Hard Probability puzzle Solution - 14 February
Three people enter a room and have a green or blue hat placed on their head. They cannot see their own hat, but can see the other hats.
The color of each hat is purely random. They could all be green, or blue, or any combination of green and blue.
They need to guess their own hat color by writing it on a piece of paper, or they can write 'pass'.
They cannot communicate with each other in any way once the game starts. But they can have a strategy meeting before the game.
If at least one of them guesses correctly they win $50,000 each, but if anyone guess incorrectly they all get nothing.
What is the best strategy?
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Simple strategy: Elect one person to be the guesser, the other two pass. The guesser chooses randomly 'green' or 'blue'. This gives them a 50% chance of winning.
Better strategy: If you see two blue or two green hats, then write down the opposite color, otherwise write down 'pass'.
It works like this ('-' means 'pass'):
Hats: GGG, Guess: BBB, Result: Lose
Hats: GGB, Guess: --B, Result: Win
Hats: GBG, Guess: -B-, Result: Win
Hats: GBB, Guess: G--, Result: Win
Hats: BGG, Guess: B--, Result: Win
Hats: BGB, Guess: -G-, Result: Win
Hats: BBG, Guess: --G, Result: Win
Hats: BBB, Guess: GGG, Result: Lose
Result: 75% chance of winning!