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#29311 - 09/05/09 07:28 AM Re: Reality: Just between the ears [Re: Morgan]
Diavolo Offline
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Registered: 09/02/07
Posts: 4997
 Originally Posted By: Morgan
Strange things do happen, and beat the odds.
My sister had 20 winning rolls in a crap game with my brother-in-law in Vegas. Whats the odds of rolling winners that often the first time you play?


It only appears to beat the odds when looking at this crap game only. But if you would look at all the rolls done in that time frame in Vegas or even in that specific casino, 20 wins in a row are part of the expected outcome.

The fact that those twenty winning rolls happened to her and on her first time playing is more a matter of luck than maths. If she could do it over and over again, then she would beat the odds.

D.

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#29330 - 09/05/09 01:43 PM Re: Reality: Just between the ears [Re: Diavolo]
Diavolo Offline
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Registered: 09/02/07
Posts: 4997
To illustrate my point, check the video of Derren Brown's "The System". It explains pretty well how we tend to think that certain coincidences defy the odds but when when looking at the larger picture it is rather normal.

Derren Brown - The System

D.

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#29332 - 09/05/09 02:51 PM Re: Reality: Just between the ears [Re: Diavolo]
Jake999 Offline
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Registered: 11/02/08
Posts: 2230
Yep. Odds are pretty malleable things. In the whole of the world, the odds are that you won't meet many Mormons. In the state of Utah, the odds are that you will meet one within about two minutes.

Compaction and circumstance play a role in whether odds are impressive or just anecdotal. It's interesting that a person could make 20 straight passes at craps, but I've seen it happen several times, and have done it myself one night in Reno. So to me, it's a fun anecdote. The odds of it happening AGAIN are long, but not insurmountable. On the other hand, I have never had a Royal Flush in the decades that I have been gambling, so seeing one come up would give the impression that I beat the odds, although I see WIZARDS conjure them up at tables and the poker machines every time I go to a casino. Keno... I've never won. I even took an 80 ways ticket and lost. What are the odds there????

I was talking to Tom Breitling, who used to own The Golden Nugget Casino in Las Vegas... (no, I don't KNOW him. He was having a drink at the bar and liked my hat, which started our conversation.) He told me that there are all kinds of things that happen in Las Vegas on a daily basis that people would take to be a miracle of chance to beat the odds. People hit record jackpots. People have huge runs at craps. People run tables at Blackjack. They peg several numbers at Roulette. His words stuck with me. "That's great, because the big winners are big free advertising, and a drop in the bucket in the win/loss columns, most of the time. But we're still here, and they're still building major casinos in Vegas. Why? Because even when you're losing a few hundred thousand dollars, the laws of probability always favor the house."

The roll of the dice, the turn of the card, the stop of the wheel... they really don't have that much to do with odds, except statistically in a historical context. They're all "Zero memory, single event" circumstances. The only hand that matters is the one being played; the reality of the moment.
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