# Questions tagged [probability]

A mathematical puzzle whose essential nature involves randomness.

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### 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 ...
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### 2 Monkeys on a computer [closed]

(a) Two monkeys are typing capital letters (A-Z) randomly. The first stops typing when the word COCONUT appears as seven successive letters. The second stops typing when TUNOCOC appears; TUNOCOC is ...
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### 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 ...
6k views

The following is a probability paradox I've been thinking about. It involves Bayes' rule; if you're not familiar, a good starting example is a urn that has a 50% chance of containing one black ball ...
9k 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 ...
13k 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 ...
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### 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 ...
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### 3 doors, three guards, one stone

You are in a room with three doors. You find out that behind two of these doors, the darkest pit of hell is waiting for you to make a mistake. The other door leads to heaven, where you obviously want ...
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### Hamlet and the theatre

Hamlet is preparing a play to find out the truth about his father's death. The theatre has $2015$ numbered seats and can contain all the members of King Claudius's court. He gives to each member a ...
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### 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. ...
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### The “M&M Sugar Rush” game

Suppose I have in my possession a incredibly large (almost infinitely large!) bag of M&Ms containing a uniform distribution of the 6 M&M colors. I'm bored, so I decide to play a game: I draw ...
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 ...
5k views

### My grandfather's socks

My grandfather has a big drawer where he keeps his socks. The drawer contains more than 900 but less than 1000 individual socks. Each of his socks is black or blue, and there are more blue socks than ...
5k views

### Say 100 and win

Our good friends that like games, Alice and Bob, play a game called "Say 100 and win". The rules are: In the beginning they use one regular 6 faced die to get a random number between 1 and 6. Let's ...
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### 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 ...
5k views

### Monty Hall Revisited: Winning Both Goats!

Suppose you're at a game show, knowing the winning strategy for the classic Monty Hall problem. Your turn comes up and you take the stage. You confidently choose door number (?). Just as you are ...
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### 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 ...
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### “Musical chair” for clock hands

A colleague and me usually make bets on the time when a simulation is finished. Next time I would suggest the following: At the time the simulation is finished we take a look at the analog clock on ...
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### How to simulate one die with three dice?

I do not know if there is a correct solution to this puzzle, but I can't stop thinking about it, so here goes: is it possible to accurately simulate a single, fair, six-sided die using three custom ...
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 ...
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### Poker and a card shark

I am playing poker with three friends and from a well-shuffled deck we have each been dealt five cards. I have a hand consisting of the four kings and the two of hearts. Being a poker wizard I know ...