My Math Forum Numb3rs TV show on russian roulette wrong?

October 10th, 2009, 04:40 AM   #1
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Numb3rs TV show on russian roulette wrong?

Quote:
 Detective 1: What's the point? One man lives, one man dies, whats the point? Why not just flip a coin? Math Prof 1: It's more complex than that. With one bullet, one spin, the gun passed back and forth, the game takes on nuance. To understand it you have to put yourself inside the game. Become it. Just like a ball dropped on a roulette wheel the bullet is chambered and spun, but unlike roulette where you eye can follow the ball the bullet becomes invisible, its location a mystery. Early on gamblers like to play long-shot and a one in six chance the gun will fire means 6-1 odds. It's a big payout if you guess right. The longer you play the worse the odds get. One in six becomes one in five. Then one in four and as chances increase that the gun will go off the bets become more even odds, the payout gets smaller until finally one player's luck runs out. The gamblers play the odds but psychology is also a factor here. Math Prof 2: People believe whatever they want right? if a player has a hot hand..and- Math Prof 1: He can't lose. Someone on a losing streak thinks their luck has got to change. So logic, emotion, greed.. they all play a part here.
Did they cover their figurative butts or did they fall prey to a fallacy? I guess it comes down to whether the chamber is spun each time, right?

 October 10th, 2009, 05:18 PM #2 Global Moderator     Joined: Nov 2006 From: UTC -5 Posts: 16,046 Thanks: 938 Math Focus: Number theory, computational mathematics, combinatorics, FOM, symbolic logic, TCS, algorithms Re: Numb3rs TV show on russian roulette wrong? Their analysis is correct if you don't spin the chamber. Obviously if you spin the chamber the odds are the same each time.

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