Monday, March 28, 2011

What are the odds?

If you read this blog regularly, you may remember my probability post concerning the roll up the rim to win Tim Horton's cups. At the time i posted it, i was running at a winning cup every two drink purchases. Since then, i haven't seen a single winner in 13 cups (unlucky??). At first glance, it would seem that i have had a run of bad luck. But when you look closely at the numbers, and compare them to the stated odds of Tim Horton's winning cups (1 in 6 this year), it would seem that i could have easily anticipated my string of 'bad luck'.

Right now i sit at 2 wins out of 17 cups. Taking the 1 in 6 odds that Tim Horton's advertises, one might think my next purchase should very well be a winning cup. 1 in 6 odds would mean 3 wins for every 18 cups purchased. However, by that logic, could i potentially not see a winning cup until the 23rd cup purchased, followed by a second win in a row at cup number 24??? This would still give me 1 in 6 odds, should the 23rd and 24th cup prove to be winners.

So next time you think you've hit a run of bad luck, or a jackpot of multiple winners, remember the math behind it all, and that the odds were right there in front of you the entire time.

1 comment:

  1. u have a great blog.

    thx 4 taking the time
    and effort to inform us.

    i have adopted and learned
    from u.