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Up In The Air: Are Coin Tosses Fair?

Are you looking for an extra edge at Flip Night? Everyone has flipped a coin at some point in his or her life and most likely you have seen it land heads up as well as tails up, unless the coin was rigged in some way or the person flipping the coin is a magician.

A coin does have a third side; however, I have never seen a coin land on its side, therefore we assume that the coin has an equal chance of landing on either heads or tails. But according to a group of Stanford researchers who presumably have a whole lot of time on their hands, the revered coin flip isn’t all that neutral. In fact, it’s downright biased.

Even if the coin in question is perfectly manufactured, perfectly clean and free of all factors that might influence the flip, the potential results of a coin toss are about 51-49, not 50-50 as most of us believe.

The research states that it’s possible to predict the outcome of a coin toss based on which side is face-up before the flip – though there are still a few ways to introduce a bit of randomness into the mix. Check out the research project for a detailed and sciencey explanation.

After you read the research project, engage in a few practice tosses then come down to The Front Porch for Flip Night!