Fun with Math

09/20/2008 By Shawn Burns

Emily and I are enjoying a nice evening at home, watching Last Holiday. It’s a tolerable movie, starring Queen Latifah and L.L. Cool J.

We’ve seen it before, more than once, and we pretty much watch it just because I have a little bit of a crush on Queen Latifah and she has a huge crush on L.L. Cool J.

Something has always bothered me about it, though: the roulette table. At one point Queen Latifah’s "dying from a mysterious illness and blowing all of her cash on an insane trip" character attends a charity casino night and plays some roulette. She bets on black 17, and wins. She lets her winnings ride and wins again. She lets her winnings ride a third time and wins yet again. She then cashes in her chips and one of her companions does the conversion for her: "That’s about a hundred thousand dollars!"

Pretty impressive, right? Not bad for five minutes at the roulette table.

But the math doesn’t add up, not unless Queen Latifah is playing at a particularly low-limit roulette table at a charity auction with her rich companions.

Because roulette usually pays 35:1 on straight numbers, like black 17. So if she has a hundred thousand dollars after her third win, she was letting $2857.14 ride. If she had $2857.14 after her second win, she was letting $81.63 ride. And if she had $81.63 after her first win, then she bet a mere $2.33 initially.

Who is going to go into a charity casino night in a ridiculously posh resort with fancy companions and then bet two dollars? It doesn’t add up.

But Queen Latifah can be forgiven a lot of things.

Do you know what this is? This is a filler post, just to kick the O’Reilly video down a page. I’d rather be writing about my crush on Queen Latifah.