The probability defines the likelihood of an occurrence of an event in the time to come. It is represented as a number that occurs between zero and one. On the lower end, the zero denoted impossibilities while on the upper end, one denotes certainty. In addition, it is recorded that the higher the measure of a probability outcome, the higher the likelihood that such an event may occur. This essay, therefore, will expound and discuss on the development of probability, those who were involved in its development and summarize with the application of probability with more emphasis laid on gambling.

Development of probability

History records that the concept of probability has been around for thousands of years but on the other hand, the development of the probability theory dates back to the mid-seventeenth century. The development of probability is credited to Blaise Pascal, Pierre de Fermat and Gerolamo Cardano in 1654. It is recorded that in the Renaissance period, betting which is a game of chance was discuses regarding odds such as ten to one or regarding maritime insurance premiums to which estimations were based on risk. What was missing in this calculations of such odds was a theory that could explain such occurrence.

These individuals therefore in their quest to provide a response to the fair division of stakes in any uninterrupted game of chance or gambling that was common in such times. Fermat and Pascal were much involved in the discussion of probability to provide an answer to questions about fair odds in a game of chance. Before its formation, the gamble disputes of 1654 led to the formulation of a probability theory, and it is at that point that Pascal and Fermat had to make a judgment as posted by a French nobleman.  Antoine Gombaud, the French nobleman, wished to know from Pascal the possible outcome of his gambling game to make sure he wore the game.

The letter exchange between Fermat and Pascal, therefore, led to the establishment of a gambling rule hence referred to as correspondence. After learning of this correspondence, their ideas were much popularized by one Christian Huygens in his book published in 1657, De ratiocinate in ludo aleae.

The role played by Cardano in explanation of probability was throwing of three dies. In playing the three die, it indicated that there was the same number of ways to have a throw of a nine as there are in throwing a ten. He realized that the probability of having a throw of nine was less than throwing a ten. He, therefore, went ahead to define the odds as being the ratio of the favorable to that of unfavorable outcomes.

In 1713, James Bernoulli published a philosophical idea for border application of probability hence bringing the probability idea into mathematical theory. This led to the postulation of the famous theorem that says, the probability that an event would occur is morally certain to be estimated by the frequency of its occurrence. He later advanced the theorem to be called the law of large numbers as postulated by Poisson.

coming to the second half of the eighteenth century, a new set of ideas emerged as far as probability was concerned. Workers in geodesy as well as those of astronomy began to develop a suitable method of reconciliation of their observation hence the venture by the student of probability seeking such new method leading to an inspiration by Pierre Simon Laplace to develop a method of inversion probability hence benefiting from Bernoulli’s law of large numbers into what is famously known as central limit theorem. Coming to the twentieth century, statistics and probability come closely connected in developing a hypothesis testing put forward and Jerzy Neyman. This finding helped in application to biological and psychological testing as well as in economics.

Application of probability

One major use of probability which also saw its origin is gambling. Gambling is otherwise known as a game of chance and as history records, this game was the mother of probability origin. The game involved throwing up a pair of dice. The events of throwing up on a dice, therefore, generate events like the occurrence of a certain number on the dice and upon the summation of the occurrence of such numbers, it will lead to obtaining numbers with certain properties. For example, an outcome may suggest an occurrence of a given numbers may be higher or less than certain numbers within the dice.

Another application of probability in gambling may be in the spinning the roulette wheel whereby the experiment generates the occurrence of certain numbers with defined colors and certain property of the number generated. The outcome upon spinning the wheel onto which numbers from one to thirty-six are printed, will indicate the probability of a specific color being greater or less than the probability of the others on the wheel. Other games of gambling in life may include playing a game of cards which will post an outcome of the probability of occurrence of certain cards such as the queen, diamond, spade and King among others during the game.





Kolmogorov, A. N. (2007). The contribution of Russian science to the development of probability theory. Uchenye Zapiski Moskovskogo Universiteta, (91).

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