Feb
04
2013

I am Cursed at Superbowl Squares

Once again, I failed to win any money at SuperBowl Squares. I am a lucky man in nearly every way in life, but in this one way, I am ridiculously unlucky. Consider:

  • I have been playing for approximately twenty years.
  • Each year, I have four chances to win.
  • Each year, I buy between 5 and 25 squares. Yes, two years I bought 25 squares and still came up empty.

What are the odds?

  • 5 out of 100 squares: (.95) ^ 4 = 18.5% chance of winning
  • 10 out of 100 squares: (.90) ^ 4 = 34.3% chance of winning
  • 25 out of 100 squares: (.75) ^ 4 = 68.3% chance of winning

Most years I took between five and 10 squares. I did not keep records, but I guess the breakdown is something like this (I am being conservative):

  • 14 years of 5 squares = (1-18.5%)^14 = 5.7% chance of losing each of these years.
  • 4 years of 10 squares = (1-34.3)^4 = 18% chance of losing each of these years.
  • 2 years of 25 squares= (1-68.3)^2 = 10% chance of losing each of these years.

Put it all together. 5.7% * 18% * 10% = 0.1%, or 1 in 1,000. I am at the 99.9%th percentile for losing. Yay, I’m exceptional!

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