Wheel of Fortune Stats

First of all I’m not proud of what I’m about to reveal.  I am a little embarrassed by it.  It involves Statistics and admitting to couch potatoeness.  Throw in some old people syndrome.  Geekyness of Science to boot.  But here goes as I try to Test a Hypothesis, namely….

If you spin first in Wheel of Fortune, are you more likely to win a given game than if you spun 2nd or 3rd?  Scientist, mathematicians, statisticians and scholars have debated this for years.  But I have a preliminary conclusion.

For background, I began watching WofF beginning in 2009 and have recorded the results for the shows I’ve watched.  Please stop laughing.  Through yesterday, 3/17/09, I watched 30 shows.  That translates to 126 games.  I counted the final game just like the other games although they are a bit different since you have to solve or move on.  The results are for the first 126 games, the contestant who spun the Wheel first solved the puzzle 42 times;  those who went 2nd: 42 times and as you may have guessed 3rd = 42 times.

The conclusion you might be tempted to arrive at is that it doesn’t matter which position you spin, your chances are the same.  However, if you exclude the Final Spin, the results are different.  The Final Spin is a one off version to a normal game since the contestant chooses a letter and if right, must make a guess.  Therefore, they are not rewarded with another letter guess and must move on.  Final Spin show a bias for those who spin first.  Logically, this makes sense since you need at least 3 or 4 letters to solve the puzzle which is when the first person’s turn is up again.  Going second is better than going third for Final Spin.

Therefore, although it appears that there is no bias as to when you spin, it turns out that 1) it is better to go 3rd in the regular games and 2) go 1st in the Final Spin.  I’m not a stat guy so this may not be valid but it is what it is.

That’s it.  I’m not proud of this.  But science must be served.  Excuse me but I’d like stay and chat but I have to watch some re-runs of Ren and Stimpy now and count the number of Log references.  (Just kidding).


2 Responses to “Wheel of Fortune Stats”

  1. Davis Says:

    Reminds me of when I was a lonely kid and would roll dice and keep track of how they came up.

  2. r.j. candalino Says:

    After having read this post, I amy never retire.

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