Monday, May 07, 2007

50 ways to lose your money

The E-N reported this weekend that the Texas Lottery has a new $50 scratch off game for gamblers who just can’t seem to throw their money away fast enough.
The odds for winning the million dollar prize are astronomical — 1 in 618,000. You have a much better chance of being killed in a car wreck on your way over to cash in your winning ticket.
But what people don’t seem to realize is how bad their odds are of winning anything. The odds to just break even (i.e. to win $50) are greater than 1 in 6. That’s crazy!
Imagine walking up to someone and handing them $50 for the chance to roll a six-sided die. Let’s say you are trying to roll a six. If you don’t hit it on your first try, they put your money in their pocket and walk away. If you do luck out and roll a six, then you get your money back. Whoop-de-doo!
In order to double your money and win $100, the odds are 1 in 20. As an old D&D player, I’m very familiar with 1-in-20 odds because a 20-sided die is used quite a bit in fantasy roleplaying games. Needless to say, I would be extremely poor if I had to shell out $50 everytime I missed rolling a 20 on a 20-sided die. Try it some time!

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