Is A Coin Toss Fair?

Posted By Guest on August 26, 2009

Are Coin Flips Unfair?

Have you ever flipped a coin as a way of deciding something with another person? The answer is probably yes. And you probably did so assuming you were getting a fair deal, because, as everybody knows, a coin is equally likely to show heads or tails after a single flip—unless it's been shaved or weighted. But not so fast.

The sacred coin flip exhibits (at minimum) a whopping 1% bias.

- Stanford Study

Dynamic Bias in The Coin Toss: The 50-50 proposition is actually more of a 51-49 proposition, if not worse. The sacred coin flip exhibits (at minimum) a whopping 1% bias, and possibly much more. 1% may not sound like a lot, but it's more than the typical casino edge in a game of blackjack or slots. What's more, you can take advantage of this little-known fact to give yourself an edge in all future coin-flip battles.

Is A Coin Toss Unfair?

Summary of Study:

1. If the coin is tossed and caught, it has about a 51% chance of landing on the same face it was launched. (If it starts out as heads, there's a 51% chance it will end as heads).

2. If the coin is spun, rather than tossed, it can have a much-larger-than-50% chance of ending with the heavier side down. Spun coins can exhibit "huge bias" (some spun coins will fall tails-up 80% of the time).

3. If the coin is tossed and allowed to clatter to the floor, this probably adds randomness.

4. If the coin is tossed and allowed to clatter to the floor where it spins, as will sometimes happen, the above spinning bias probably comes into play. Read More

Categories: