Sunday, October 23, 2011

Math Teachers and Gambling

Okay, just wanted to report back on my 'gambling adventure' on my 21st anniversary while at the NCTM Regional Math Conference in Atlantic City.  In my post, I believe I referenced the idea that I would put 21 dollars down on 21 at the roulette table.

So, with my good friends and colleagues at the casino, after a lovely dinner, I went right up to the roulette table to get my chips.  Apparently, lots of etiquette rules on how to get the chips and place the bet - thank goodness the nice gentlemen next to me filled me in!  I shared the anniversary story and the man next to me suggested that instead of placing my 21 dollars on 21, to place my bet at the bottom of the column where the 21 resided, where I would get 2-to-1 odds if it landed on any number in that column, which included the 21.  I would have more likelihood of winning....it's all about the odds.

And here is where I believe math teachers are at a disadvantage in gambling - we know the odds and we know they are not good...stacked against us.  The odds of hitting 21 (i.e. single number) are 2.6%, though the pay out is 35-to-1. The odds of hitting a number in a column are 31.58%, but with only a 2-to-1 pay out.  What to do, what to do....?! 

Hah...no brainer for this math teacher who hates to lose money and can do some quick calculating.  I went column.  And won. And then walked with 42 dollars more than I started with.

I am not going to be able to pay off the house or my daughter's college tuition, but I am a winner.  Cheap and a bad gambler, but a winner!

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