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Questions tagged [probability]

A mathematical puzzle whose essential nature involves randomness.

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How to get a uniform 1 out of 7 chance, using only a coin and a 6-sided die

There are seven days in a week. Let's say you want to pick one at random, such that each day has an equal chance of being picked as each other day. In other words, the goal is to obtain a uniform ...
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5answers
2k views

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Tuco, Blondie and Sentenza play a game with a single die. Tuco has the first roll, then Blondie, and then Sentenza, and so on. As soon as a player tosses a six, that player drops out of the game and ...
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5answers
603 views

Socks which may or may not match

You just won 2016 socks. Some of them are white, some are blue. The color of each sock was randomly chosen, with a 50/50 probability. Is it more probable that the socks can be paired, or that you will ...
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5answers
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Who's favored in this dice game?

Alyson and Bethany decide to play a game involving a (standard six-sided) die. Alyson goes first, and rolls the die: if she rolls a 6, then she wins. Otherwise, Bethany takes the die and rolls until ...
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2answers
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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 ...
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4answers
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A dice game, what is the optimal strategy?

Alice was walking on the street when she came across a man playing with a die. She could not help trying to check if the die was loaded and while she was concluding that it wasn't loaded, the man ...
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6answers
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A set of lockers

There is a series of 100 lockers in a school. All of them start closed. Students number 1 to 100 flip an even, two sided coin. If the coin lands on heads, they go through each locker corresponding ...
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3answers
643 views

100 Dwarves vs. the Evil Elf

The following is an extension of 100 Dwarves and a tiny room. The text of this puzzles spoils that one in a minor way, so go read that excellent puzzle first! An evil elf puts $100$ dwarves in a ...
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3answers
937 views

Hat Guessing Game in Vegas

A team of 10 people are going to play a cooperative game. While their eyes are closed, a pit boss will place either a red or green hat on each of their heads, chosen by fair coin flip. They then all ...
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5answers
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Olivia's cookie jars

Olivia loves cookies so much that Dad promises to buy her two cookie jars on one condition: that she only eats one cookie per day. Olivia agrees, and now two black, large cookie jars rest on the ...
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5answers
886 views

Seven cowboys play a coin tossing game [closed]

Seven cowboys play a coin tossing game with a fair coin where each player has a chance of 1/2 of winning. Each of them plays once against all other six. What is the probability that each cowboy wins ...
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4answers
997 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 ...
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12answers
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Coin Game with infinite paradox

Here’s the puzzle/problem: Let’s presume we are best friends. I own the house next to you. I make a gaming proposition along the following lines: You throw a coin over and over again. So long as it ...
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5answers
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 ...
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7answers
3k views

Fair n-sided dice

I have recently bought a fair $10$-sided dice for generating equally distributed random numbers from the range $1,2,\ldots,10$. Let me describe this dice in some more detail. Consider a regular 5-gon $...
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4answers
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Picking a time to bet

You play a game with a friend: he deals cards face up one a time from a uniformly shuffled deck of 26 black cards and 26 red cards. At some point before all the cards have been dealt, you must call "...
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2answers
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 ...
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4answers
1k views

Random Walk on Ring City

Ring City has 100 houses arranged in a circle. Alice starts at her own house, and every day she randomly moves to one of the two adjacent houses, each with 50% probability. She repeats this until she ...
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6answers
610 views

Flipping a randomly-lopsided coin

Whenever the Lopsided Mint stamps a coin, its heads-bias $p$ is chosen uniformly at random between $0$ to $1$, which makes it have a probability $p$ of landing heads when flipped. Bob takes a random ...
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3answers
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Three Cafes Puzzle

Every morning a couple has breakfast at one of three cafes: Amy's, Bob's, or Cindy's. After eating at Amy's or Bob's, they flip a coin to see which of the other two cafes they'll go to the next ...
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3answers
346 views

Guffin factory regulated heist

I work at a guffin factory. I manufacture guffins and have an unlimited access to guffin storage. I can fit up to 20 guffins in my bag, get them home from the factory and nobody will chase me. You ...
12
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4answers
776 views

Asimov's Robot Balloon Trip

Chuck Asimov is a keen inventor and balloonist. He has developed some humanoid robots and decided to take nine of them (conveniently numbered 1 to 9) on a trip in his hot air balloon. Unfortunately ...
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1answer
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Deceptive dice game

You must create a set of 6-sided dice and play a game with an opponent. The dice are like regular dice, but you can change the numbers on the dice. For example, regular dice have sides ...
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3answers
1k views

Seven cards in a bowler hat

The game show host puts seven cards with the numbers 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64 into a bowler hat. The candidate picks cards up randomly from the hat, one card at a time, and without putting cards back, ...
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2answers
820 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 ...
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3answers
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A hat puzzle involving wizards

Two wizards, Alice and Bob, each have two hats on their heads. Each hat is independently black or white with probability one-half. When the game starts each wizard will see the hats on the other ...
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5answers
473 views

One Hundred Lockboxes, Variant

You have one hundred lockboxes, fifty made of steel, fifty made of wood, and a key for each box. A prankster breaks into your house and distributes the keys among the boxes. He places each key in a ...
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1answer
560 views

Ants on a Hula Hoop

There are $24$ ants scattered around a hula hoop of circumference $3$ meters . They each randomly, and independently, choose to face clockwise or counterclockwise, and then simultaneously start ...
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3answers
1k views

How long until all balls are the same colour?

You have a bag containing $n$ balls of $n$ different colours. Select 2 balls randomly (in order, so there's a first and a second), repaint the first in the same colour as the second, and replace both ...
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5answers
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Unfair coins at South Park Elementary v2

Following Unfair coins at South Park Elementary Wendy and Sally have another friend, called Timmy. Although Timmy has no coin, he wants to play this game in a fair condition with them. Wendy does the ...
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7answers
459 views

A cooperative guessing game - Guess your order and card

6 players sitting in a circle and each assigned a card among 2 Hearts, 3 Hearts, ..., Ace Hearts (i.e. any of the Hearts cards). Holding her card above his forehead (i.e. Indian Poker fashion), each ...
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5answers
1k views

Who will win this dice game? [closed]

You are playing a dice game with your friend by rolling two standard dice and recording the sum of the two numbers. You win when two consecutive outcomes are 7. Your friend wins when three consecutive ...
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3answers
630 views

Fight Battle 21

Based off a very, very well-known puzzle The new RPG, Fight Battle 21, is now here! Now with the same three characters as the previous 20 editions! Knight: 6 HP, 60% chance to deal 3 damage Archer: ...
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7answers
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Prisoners and minority voting

Disclaimer: this is a scenario that I came up with on my own, and I do not actually know if there is a possible solution. The reason for posting is to see if the combined intellect of PSE can help to ...
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2answers
385 views

A cell in an infinite culture

A single-celled organism is placed into an infinite culture. This cell has the genetic property that it has a $p = 3/4$ chance of splitting into two cells before it dies, and all its children will ...
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1answer
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Lost first game – can I still make my mother proud?

I am one of the greatest finger wrestlers of my generation. Only 0.1% of all players are better. When I play against someone who's worse than me, I win 99% of the time. Against someone who's ...
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2answers
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Two Card Probability Problem

I came across this puzzle somewhere on the interwebs. Has stumped me for an answer for quite sometime. Helpplease? Someone picks, at their will, two cards from a deck of cards. The cards have ...
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3answers
817 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....
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4answers
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Rocks and Lever (Game) - Goofspiel

I am not sure if there is a name associated with this game but I do not know of one. There was this 2 player game I had once played, and I am wondering if there is a winning strategy. The game is as ...
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8answers
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A Lazy Way to Make Two Dice from Many

Recently, I stumbled upon the puzzle: Make Two Dice out of Three, which asks for a solution to a case of the following question: Suppose I roll $n$ indistinguishable dice. From purely the $n$ ...
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6answers
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Two men for one gold coin

Two men find an old gold coin and want to have a coin toss with it to decide who gets it. The only problem is the coin is heavier on one side so it comes up heads more than tails. What is a fair way ...
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2answers
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Entangled physicists

The anti-intellectuals have won the war, and under the iron rule of emperor Nonotin anyone who has been deemed too smart for their own good has been brought to labour camps. But most of the science ...
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3answers
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Is my sibling a sister [duplicate]

A male friend of yours wants to test if you are ok at Math and logical thinking, he says I am one of two children of my parents, and asks you to find out the probability that his sibling is a sister, ...
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3answers
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How to cheat at cards

I have a deck of 52 cards on the table in front of me, in random order, each one randomly facing either up or down. I place one joker at each end, each of these again randomly facing either up or down,...
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5answers
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How long will my money last at roulette?

I'm at the casino, standing next to a roulette table with a \$10 minimum bet. I want to stay here as long as possible, so I'm going to repeatedly make the minimum bet until I run out of money. I'm ...
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2answers
414 views

How to beat Count Dracula, part 3

This is a follow-up to "How to beat Count Dracula" and to "How to beat Count Dracula, part 2". Abraham Van Helsing and Jonathan Harker play a game against Count Dracula. The three players agree on ...
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4answers
434 views

Number exchange game

Inigo and Vizzini are to have a battle of wits to the death. The rules are: Inigo is given two independent random numbers uniformly distributed between 0 and 1. Inigo chooses one of the numbers to ...
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4answers
678 views

Nerves of Steel (a dice game)

A carnival offers a game, called Nerves of Steel. It is played with a standard die, except that the "six" has been replaced with a skull. You start by paying $7, then rolling the die. Each time you ...
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1answer
511 views

Expected number of squares in a 20x10 grid with 1% chance of removing each edge

Suppose I make a 20x10 grid out of match sticks, using 21 columns of 10 match sticks and 11 rows of 20 match sticks: ...
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3answers
2k views

Sliding Bolt Puzzle - fastest solution (time-wise)

This is a follow-up question for the Sliding Bolt Puzzle. If you have not solved it yet, you might want to head there first, as the extended discussion of its solution in this question will contain ...