50/50 Raffle & 🎳 Mathematicians

I used to be in a Sunday night bowling league with Sherry & Gordon Grabill here in San Antonio. (You USCC peeps remember Sherry…overnights CitiPhone manager, Sup Gate AVP, great lady!)

Every week, the league would hold a 50/50 raffle with 1 winner chosen. When you had the winning ticket, you’d get 1/2 the pot (money collected) & the league kept the other half for a celebration at season’s end.

They would sell 3 tickets for $1 (6 for $2, 9 for $3, etc.)…everything had to be in multiples of 3 for “full dollar amounts”.


At the start of the following season, I make a suggestion at the captains’ meeting that we merely sell 1 ticket for $1, 2 for $2, 3 for $3, etc. (instead of 3 tickets for $1, 6 for $2, 9 for $3).

And we’d simply save on the expense of the tickets we hadda supply & it would be easier to handle. Simpler for everyone.

Perhaps, too simple…

“Oh, no, Mike, you can’t do that!”

“Why not?”

“‘Cause then you wouldn’t have as many chances to win!”

💥  <  my brain exploding!

“What?!? If you sell $10 worth of tickets, whether you have 1 ticket out of 10 or 3 tickets out of 30, it’s the SAME EXACT ODDS!!! 1/10 = 3/30. You have a 10% chance of winning…no matter what!”

“No you don’t, Mike! With the current way, we have 3 times as many chances to win!”

“But so does everyone else!”

“No, you’re so wrong, Mike!”

“And I suppose if we sold 100 tickets for $1, you’d have a 100 times better chance of winning???”

“You don’t understand! Go sit down!”

I punched myself really hard about the head. Repeatedly.

I then went over to the bar to drown my sorrows & check prices for a lobotomy.

I ordered a beer.

But instead of giving the young lady a $1 bill, I gave her 4 quarters…

…and, damnit, that beer tasted 4 times as good as it normally does!!!

Thank you so much for listening!

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