Some people offer advice on how to win at games of chance, or how
to influence probability in your favour for an easier, happier
life. For each statement below, decide whether you think it is good
advice, and use your mathematical understanding to justify your
Lottery advice: (for information on how lotteries work,
Roughly equal numbers of odd and even are drawn most weeks, so you
should pick a good mixture of odds and evens.
Choose six numbers with a total between 100 and 200, because the
total is rarely outside this range.
Never choose six numbers all from the same group - for example, all
single digits, all multiples of five, all with the same last
Always pick some higher numbers from the 30s and 40s.
If tails has come up on the last 9 occasions then it's a good idea
to call tails again.
Winning at Roulette:
If red has come up lots of times in a row, you should bet on black
Snakes on a plane:
When you're flying, always take a pet snake with you in your hand
luggage. The probability of there being TWO snakes on the plane is
almost zero, so you will be safe from snake attack.
Staying dry at the cricket
Follow the example of the famous mathematician Hardy and take an
umbrella with you to cricket matches. If you forget your umbrella
it is more likely to rain, so if you remember to take it with you
it is more likely to be sunny all day.
Send us your thoughts on these
pieces of advice, as well as any other examples you can find of
people giving unhelpful advice based on statistics and