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Hillary's `luck' highly improbable (or, Cattle Futures vs. Powerball)
Hendersonville Times-News ^ | January 3, 2003 | John Fogle

Posted on 01/03/2003 8:56:56 AM PST by Gritty

John Fogle

`I probably won't win." So said a gentleman standing in line to purchase a Powerball ticket in South Carolina recently. And, of course, he was right. Amateur psychologists out there will recognize that he wanted someone to assure him that he had some chance to win, but it's the word "probably" that caught my attention.

First, a little background on determining odds. To learn how to figure odds, it is helpful to look at standard dice. If one rolls one half of a pair of dice, that is, one die, then there are six total possibilities, one through six, and the odds of rolling a one are 1-in-6. The odds of rolling a four, or any other number, are exactly the same: 1-in-6. Now, for our first quiz, if you roll both dice, the odds of rolling two ones is (a) 1-in-3, (b) 1-in-12, or (c) 1-in-36. The answer is 1-in-36 -- that is, the odds for each individual die are multiplied by each other, or 1-in-6 x 1-in-6 = 1-in-36.

Powerball is played in multiple states, including South Carolina, and a player selects five numbers ranging from 1 to 53 plus a "Powerball" number from 1 to 42. To calculate the odds of winning, all one needs to know is the total number of combinations and the number of winning combinations. In Powerball, the first five balls are drawn from one barrel, and the order that the numbers are drawn is immaterial. So, drawing 3, 44, 12, 52 and 18 is the same as drawing 3, 12, 18, 44 and 52. After that, the Powerball is drawn from another barrel with 42 balls.

With this in mind, we can calculate the odds as follows. On the first draw, there are 53 possibilities, and five possible matches; on the second there are 52 balls left, with four matches, and so on. The odds on the Powerball are 1 in 42. So, the jackpot odds compute to 5-in-53 x 4-in-52 x 3-in-51 x 2-in-50 x 1-in-49 x 1-in-42 -- or 1-in-120,526,770.

So, what does this have to do with politics? Most people are familiar with Hillary Clinton's spectacular performance in the commodities market, where she parlayed \$1,000 into \$100,000 and then walked away -- never to try her hand in commodities again. Let's look at the odds of someone actually doing what she said she did.

Looking at the overall picture, ignoring brokerage fees and assuming that all of the money is left completely invested, the odds of such a result would be 1-in-100 -- which is not all that unreasonable. But, that is not what happened. Every time Ms. Clinton had a significant gain, she withdrew most of the capital, thereby relying on an incredible and improbable streak of "wins."

Again, using dice, suppose I bet \$1,000 on the roll of a single die, selecting one number with a payback of 6-to-1. Now, if I win, I bet the whole \$6,000 on another roll, then \$36,000 on another roll. My odds of hitting three in a row are 6 x 6 x 6, or one-in-216, with a final payback of \$216,000. But, if, after each roll I withdraw a significant part of my winnings, I would have to win a string of eight or 10 times just to get to the same point.

To calculate the odds of Ms. Clinton's miraculous foray into the commodities market, one must write a computer program that makes around 50 million attempts and counts the number of wins. Basically, the program starts with \$1,000, bets against a random number generator and counts the number of times \$100,000 is reached. Based on an examination of her trades and withdrawals, we can approximate that she "invested" in contracts with a 4-to-1 payout, and withdrew her winnings back to \$5,000 each time the pot exceeded \$12,000. In that case, the odds of walking away with \$100,000 are 1-in-8.4 million. Is anybody really that lucky?

For comparison, had she invested the \$1,000 in Powerball, she would have had 1,000 chances to win the jackpot, or one chance in 120,527 -- much better than the 1-in-8.4 million long shot that she claims she hit, and with a bigger payout.

If you want a copy of the computer program used here, just e-mail me.

That's it for probabilities. Next month, we take up quantum physics.

John Fogle, a Times-News community columnist, can be contacted at fogle222@bellsouth.net. His column appears on the first Friday of the month.

TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Editorial
KEYWORDS:

1 posted on 01/03/2003 8:56:56 AM PST by Gritty

To: Gritty
Bump (in all probabililty). <|:)~
2 posted on 01/03/2003 9:08:42 AM PST by martin_fierro

To: Gritty
The commodities market is not random, though, it is based on ... uh ... commodities that have a tangible and comprehensible relationship to the real world of agricultural and industrial production, unlike a bunch of ping-pong balls bouncing around inside a machine.

Further, depending on unexpected events in the market, commodities contracts can wind up worth far more than a 4:1 ratio.
3 posted on 01/03/2003 9:12:18 AM PST by mvpel

To: Gritty
Any chance you've got a good article on root canals?
4 posted on 01/03/2003 9:14:42 AM PST by Drango

To: mvpel
Many observers, including me, believe that commodity trading is a crap shoot. And, even if it is not an absolutely pure crap shoot, it is close enough to make the computer model valid.

When you sell a commodity contract, someone has to buy it. The buyer has looked at all of the same information that you have, and has come to a conclusion opposite from yours. Likewise, if you buy June soybeans, someone has to sell it. If anyone knew the price of corn 6 months from now, then everyone would know, and there would be no one with whom to trade.

The average of Hillary's trades had a payout of less than 4 to 1, but if one reduces the payout odds to 3 to 1, the odds become astronomical. On the flip side, if you increase the model's payout to 100 to 1, then the odds come back to a mere 1 in 100.

5 posted on 01/03/2003 9:41:15 AM PST by Aegedius

To: Gritty
This article just reinforces the thought that The Hildabeaste's actions were, at best, immoral and possibly illegal.

Since her actions occured a long time ago (in political time), I wonder why Mr. Fogel writes about it now? Not that I'm complaining. The Hildabeaste's actions should be on constant public display.

6 posted on 01/03/2003 9:42:16 AM PST by upchuck

To: upchuck
I wonder why Mr. Fogel writes about it now?

I can't speak directly for Mr. Fogel, but my guess is the latest Powerball news boomlet sparked his curiousity on the odds of winning the jackpot. And, when you talk about "odd" coincidences, the "Clinton" excuses for their highly improbably innocence naturally comes to mind.

7 posted on 01/03/2003 9:51:27 AM PST by Gritty

To: Aegedius
Aegedius wrote:

"When you sell a commodity contract, someone has to buy it. The buyer has looked at all of the same information that you have, and has come to a conclusion opposite from yours. Likewise, if you buy June soybeans, someone has to sell it. If anyone knew the price of corn 6 months from now, then everyone would know, and there would be no one with whom to trade."

)))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))

One major thing you are missing...is that some people/entities ( the Commercials..)....want/need the product itself...ie: bellies, wheat, oil, etc....

So, they are buying when others are selling.......they buy at the top and the bottom...and all points in between.

As for your ''crap shoot'' theory....I wholeheartedly disagree. Although it's a commonly held belief..it's incorrect. But that's another topic...for another time.

FRegards,

8 posted on 01/03/2003 10:11:58 AM PST by Osage Orange

To: Drango
Any chance you've got a good article on root canals?

I wish I had one.

It would be less painful than reading about the ubiquitous criminality of Hillary!, and contemplating the distinct possibily of her being our very next President!

9 posted on 01/03/2003 10:15:40 AM PST by Gritty

To: doug from upland
ping
10 posted on 01/03/2003 12:05:51 PM PST by Slyfox

To: Gritty
How about the astromical odds that a pudgy, thick-thighed, four-eyed lesbian twit could become the First Filcher? Multiply those odds by the absurdity that she would grow up to marry a treasonous, rapist, murderer who would end up being elected Der Schlickmeister twice!!! Talk about odds!!
11 posted on 01/03/2003 12:23:53 PM PST by Doc Savage

To: Doc Savage
How about the astromical odds that a pudgy, thick-thighed, four-eyed lesbian twit could become the First Filcher?

Unhappily, I don't think those odds are "astronomical". I think they are closer to 1:1 than many people fear!

Remember, we're talking about the same voting public that elected her criminal husband twice and gave Al Gore more votes than Bush. Does that make you feel secure?

12 posted on 01/03/2003 1:12:35 PM PST by Gritty

To: mvpel
Chapter 3 here has a good recount of "Cattlegate" and the odds involved.
13 posted on 01/03/2003 1:16:52 PM PST by mc5cents

The Hillary Bribe is very simple. (Dare we call it the "HildeBribe"?)

Say you own a brokerage which can sell long or short futures or puts or calls at will. You simply make two transactions at a time for each position.

Give all the winners to Hildebeast after the fact. Eat all the losers or put them into some phony account.

Someone should see if there was a balancing transaction for every winner Hillary hit. Probably was, unless the guy was really slick and went stealthy with the scam. Could very well be that for every receipt the beast had for winning some \$50.00, lo and behold there would be a loser or two that tallies up to that exact amount. The "donor" of these illicit funds to the Junior Senator could retain the slips for all the losing transactions - the net result being a bribe paid to the beast.

This is a very good way to launder money. The only costs would be transaction costs, since both sides of the trade cancel each other. Since you own the brokerage, the transaction costs are a "sunk", fixed cost, or if variable can just be the icing on Hildebeast's cake.

This was clearly a bribe or payoff, and only the ignorance of the general public about matters economic along with the tacit complicity of the presstitutes shelter the beast.

The simple fact is that the HildeBeast could sacrifice an infant on the Capitol steps and the press would cover it up.

14 posted on 01/03/2003 2:50:50 PM PST by Bon mots

To: Gritty
In this case its much simpler taking the Joe-On-The-Street approach. She's a crook - pure and simple! LOL.

Love the analogy and explanation though. Definitely keeper to resurrect when she runs.
15 posted on 01/03/2003 2:58:25 PM PST by txzman

To: Bon mots
The simple fact is that the HildeBeast could sacrifice an infant on the Capitol steps and the press would cover it up.

You know, you are probably right. They would say that it was simply a "late term" abortion.

16 posted on 01/03/2003 4:16:51 PM PST by mc5cents

To: Bon mots
Someone should see if there was a balancing transaction for every winner Hillary hit.

There was. It was owned by Tyson Chicken.

17 posted on 01/03/2003 5:55:51 PM PST by friendly

To: Bon mots
This was clearly a bribe or payoff, and only the ignorance of the general public about matters economic along with the tacit complicity of the presstitutes shelter the beast.