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Russian Roulette

Russian roulette is a Game of chance in which one or more of the six chambers of a gun are filled with bullets, the magazine is rotated at random, and the gun is fired. The shooter bets on whether the chamber which rotates into place will be loaded. If it is, he loses not only his bet but his life.

A modified version is considered by Blom et al. (1996) and Blom (1989). In this variant, the revolver is loaded with a single bullet, and two duelists alternately spin the chamber and fire at themselves until one is killed. The probability that the first duelist is killed is then 6/11.


Blom, G. Probabilities and Statistics: Theory and Applications. New York: Springer-Verlag, p. 32, 1989.

Blom, G.; Englund, J.-E.; and Sandell, D. ``General Russian Roulette.'' Math. Mag. 69, 293-297, 1996.

© 1996-9 Eric W. Weisstein