A Casino player That Cracked your Horse-Racing Program code
The probability of the outcome is exactly the same every time you flip it, so the probability of being right is exactly the same. The reason it looks different is that there are many flips. When it’s one flip and you’re expecting a 1 or a 0, you get a 1 or a 0. When it’s one flip and you’re expecting a 10 or a 0, you get a 10 or a 1. The same event with probability of 1/20 or 1/100 is not a very exciting outcome. It might be interesting, but it’s not pretty. It’s a perfectly boring outcome. It’s exactly the same result every time.
But if you flip a coin 100 times and get ten heads and ten tails, you will be surprised at the ten tails, not at the ten heads. The outcome could be absolutely stunning when you flip it again. You might get a ten tails with an astonishing probability of 10% or even lower. There is an event that is unique, unpredictable, but very exciting. This is not the same as saying there are always billions of flips. That’s not correct, but even in a simple situation, when you get a one or a zero, you can have a very exciting event that’s much more exciting than any coin that has 100 flips.
It turns out that most results are not that exciting and most of them are not worth checking on the table. This is one reason why I think it’s a good idea to check on tables instead of flipping coins. It turns out that this intuition is based on a fundamental mistake.
From the looking glass to the table
I don’t know why people think that flipping a coin will give you a good idea of the true value of a stock, or the true value of an interest rate.
I should say I know it because there are very few tables in my life that have generated exciting results, but that’s because I have avoided looking in those tables. I’ve avoided looking in tables. I’ve avoided tables. You see what I mean. And I shouldn’t say I’m avoiding tables because I use them all the time. My financial models use a lot of them. There are tables for figuring out where the business will come out on earnings, for figuring out how much the business will be worth, for figuring out how big the company is and the people working there, for figuring out what revenue is coming in from that country and the different places the company goes to, for figuring out what the regulatory environment is in a particular country, for figuring out what the corporate tax rate is in a particular country.
A lot of those things are considered to be important by people who understand them. So it’s possible that flipping a coin 100 times to see how it will go will yield some fascinating insights, but I don’t know. I’ve never done it, and I’ve never checked a lot of these tables. The ones I’ve looked in occasionally, I’m sure there’s nothing there that I wouldn’t get just looking in the mirror.
You see what I mean. I could say, “Oh, I’ve flipped a coin over and over again to make a model that predicts what will happen when I throw another coin,” but it’s just a model. It’s just a model.