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What Are The Odds?

June 19, 2022

Probability is all around us. Anything that is possible has a chance of happening given the sheer number of events taking place all over the world every day. The odds of winning big online casino jackpots or meeting the love of your life are long, but never zero. If anything weird has ever happened to you and you’ve wondered “what are the odds of that”, wonder no more. According to The Book of Odds (2014), you have the following chances of experiencing these select events.

Less than 10/1 odds of winning

Few things are certain, but many things have a decent enough chance of happening.

You win playing a scratchcard (3.15/1)

The best scratchcard odds in the UK are 3.15/1 for a win. Of course, in this case “a win” includes breaking even and winning a second scratchcard for another go.

A female friend has cried after a haircut (4/1)

The Book of Odds claims that one in five women have cried after a bad haircut. So if you have five female friends, chances are one of them fits this stat. Take a look at their hairdos and guess which one it is.

A male friend doesn’t wash his hands after using the loo (4.4/1)

You know who you are.

You believe aliens live among us (5/1)

According to one poll, almost one-sixth of people believe that aliens have invaded the Earth and are living among us disguised as humans. This number will vary dramatically depending on whether or not you’ve done your polling at an asylum.

A male friend has suggested his partner get cosmetic surgery (8/1)

Hopefully this isn’t the same male friend that doesn’t wash his hands after using the toilet, because if so he sounds like a real piece of work.

50/1 or less odds of winning

We’re still within the realms of reasonable probability here but getting a bit unlikely.

You believe Elvis is alive (12/1)

Another poll documented in The Book of Odds and once again, your polling audience will impact the results here. How many of these people also believe in the aliens thing, do you think?

You are dealt blackjack (20/1)

If you sit down at a blackjack table and get dealt a natural blackjack, congratulations. This “winner winner chicken dinner” moment only has a 4.8% chance of occurring in any given hand.

Zero hits in roulette (36/1)

You were wise to play European roulette instead of American roulette. Unfortunately in this case it hasn’t helped you – unless your regular bet is to bet on zero. Deviant.

You’re smart enough to get into MENSA (50/1)

Or to put that in a very MENSA way, you’re in the 98th percentile for intelligence. MENSA requires you score in the top 2% on standardised IQ tests in order to receive entry.

Under 500/1 odds of winning

We’ve strayed into “that’s remarkable” territory here.

You die on a space shuttle mission (100/1)

Naturally, The Book of Odds means that any given astronaut on a space shuttle mission has these odds of dying. The average person is extremely unlikely to die on a space shuttle mission… unless their ordinary day at the office goes really badly.

You are dealt aces in Texas Hold’em (221/1)

The odds of those aces being cracked and you telling a bad beat story to anyone who will listen? Almost certain.

You met your partner at a New Year’s Eve party (465/1)

New year, new you, new partner. Almost one in five hundred people reported meeting their partner while singing Auld Lang Syne.

Very unlikely odds of winning

Of course, some things are just longshots.

You’re injured in a freak accident involving horseshoes (123,542/1)

Horseshoes may be a symbol of good luck, but there’s a non-zero chance that you might not feel that way according to The Book of Odds. Of course, if you’re a farrier or a jockey then these odds likely fall pretty rapidly…

Odds of winning a scratchcard jackpot (3,985,600/1)

This depends on the scratchcard, but on average you’re almost a million times more likely to get your £1 back than you are to cash in your scratchcard winnings for a mansion.

You win the National Lottery (45,057,474/1)

It could be you. It probably won’t be. But it could be. Technically.

Odds of winning a Las Vegas slots jackpot (50,000,000/1)

Sounds doable? Unfortunately this is the most generous assessment. Some slot machines have jackpot odds of over 600,000,000/1.

You die in a vending machine accident this year (112,000,000/1)

The common cause of vending machine injury is crushing as people shake the machine to try and retrieve a stuck snack. But with odds as long as those, it might be worth it to get that Twix…

Odds of winning the EuroMillions (139,838,160/1)

Be careful of vending machines on your way to buy that ticket.