What is the probability of getting heads in a coin toss?

If you answered 50%, you wouldn’t be as smart as 9 year old me.  You see research has come out that essentially says that we all pretty much toss a coin the same way every time.  So there is actually a 51% chance that the coin will turn up the same side that you initially have the coin.

But the metaphor of a coin flip for randomness remains unquestioned. We use coin tosses to settle disputes and decide outcomes because we believe they are unbiased with 50-50 odds.Yet recent research into coin flips has discovered that the laws of mechanics determine the outcome of coin tosses: The startling finding is they aren’t random. Instead, for natural flips, the chance of a coin coming up on the same side as it started is about 51 percent. Heads facing up predicts heads; tails facing up predicts tails.

Personally I noticed this phenomena as a kid and could land a coin that was tails up back to tails after a flip about 75% of the time.  Naturally I used this to my advantage when doing coin tosses for playing football or other “who goes first” activity.

I would always start with tails up because more often than not when you flip a coin, people  seem to always say “heads”.


Too bad I wasn’t smart enough to publish my research.

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  1. Phillyzero says:

    Time to win some coin toss bets 😀

  2. Danica says:

    Tails never fails. 😀

  3. Nate Fakes says:

    I always have better luck with tails.

  4. John K says:

    I always call tails and seem to win more than I lose, but the real test to this will be if NFL teams start to only call heads.

  5. George says:

    The probability of me getting head is close to nil.

    Oh, wait! Different blog. I read it wrong. Sorry for the confusion.

  6. Tony says:

    Well it just goes to show that you can argue with me but you can’t argue with research

  7. spilledinkguy says:

    I always call the edge … I know that some day it’s really gonna’ happen! 🙂

  8. bearman says:

    Know your audience. If your buddy tries to outthink you and call tails then start with heads up.

  9. Sheila Deeth says:

    Ah, the joys of growing up with mathematicians. Nobody was allowed to “choose” which way up the coin started either, or it wouldn’t be “random.”

  10. frigginloon says:

    So Bearman, whats the odds of scissors, paper, rock?

  11. bschooled says:

    I prefer the “what number am I thinking of” method, because I always seem to win.

  12. yorksnbeans says:

    So what about rock, paper, scissors, huh?

  13. Howard Hendrickson Ph.D. says:

    You all have neglected one other possible outcome. A coin can land on it’s edge. I have seen it happen, and even “called” it. Thought for food: ergo: the probabilty of a coin toss is NOT 50/50! Think about this for a minute and you will understand why: A cylinder is also a disc, and vice-versa. The formula for caluating volume and surface area is exactly the same. A disc is a cylinder which has less height…Have a nice day!

    • Howard I am buying the fact that a coin CAN land on it’s edge but unless you call “edge” everytime, I am not seeing how you could have “called it” Show me the youtube video..haha Thanks for stopping by.


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