Thursday, August 11, 2011

What Are the Odds?

One of our local supermarkets is playing Yahtzee. So, one afternoon shortly after returning from the UK, Jay and I dragged in our jetlagged fannies, put away the groceries, and sat down at the kitchen table with 9 Yahtzee cards. Jay handed me a coin and we took turns scraping off the silver coating as we made our dice selections. Carelessly, we rarely got two matches in a row. Then, on one card I started at the last row—one 4, then two 4’s, 3—Now, we were more awake—4 and 5! Five 4’s in a row! We’d scratched off what the prize was on all of the other 8 cards: one dollar.
The commercial had said you could win $20,000. I didn’t scratch off the prize on my winning card because I was afraid I was supposed to wait. And, I tucked the winning card in my purse to redeem after church Sunday morning.
On our Sunday morning walk, I said, “What if I won $20,000?” Jay looked over and said, “Honey, you’ve won one dollar.” “Well, if it’s $40, we’ll take the kids out for lunch, and I’m not cooking.”
Later, at the supermarket service desk, the lady said it was perfectly fine to scratch off the prize before bringing in the card. So, expecting to reveal my one dollar winnings, I carefully removed the silver coating to reveal—I’d won—2 more Yahtzee cards—
After we made a few purchases to cook lunch, I held 3 new Yahtzee cards. Jay handed me a coin: “Rub them off right here.” No matches for me, but 2 of the cards’ prizes were for one dollar, and one card, 2 bucks.
What are the odds of selecting 5 matches on a Yahtzee card? Then, what are the odds that that card would be the only one out of 12 cards with no monetary value whatsoever?
That’s why I don’t gamble; that’s why I’m not much of a risk taker. That’s also why I got up and went to work this morning—and the reason I’ll do the same tomorrow.

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