Recently, friend of the blog Chris Begley sent me an article about some interesting math facts. Most of them were about probability and how many people misinterpret the likelihood of various events happening based on bad assumptions about probability.
For instance, since you have a 50/50 chance of heads or tails when you flip a coin, it seems logical that if you flipped a coin ten times, you’d get heads five times and tails five times, whereas in reality, it’s common to have runs of one result or the other that fly in the face of that simple 50/50 assumption.
But that wasn’t the fact that caught my eye. I thought it was much more intriguing that not all spaces on a Monopoly board have an equal likelihood of being landed on.
And that can affect how you play. For instance, if you believe each spot has an equal chance of being landed on — 1 in 40, given the 40 squares on the board — you might opt to buy all three colors in a given area to give yourself a 3/40 chance (7.5%), or you might go for all 4 railroads to give yourself a 4/40 chance (10%).
[A breakdown of spaces and likelihood of landing, based on the UK version.
(Chance and Community Chest cards differ between UK and US versions,
though probabilities for spaces in the US version are quite similar.)]
But that’s not how Monopoly actually works. Some spaces are far more likely than others. This is partly due to rolling two dice every time you move (which makes 6, 7, or 8 spaces the most likely results). There are also rule cards that make some squares more likely than others.
The most common space to land on is Jail (due in no small part to the Go to Jail square and where Chance and Community Chest cards send you). The most common PROPERTY to land on is Illinois Avenue, followed by B&O Railroad, Tennessee Avenue, New York Avenue, and Reading Railroad.
[A breakdown of space probabilities for the US version of the game.]
On the flip side, Mediterranean Avenue is the least likely to be landed on, followed by Baltic Avenue, Luxury Tax, Park Place, and Oriental Avenue. (Again, the Go to Jail square comes into play, as Park Place is seven squares away and the most common dice roll is 7.)
I like that a little properly applied math might make you a better Monopoly player. (Though if I’m going to walk the Boardwalk, I’d rather be playing The Doom That Came to Atlantic City.)
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