

or a way of fleecing those who don’t do the maths.

Take bugle into class. When kids do something great promise to play it having explained previously your total incompetence.

Otherwise, play a trumpet fanfare from youtube. You don’t need the visuals, just the sound.

Best ever trumpet fanfare (Note. This was used in 9/11 memorial services so some sensitivity may apply.)

Or, some coronation music.

If youtube is blocked in your school go to IT person to find out how to convert a youtube clip to a downloadable file or go to Vixy.net and paste in URL.

The School Summer Holidays are about to end. The academic year kicks off in Australia at the end of January. Mathspig is in Melbourne enjoying the Summer weather in a city known for having 4 seasons in one day. Just to blast your maths’ neurons into action here are some interesting statistics about Melbourne’s weather.

These are for Monday 18th January:

Now we will have a little play with averages.

Melbourne’s long term Maximum Average for January is 26C. But if you are traveling to Melbourne in January do not pack bags for the average temp bring clothes for all seasons including some winter woollies!

Mathspig is dizzy with excitement over worldwide interest in recent posts. Mathspig keeps in touch with Sarah Ebner (right )who edits the fabulous and informative Schoolgate Blog, Timesonline (UK). Sarah highlighted my post 10 Biggest Maths Disasters in the World last week and the response was overwhelming ( for a pig!)

It is a part of Mathspig’s Mission to get teachers, students, anyone talking about maths. That happened.

Meanwhile, one of Mathspig’s favourite maths bloggers is Jeff Trevaskis ( Right. Sorry, Jeff, it’s my favourite pic of you.). Jeff teachers high school maths in country Victoria, Australia, and finds time to run Webmaths, which tackles both fun issues and serious maths. One of his recent entries was titled SMELLY JOCKS?

A recent survey published in the Courier Mail suggested that more than half Aussie men wore the same undies for up to 3 days in a row. Eghhhhhh! I suggested to Jeff that an anonymous survey of, um, male students would probably produce a Normal Distribution or Bell Curve. But we’ll have to dub this one the SMELL CURVE.