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Author: Subject: JULY 2008

Mood:  Bemused
posted on 8-30-2008 at 02:23 AM Edit Post Reply With Quote
JULY 2008


Probability: (Continued from June) The following poser was provided in June.

Knowing How Probability Works Helps You to Win at “Wizard”

Often you need to decide on a bid or on which card to play and you need to figure out the odds. Try the following problem to test your reasoning ability.
Suppose you're on a game show and you're given the choice of three doors. Behind one door is a car; behind the others, goats. The car and the goats were placed randomly behind the doors before the show. The rules of the game show are as follows: After you have chosen a door, the door remains closed for the time being. The game show host, who knows what is behind the doors, now has to open one of the two remaining doors, and the door he opens must have a goat behind it. If both remaining doors have goats behind them, he chooses one randomly. After the host opens a door with a goat, he will ask you to decide whether you want to stay with your first choice or to switch to the last remaining door. Imagine that you chose Door 1 and the host opens Door 3, which has a goat. He then asks you "Do you want to switch to Door Number 2?" Is it to your advantage to change your choice?
Note that the player may initially choose any of the three doors (not just Door 1), that the host opens a different door revealing a goat (not necessarily Door 3), and that he gives the player a second choice between the two remaining unopened doors. It is assumed that the player is trying to win the car.
There is a 1/3 chance that you'll hit the prize door, and a 2/3 chance that you'll miss the prize. If you do not switch, 1/3 is your probability to get the prize.
However, if you missed (and this with the probability of 2/3) then the prize is behind one of the remaining two doors. Furthermore, of these two, the host will open the empty one, leaving the prize door closed. Therefore, if you miss and then switch, you are certain to get the prize. Summing up, if you do not switch your chance of winning is 1/3 whereas if you do switch your chance of winning is 2/3.

OK OK I know that you are not happy so do not pester me. Go to: or or or

Keith Gill (Mr. Wizard) & Kevin Gill (Dr. Wizard) Are Honored

The Gill brothers of Brockton Keith and Kevin, went the distance for the Stonehill College men’s indoor track team recently.
A senior, Keith Gill won the 800 meters in 1 minute, 57.18 seconds, and was also part of the 800-meter relay that won with a time of 7:59.15. He was honored as the Northest-10 Conference “Athlete of the Year”.
Kevin Gill was first in the 1000 meters with a time of 2:29.92 and helped the distance medley relay team finish first. An equally impressive rookie campaign from Kevin resulted in his being recognized as the 2007-2008 Northeat-10 Conference “Freshman of the Year”
"Keith, a senior at Stonehill, was named NCAA Division 2 National Track Athlete of the Year after winning the New England Championships and running a 4:03 mile. Kevin, a freshman at Stonehill, was a 2-time All-American this past indoor track season in both the mile and the distance medley relay."
The Gill brothers were also highlighted in Sports Illustrated's “Faces in the Crowd” section a few months ago... here's the link):
Congratulation to both Keith & Kevin.

International Wizard Fest 2008
Hoping to see you on August 1-2 for Fun & Games.
Latest Updates at

A Brief & Undocumented History of Gaming (continued)

I arbitrarily selected Card Games as the ultimate category of gaming. I then posed the question:
What is the ultimate card game? I will not provide a definitive answer but this month I will explore the parameters of an ultimate card game.
What are the qualities necessary for a great card game?
First of all I will disqualify gambling for money as criteria of excellence. Simply cutting cards can be exhilarating and exciting if you are playing for $10 a cut.
Needless to say the initial prerequisite is the game must be fun to play. Players must enjoy playing and be eager to continue to play over an extended period of time. These criteria may be superfluous because it begs the question. What makes a card game ‘fun’?
In no particular order the criteria include:
1. Simple rules that are easily and quickly understood.
2. The ability to have a flexible number of players involved.
3. The ability to have players of different skill levels able to participate without ruining the game for other players.
4. A level of skill factor that makes the game more than just luck or chance.
5. An ever-changing set of possible scenarios to avoid repetition and sameness.
6. A range of variations in method of play to satisfy a wide assortment of players.
7. The “wow” factor. This is rather nebulous criterion but it is the composite result that must be generated by the previous 6 criterion.

By definition all casino card games are eliminated in the quest for the ultimate card game because with the gambling aspect removed they are notoriously dull. Other contenders include Bridge, Euchre, Hearts, Spades, Canasta and Wizard to mention but a few.
Apply the criterion listed above to each of the candidates and decide for yourself which one qualifies as the ultimate card game.

Wizard on Google Earth
Dougj has set up and updated “Wizard players in Google Earth”.
View at:

The locales of 185 Wizard players are currently available. If you wish to have your hometown, city, village, state, province etc included, please indicate your username and your location by email to:

Recent Results
Congratulations to:
1. cargobeep for winning the Top 10 for the month of June. Her 12th win: a record.
2. Mactonight for having the best S.R. (Skill Ratio) for the month of June. (2.1)
3. cargobeep for winning the “Wizard Status” Invitational Tournament of June 28.
4. sladist for winning the Hidden Bid Tournament of June 30.

That’s it…cheers,

Ken Fisher

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