# Questions tagged [probability]

A mathematical puzzle whose essential nature involves randomness. General probability questions are off-topic but some of them can be asked on Mathematics Stack Exchange with the [probability] tag.

65 questions
Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
3k views

### The Monty Hall problem

I'm amazed that, although well known, this problem hasn't been posted yet. Monty Hall You are on a game show. The host of the show shows you three doors. He tells you that behind one of them, is a ...
7k views

### Help understanding the solution to a “shooting puzzle”

I need help understanding the solution to the following puzzle: Puzzle: There is a "triangular" duel between the three shooters. Everyone shoots one by one, can shoot once and any person he wants. ...
6k views

### Do better than chance

You and an opponent are playing the following game: Your opponent picks two different real numbers, however he wants to, and writes them on two cards, which he presents to you face down You choose ...
4k views

### How can the “Boy or Girl” paradox be worded unambiguously?

The first time I encountered the Boy or Girl paradox I was struck by how ambiguous all of the formulations in English are. As Wikipedia notes: Gardner argued that a "failure to specify the ...
1k views

### How to survive, with statistics

You are kidnapped and your offender plays a game with you. In front of you are 2 boxes, containing a total of 50 white balls and 50 black balls. The kidnapper will pull out a ball from one of the two ...
991 views

### Social Engineering (The Birthrate Problem)

The distant country of Toomalia has a birthrate of 67 boys for every 33 girls. In an effort to restore a 50:50 gender ratio in the country, Toomalian policymakers institute a mandatory new social ...
2k views

### A modified version of apples and oranges logic

Question: You have 3 baskets, one with apples, one with oranges and one with both apples and oranges mixed. Each basket is closed and is labeled with ‘Apples’, ‘Oranges’ and ‘Apples and Oranges’. ...
16k views

### Does the drunk man fall off the cliff? (a random walk problem)

A drunk man stands with a cliff one step to his left. He takes steps randomly left and right. Each step has probability $p$ of going left and probability $q=1-p$ of going right. Each step is the same ...
4k views

1k views

### A first choice die

You and your friend have met to play a game of dice. This is a very simple game where both players roll a die at the same time, and the player with the lower score pays a coin to the other player. In ...
5k views

### The Mexican Standoff

There are three cowboys in a Mexican standoff against each other, named Juan, José, and Jorge. Juan is the straightest shooter in the West, and can hit his target 100% of the time. José, who has a ...
1k views

### Odds of duplicate birthdays

I found the following problem in an number of places online: John once bet a fellow gambler that two of the first thirty persons they met and spoke to would prove to have the same birthday. Strong in ...
12k views

### Coin Flipping Game with the Devil

You die, and awake in Hell. Satan awaits you, and has prepared a curious game. He has arranged $n$ quarters in a line, going in the east/west direction. He placed the coins at the ends tails up, and ...
3k views

### Relabeling two 20-sided dice without changing their total

Usually, 20-sided dice are labeled with the numbers 1 to 20. When you roll two of these, their sum is a random number between 2 and 40. The total 21 is most likely to occur, while 2 and 40 are the ...
6k views

### Left coin, right coin, last coin?

In this game, all players start sitting at a round table, each with a coin in their hand. At every turn, all players toss their coins together and put them on the table in front of them. Then each ...
7k views

### Ant walking on a number line

An ant walks on a number line, starting at location $x=7$. Each second, it randomly moves one space either left ($-1$) or right ($+1$), with equal chance. At $x=0$ and $x=10$ are drops of honey; the ...
1k views

### Triangle in a circle

Suppose three points are chosen at random in a circle. A triangle is made with these three points as vertices. What's the probability that the triangle contains the origin of the circle? (Although I ...
3k views

### Crippled King Crossing a Canyon

A chess king has been injured in battle against an evil wizard, and can no longer move northeast or southwest. This king is on the North rim of a canyon, and must flee to safety on the South rim. ...
2k views

### Cooperative guessing game: no incorrect guesses

There are 15 players who will play a cooperative game. They begin by closing their eyes. A referee will place either a black hat or a white hat (chosen by fair coin flip) on each player's head. The ...
3k views

### A Strangely Familiar Probability Problem

You're taking the final exam for your Introduction to Probability and Statistics course, and once again you've failed to study (you were up all night solving online brainteasers). The exam is ...
1k views

### Crazy Dice - Unusual Dice with Usual Sum

Can you design two six-sided dice (different from the standard ones), where each face has a nonzero number of dots, so that the probability distribution of their total is the same as for two standard ...
451 views

### Guessing game with infinity coin flips

Evan and Ollie are going to play a game as a team. The two friends placed in separate rooms, and then a coin is flipped infinitely many times*. Evan is told the results of the even numbered flips, ...
581 views

### The Minotaur's Labyrinth

You are trapped in a chamber in the center of the Minotaur's Labyrinth. There are $\mathbf{N}$ tunnels, $\mathbf{m}$ of which lead to safety; the remaining tunnels only lead back to the chamber. Each ...
4k views

### Multiple Choice Puzzle

What are the chances of getting this correct if you pick at random? 1/4 1/2 1/3 1/4 You are not allowed to add more answers to this list Note; This DOES have a correct, demonstrable answer!
3k views

### Probability of three segments forming a triangle

Consider a line segment of length L. This segment is cut in three segments at arbitrary points. What is the probability that these three segments could be rearranged as sides of a triangle?
10k views

### How many tries to roll a 6?

Suppose you roll a (fair, 6-sided, perfectly ordinary) die repeatedly until you roll a 6. As is well known, the expected (i.e., long-term average over many trials) number of rolls required is 6. Now ...
2k views

### Gambling in a rigged casino

A well-known crooked casino is offering the following bet with a pair of (identically looking and indistinguishable) dice that both show the numbers $1,2,3,4,5,6$ on their faces. The first die ...
8k views

### Aproximating 100 by 6

You're a fan of pen & paper RPGs and have finally arranged a new playing group, recruited amongst your friends from the mathematical faculty. As a GameMaster (GM) you've assumed that all your ...
4k views

### Monty Hall all over again?

Often, when people ask the Monty Hall problem, they omit some important details, such that the problem becomes ambiguous, or they add more details, such that the problem changes drastically. For ...
1k views

### Cooperative guessing game

A standard deck of 52 cards is shuffled and split into two piles of 26 cards each. Two players cooperate, they must score as many tricks as possible. The first player draw 5 cards from the first pile, ...
5k views

### What is the expected value of this coin flipping game?

A casino offers the following game: You flip a fair coin repeatedly and record the results on slips of paper, one result per slip. At any time you may decide to stop, at which time one of the slips ...
2k views

### Expected Number of Tosses Until H,T,T,H

I found a nice little app/game the other day called Probability Puzzles. Apologies to those who, like me, will now obsess until they are all completed. I'm sure there will be many such people on this ...
4k views

867 views

### Five pirates splitting gold with a twist

Source: This was posted on the Grey Labyrinth Forums many years ago. The five pirates are back. But this time one of them has the dreaded Zanzibar fever, whose terrible effects are spelled out below....