Monday, October 20, 2014

Bad beat

Remember the nice new car I was so excited about not too long ago? Jackass in an old pickup truck wasn't paying attention on the highway and slammed into it. A line of cars stopped for some unknown reason. Everybody managed to stop safely except for him. After he pushed me forward, I very nearly hit the car in front of me, but fortunately had left j-u-s-t enough room not to.

Submit your guesses in the comments as to what the final repair bill will be. Closest (over or under, not Price Is Right rules) wins--I don't know what.

PokerNews article #36

Does your opponent have that flush? Here's how to tell.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Probability puzzle

This has nothing to do with poker directly, but this week's Sunday Puzzle on NPR is an interesting exercise of your probability-thinking muscles.

Next week's challenge: The following challenge is based on a puzzle from a Martin Gardner book, that may not be well-known. Out of a regular grade school classroom, two students are chosen at random. Both happen to have blue eyes. If the odds are exactly 50-50 that two randomly chosen students in the class will have blue eyes: How many students are in the class?
I got the answer, but it was really difficult. I ended up having to set up a spreadsheet to automatically calculate the number of ways to select two children from a classroom of n students. This allowed me to play with both the number of students and the number of those that have blue eyes, until I found the combination that worked. 

Maybe there's a simpler, more intuitive way of getting at the answer, instead of using brute force the way I did--but if so, it escaped me. I predict that they will have very, very few correct answers submitted.