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Poll Results

Poll 242: If there was a game where you win US$1,000,000 just for playing, but have a one in N chance of being killed, how big would N have to be before you would play?

Total votes: 2935

I wouldn't do it no matter what the odds: 836 (28.5%)  
More than 1,000,000,000: 326 (11.1%)
1,000,000,000: 190 (6.5%)
100,000,000: 97 (3.3%)
10,000,000: 105 (3.6%)
1,000,000: 323 (11.0%)
100,000: 167 (5.7%)
10,000: 241 (8.2%)
1,000: 283 (9.6%)
100: 210 (7.2%)
10: 157 (5.3%)

This one generated a fair bit of discussion on the forums and in e-mails to me. Most people's immediate response before thinking is that they would never play such a game, since nothing is worth the risk of dying.

But then an interesting thing happens if you stop and think for a bit.

You already take risks of the order of 1 in a million chance of dying whenever you drive in a car, or cross a road, or whatever.

And you do that every day, for reward no greater than perhaps a few hundred dollars of income, without even thinking about it. For a much larger amount of money, isn't it worth taking at least the same risk? If not substantially more?


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