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Subject: Serious Stats for a Silly Game rss

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Mike W
United States
Illinois
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Back in college, I would occasionally play some Pig Mania. Being the geek that I was (am), I wondered what was the chance of getting a particular result when throwing the Pigs. Being the ubergeek that I was, I actually put forward the effort to track the rolls and calculate the empirical odds.

What follows are the occurrences of the different Pig Positions over the course of ten games with five players each. Total number of Pig rolls was 895.

Result, Number of Occurrences, Percentage
Razorback, 282, 31.5%
Sider, 220, 24.6%
Pig Out, 201, 22.5%
Hoofer, 80, 8.9% (also called "Trotter"?)
Double Razorback, 40, 4.5%
Mixed Combo, 29, 3.2%
Snouter, 24, 2.7%
Leaning Jowler, 13, 1.5%
Double Hoofer, 5, 0.6%
Makin Bacon, 1, 0.1% (also called "Oinker"?)
Double Snouter, 0
Double Jowler, 0

For the 29 "Mixed Combos" results: 20 were Hoofer-Razorback, 3 were Snouter-Razorback, 3 were Jowler-Razorback, 2 were Snouter-Hoofer, and 1 was Jowler-Snouter (that was quite a roll!).

Treating each Pig individually, the next table shows the number of occurrences for each position out of 1790 Pigs:

Result, Number of Occurrences, Percentage
On Side, 1243, 69.4%
Razorback, 388, 21.7%
Hoofer, 112, 6.3%
Snouter, 30, 1.7%
Leaning Jowler, 17, 0.9%

I would say the only amount of "skill" in this game is in trying to avoid the point-wiping "Makin Bacon/Oinker" result. I seem to remember being able to throw the Pigs in such a way that they should be well away from each other. Other than that, the roller has no control on the Pigs' final positions.

Keep these numbers in mind the next time you decide to "Hog Call"!

EDIT - Let me add that these results were from a smooth table as I recall. There an idea presented in the "Double Leaning Jowler" thread that the Jowler might be more common when rolled on a table cloth. My single-Pig results would suggest the occurrence of the Double Jowler would be once every 12,000 throws.
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ɹǝsɐɹɟ
Australia
Melbourne
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Back in the days when there were less maps we played every map back to back
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Ooh a little higher, now a bit to the left, a little more, a little more, just a bit more. Oooh yes, that's the spot!
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Based on these stats you can see why the line from the play Serious Money (which is the reason we first bought Pass the Pigs) is

Serious Money wrote:
As I live and breathe, a double leaning jowler
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Adam D.
United States
Suquamish
Washington
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Done it once. Have a witness. But then, we used to "pass" a lot of time playing pigs on the ferry ride home.

Interesting stats. We thought about writing them down but never did.
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Jon C
United States
Portland
Oregon
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Interesting statistics. I was always curious about Pass the Pigs' porcine probability. Thanks for sharing!
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Paul Owen
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Lorton
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I'm really impressed that you kept track of these rolls. Based on your results, I ran the numbers to figure out the threshold at which you should stop rolling and posted the results on my blog.
http://paulowengames.blogspot.com/2012/01/risk-management-an...

I concluded that I have been playing way too conservatively.
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いい竹やぶだ!

South Euclid
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pdowen3 wrote:
I'm really impressed that you kept track of these rolls. Based on your results, I ran the numbers to figure out the threshold at which you should stop rolling and posted the results on my blog.
http://paulowengames.blogspot.com/2012/01/risk-management-an...

I concluded that I have been playing way too conservatively.

Nice statistics work! I was thinking about doing the same analysis, and found you'd scooped me.

I noticed that in Mike W's stats, the number of Siders (same side, 220) is slightly larger than the number of Pig Outs (201), whereas in your analysis you treated these as equally probable. Because the pigs are not bilaterally symmetrical (feet are close together on one side, far apart on the other), I'd expect them to land on one side more often than the other—but of course the difference may be very small. As it happens, given that the pigs both land on their side, the frequency of Siders in the sample (220/421 = 52.25%) is not significantly different from 50%, so it's fair to assume equal probabilities. But if you wanted to be really compulsive, you could estimate that if the pigs land on their side, they land on one side about 39.4% of the time and on the other 60.6 percent of the time, so that both land on the same side (0.394)^2 * (0.606)^2 = 52.25% of the time.

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