Michael Shackleford, also known as "The Wizard of Odds" – a title taken from Donald Angelini, is an American mathematician and an actuary, best known for his professional analysis of the mathematics of the casino games. He is also an adjunct professor of actuarial science and mathematics at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He became interested in the mathematics of gambling at a young age, specifically after reading John Scarne's Guide to Casino Gambling.
Today Shackleford is best known for his websites, The Wizard of Odds and The Wizard of Vegas, which contain analyses and strategies for hundreds of casino games. He received a great deal of attention in 2002 shortly after moving to Las Vegas when he published a paper where he released rankings of slot machine payout percentages, widely considered secretive or unavailable, to show which Las Vegas casinos set their nickel machines with the best and worst payouts.The Time Out Las Vegas referred to the survey as groundbreaking. This paper was referenced by Palms Casino Resort to advertise their competitive payouts.
Shackleford also analyzes new games for game developers and casinos. He is the author of Gambling 102: The Best Strategies for All Casino Games (Huntington Press, 2005). Previously, he was an Adjunct Professor of Casino Math at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and a contributing editor to Casino Player magazine.