Posts Tagged ‘switch or stay’

Let’s Make a Deal

April 21, 2011

I love this problem – even though it is just an exercise – it’s still kind of fun to work out.

It is also known as The Monty Hall and was floating around a while back in the early 1990’s on Marilyn vos Savant’s web page. Most of my current students have little or no idea who Monty Hall is and so I have fun explaining to them the whole idea behind the game show, Let’s Make a Deal.

Anyway, readers of this blog are probably familiar with the show and the problem, but for completeness sake, here it is in a nutshell.

You are on a game show where there are 3 doors. Behind two of the doors is a mule, and behind the third door is a Cadillac. You choose a door. The host then gives you an opportunity to switch your choice after opening one of the three doors – not the one you chose, of course – and revealing what is behind it. The question is, should you switch or keep to your original choice?

You have no doubt already clicked on the link above and checked out the solution, so you know that in the long run it is actually to your advantage to switch after the host reveals what is behind one of the unopened doors. But I have another question for you: What if there are 4 doors, and after you select one, the host reveals what is behind one of the remaining 3 doors – not the one you selected, of course – and gives you the option of switching. What should you do? And what is the exact probability of winning or losing in any case?

I’ll post an answer soon – unless you beat me to it! No Googling, now!

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