Sunday, 15 July 2007

The Monty Hall Problem

This story is true, and comes from an American tv game show. Here is the situation. Finalists in a tv game show are invited up onto the stage, where there are three closed doors. The host explains that behind one of the doors is the star prize - a car. Behind each of the other two doors is just a goat. Obviously the contestant wants to win the car, but does not know which door conceals the car.
The host invites the contestant to choose one of the three doors. Let us suppose that our contestant chooses door number 3. Now, the host does not initially open the door chosen by the contestant. Instead he opens one of the other doors - let us say it is door number 1. The door that the host opens will always reveal a goat. Remember the host knows what is behind every door!
The contestant is now asked if they want to stick with their original choice, or if they want to change their mind, and choose the other remaining door that has not yet been opened. In this case number 2. The studio audience shout suggestions. What is the best strategy for the contestant? Does it make any difference whether they change their mind or stick with the original choice?

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