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Bialek – Lovell – Schmidt


Spin, Drop, and Roll!

So, spinning and rolling sounds simple, doesn’t it? Well, you’re correct, it is simple! All

the player has to do is spin a spinner and roll dice. Fun, family-friendly, and heart-wrenching are

the best words to describe this game. Gabriel Bialek, Nick Lovell, and Renaldo Schmidt wanted

to design an easy and simple game for all people to play. Underneath this entertaining game lies

something crucial for carnival game makers all over the world to consider: probability. Please

enjoy the story behind the creation of this game as well as the rigorous journey of the probability

within Spin, Drop, and Roll!

Bialek – Lovell – Schmidt

I. Description, Rules & Directions

To play this game, the player walks up to the playing area which consists of a fair 3-

segment spinner on one side and a single pair of dice on the other side. The spinner’s segments

are labeled 1, 2, and 3. Being that the spinner is fair, not one segment of the spinner is more

likely to be spun on than another segment, as they are all equal. After spinning the spinner you

move on the dice stage. The number that you get on the spinner correlates to how many times

you roll the pair of dice. (e.g., rolling a 1 on the spinner means you get to roll the pair of dice

once, a 2 means 2 rolls of the dice, etc.) If a double is rolled, at any point while rolling the dice,

then the player wins, and can choose a prize. If not, the player loses.

1. When throwing the dice, ensure that they are rolled simultaneously and not one by one.

2. A double is defined as rolling the same numerical value for both dice within one toss.

(e.g., rolling a 1 and 1, 2 and 2, etc.)

3. A double can only be seen as two same-value dice within the same roll, and cannot be

combined across multiple rolls to the player’s advantage.


1. Approach the game.

2. Insert the fee to play into the slot ($2).

3. Spin the fair three-segment spinner.

4. The numerical result of the spin (1, 2, or 3) corresponds to how many pairs of dice the

player can roll.

5. After seeing how many dice can be rolled, go ahead and roll the correct number of pairs

of dice.

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6. Through however many chances the player has to get a double (depending on the number

from the spinner), as soon as a double is rolled, then the player can stop playing and

receive the prize of $6. If no doubles were rolled, however, the player loses.

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II. Theoretical Probability I

Figure 1. Weighted Tree Diagram of All Outcomes

This game can be represented by a weighted tree diagram by showing the branches from

the spin on the spinner to their respective branches depending on the spin on the spinner,

changing the number of dies tossed. Finding the probability of winning through each outcome is

important to find the overall probability of winning.

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It has been previously stated that the spinner was a fair spinner, and that each portion of

the spinner (labeled 1, 2, and 3) is of equal size. Therefore, it can be said that the probability of

achieving each of the three numbers is the same, ⅓.

As we progress, each of the outcomes of the spin (1, 2, or 3) has two branches. These two

branches represent the outcome of the dice roll. Recall that to be considered a win, the player has

to roll a double within their play. The probability of rolling a double when simultaneously rolling

2 fair 6-sided dice can be represented with a 2-dice probability chart.

Figure 2. 2-Dice Probability Chart (EdPlace)

Figure 2 shows all the possible outcomes for rolling two dice. The left column represents

one die and the top row represents the second. All of the other numbers within the chart are

representations of all the possible outcomes for a dice roll. Seeing as there are 36 total entries in

the chart, there are 36 total outcomes for rolling a pair of dice. 6 of these are doubles, where the

first number is the same as the second number. Therefore, the probability of rolling a double is


Just looking at the outcomes of spinning a 1, there is a win branch (rolling a double) and

a loss branch (not rolling a double). Since it is known that the probability of rolling a double, or

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winning, is ⅙, subtracting this number from 1 will yield the probability of losing, since the

events are complementary. This yields ⅚.

This changes when looking at the outcomes of spinning a 2, however. The first branch-

off is identical. However, the loss branch breaks into two new outcomes, again being winning

and losing. This is representative of the second pair of dice, seeing as spinning a 2 means that the

player can roll another pair of dice on top of the first pair. The reason that the first win outcome

does not break off, however, is because there is no purpose to roll again if the player has won.

This is why only the lose outcome for the first pair of dice breaks again. The same concept is

applied to the branch involving a spin of 3 on the spinner, instead this time the loss branch of the

second pair of dice goes and creates branches for the third pair of dice.

Moving forward, the probability of each individual outcome can be calculated by

multiplying the probabilities of each event through until there are no more branches. For

example, to find the probability of winning given the player spun a 1, ⅓ would just be multiplied

with ⅙, giving 1/18 or about 5.5555%. For spins with multiple opportunities of winning, the

weighted probabilities of all winning outcomes are added together. For example, the probability

of winning when spinning a 2 would be the probability of winning with the first die (⅓ * ⅙)

added to the probability of winning with the second die (⅓ * ⅚ * ⅙). This gives the probability

of winning given spinning a 2. The total probability of winning is found the same way, adding

the probabilities of winning within each spinner, respectively. These final numbers are listed in

the figure below.

Bialek – Lovell – Schmidt

P(winning when a 1 is spun) = 1/18 or 5.5555%

P(winning when a 2 is spun) = 11/108 or 10.1852%

P(winning when a 3 is spun) = 91/648 or 14.0432%

P(winning overall) = 193/648 or 29.7840%

P(losing overall) =455/648 = 70.2160%

Figure 3. Theoretical Probabilities of Winning/Losing

Figure 3 above shows the theoretical probabilities of winning within the circumstances of

having spun a 1, 2, or 3, on the spinner, respectively, as well as the overall probability of

winning and losing when playing this game.

Bialek – Lovell – Schmidt

III. Theoretical Probability II

The expected amount of money that is won or lost by the player is the expected value of

the game. The probability distribution, which helps to find the expected value, shows the

possible monetary outcomes as well as their probabilities.

Table 1
Probability Distribution Chart for the Theoretical Probabilities
$ -2 4

P($) 455/648 193/648

Table 1 shows the probability distribution for this game. There are only two possible

monetary outcomes, $-2 and $4. This is because the cost of the game is $2 and the winning

amount is $6. When $2 is spent to play the game and the player loses, they are left with less

money than they had, giving the negative value. When the player wins, the $6 winning amount

has $2 subtracted from it, because this is the cost of the game, so the net take away amount is $4.

In part II., the probability of losing and winning were found.

($*P($))= (455/648 * -2) + (193/648 * 4)

= $-0.21

Figure 4. Expected Value of the Game

The expected value can be found by multiplying each monetary outcome (for winning

and losing) by their respective probabilities, and taking the sum of these two values. This value

of $-0.21 means that in the long run, the player loses $-0.21, or in other words, the operator gains


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IV. Relative Frequencies

Table 2
Actual Game Trials

The table above represents the recordings of the 50 actual trials that were conducted.

Only 24 of them are shown here. The first column represents the number yielded from the

spinner. The next 6 columns represent the numerical values of the die rolls. Even though the dice

were rolled simultaneously, each have their own column. Some of them are blank because in

some cases the spinner gave a 1 or 2 as an outcome, and only 1 or 2 sets of dice had to be rolled,

respectively. The results were examined, and the win/loss outcome was decided based on the

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numbers rolled. If two numbers of the same value showed up within a trial, that trial would be a

win. The rule that dice doubles may not overlap from 2 separate pairs still applies.

Table 3
Probability Distribution Chart for the Actual Experimental Probabilities
$ -2 4

P($) 42/50 8/50

Table 3 shows the probability distribution for the actual experimental probabilities. It is

almost the same as the distribution for the theoretical probabilities, except the probabilities have

changed. Since there were 50 trials and 8 of them were wins, the probability of winning is 8/50,

and the complement is the probability of losing. The dollar amounts still remain the same.

($*P($))= (42/50 * -2) + (8/50 * 4)

= $-1.04

Figure 5. Expected Value of the Actual Experimental Probabilities

Calculating the expected value is the same process no matter what the probabilities are.

In this case the expected value was $-1.04.

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Table 4
Simulated Game Trials

This table shows the first and last 8 (of 500) simulated trials through the TI-Nspire

calculator software. A Monte Carlo situation was run to simulate the dice rolls. To start off, the

first column consists of random generated integers from 1 through 3, representing the possible

outcomes from the spinner. The next three columns are dice rolls. The probability of a win from

one dice roll can be quantified with the value ⅙, because ⅙ of the outcomes of a pair of dice

being tossed are doubles. In this case, the integers generated randomly for the three ‘dice

columns’ are 1-6. A 1 was assigned as a double because theoretically, it represents ⅙ of the total

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outcomes. After generating the sets of random numbers, each trial was analyzed. Keep in mind

that some numbers were discarded in the decision of whether it was a win or a loss, because

trials could have a 1 or 2 for the spinner number, meaning the decision was based on only the

first or second dice rolls. If a trial had a 1 anywhere contained within the row, then the trial was

considered a win. Otherwise, it was a loss. Through analyzing all 500 simulated trials, 150 of

them were wins.

Table 5
Probability Distribution Chart for the Simulated Experimental Probabilities
$ -2 4

P($) 350/500 150/500

Table 5 shows the probability distribution for the simulated experimental probabilities.

This distribution is the same as the one for the theoretical probabilities, except the number of

wins in the simulations reflect onto the updated probabilities. Since 500 trials were conducted

and 150 were wins, the probability of winning is 150/500, and the complement of this is the

probability of losing. The numerical dollar values remain the same.

($*P($))= (350/500 * -2) + (150/500 * 4)

= $-0.20

Figure 6. Expected Value of the Simulated Probabilities

The process of calculating the expected value, shown above, is identical to before. With

the new probabilities, the expected value of the simulated probabilities is $-.20, very similar to

the theoretical expected value.

Bialek – Lovell – Schmidt

Figure 7. Java Program Summary

The Java program simulation above was used for the simulation of 5,000 trials and was

used to determine how many wins and losses there were in total, as well as the percentage of

winning and losing in the simulation. In this program, there were 1471 wins and 3529 losses.

The winning percentage was 29.42% and the losing percentage was 70.58%. The program first

randomized the spinner number between 1 and 3 inclusive to simulate the person spinning the

spinner. Then, considering the qualities needed to have a double, the program analyzed where

doubles were present. It did that for each outcome of the spinner, which were 1, 2, and 3.

The program then randomized the dice number between 1 and 6 inclusive to simulate

someone rolling the pair of dice. It did this twice to act as two dice rolling simultaneously, hence

the variables ‘dice1’ and ‘dice2’ appear. The program then also stops when there is a win. If a

person spins a 3 on the spinner and gets doubles two times in a row, the program knows to stop

on the first double. Lastly, the program prints out a summary of the 5,000 trials including how

many wins and losses, and the win and loss percentage.

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Table 6
Probability Distribution Chart for the Java Program Simulation
$ -2 4

P($) 3529/5000 1471/5000

Table 6 shows the probability distribution for the Java program simulation of the 5,000

trials. The probability distribution shows the probability of winning and the probability of losing.

The Java program simulation printed out the number of wins. The number of losses was the

compliment, or just 1 - P(winning). Since this is out of 5,000 trials, the probability of winning is

3529/5000 and the probability of losing is 1471/5000. This probability distribution was then used

to determine the expected value of the 5,000 trials.

($*P($))= (3529/5000 * -2) + (1471/5000 * 4)

= $-0.23
Figure 8. Expected Value of the Java Simulated Probabilities

The process of calculating the expected value is shown above. The expected value of the

Java program simulation is $-0.23 which is comparable to the expected value of the 500 trials

done by the TI-nspire CX, as well as the theoretical probabilities.

For all three simulations, the expected value was negative which means that for all three,

the game benefits the operator, not the player. The simulation for the Java program and the TI-

nspire CX were extremely comparable, with the difference being only 3 cents. With this negative

value, this shows that the game is unfair and it is unfair to the player. All three simulations had

different expected values. For the actual trials of the game, where the game is actually played 50

times, the expected value was $-1.04, which is a lot different from the two other simulations, the

TI-nspire CX and the Java program. The TI-nspire CX had an expected value of $-0.20 and the

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expected value for the Java program was $-0.23. These both are extremely similar to the initially

calculated theoretical probability expected value, $-0.21. This probably indicates a bad follow-

through of the game while being played, possibly due to poor tossing, or a poorly designed


V. Summary

The Spin and Roll Game should be added to the carnival because it certainly eye-

catching, easy to play, and suits for all ages. Not only this, but in the end, you end up making

profit from players playing the game. This was determined by going through the process of

expected value. Expected value determines how much the player/operator will gain in the long

run. For the first simulation where we had to play the game 50 times, the expected value was

calculated to be $-1.04. For the TI-nspire CX simulation, the expected value was calculated to be

$-0.20 and lastly for the Java program, the expected value was calculated to be $-0.23. All three

simulations end up giving you a profit and for the players, and the price to play the game is

inexpensive so people are going to be more willing to play the game. The game only costs $2 to

play. It will not seem quite as rigged as other games due to the relatively low profit of the game,

as seen by the simulations.

Creating the Spin and Roll game took a lot of effort from all team members. In the start

of making the game, all three team members worked on formulating what kind of game it should

be and if it was going to be playable or not. After that, all team members had a really difficult

task of figuring out the theoretical probability, but it was done. All three of us worked on it so

that we can check over each others’ work and see if the theoretical probability is correct. From

there, we had to do all simulations. Nick actually played the game 50 times, Gabriel made the

calculator simulation, and all of us made the Java program simulation. With these simulations

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being completed, the prize of winning and the cost of entering was calculated so that it would

make it unfair to the player. This needs to be done so that the carnival game can make some

profit. $2 to enter and $6 being the prize was chosen for all simulations so that it made profit for

the operator. Renaldo and Gabriel contributed the most to building the game by using all the

parts and pieces to build it. Nick contributed the most to the formatting and writing of the whole

paper, with some help from Gabriel. The Spin and Roll game took a lot of effort and time to

complete, but in the end, it all worked out perfectly so we hope that this game can end up as your

favorite carnival game.

Bialek – Lovell – Schmidt

Appendix A: Carnival Game Java Program Simulation

Bialek – Lovell – Schmidt

Works Cited

“Sample Space Diagrams.” Https://, 2018,