Bad at math
December 25, 2013 4:43 AM Subscribe
I have a question about probability math. I am essentially flipping a coin (except instead of a 50/50 chance, my odds are 50.5% heads, 49.5% tails).
I am concerned with the probability of me hitting heads (a 50.5% chance) several times in a row.
posted by disillusioned to Science & Nature (42 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I understand the basic formula for determining the probability would be 0.505^x, where x is the number of coin flips. How do I translate this percentage chance into a number of flips I could make before I could expect to hit that result? Or the amount of time (at, say, one flip per second) that might pass before I reasonably hit a certain streak?
Say I'm wondering how long it will take me to hit a streak of 14 heads in a row, assuming one flip per second. 14 heads in a row has a 0.007% chance of occurring... so can I translate that into an amount of time (or number of flips) that might elapse before that happens?
I guess I'm confused by the idea that the probability essentially resets every time the streak is broken.
I'm pretty tired and this is pretty weird and I'm bad at math, so please feel free to call out the obvious thing I'm missing here.