How to flip a coin?
It’s a fundamentally simple process, flipping a coin. You toss the coin in the air and see which side it lands on – that’s all there is to it. But there are several things to consider when flipping a coin.
If you just throw the coin up it is unlikely to experience much rotation. This will limit the randomness of the result and may make it very easy to predict how it will land. This makes it unsuitable for decision making, settling agreements, or making anything other than a predetermined choice.
The most common way to flip a coin is to make a fist with the thumb on top and balance the coin on the side of the index finger and covering the tip of them thumb. The thumb may begin below the index finger so the coin rests more on the knuckle of the thumb.
The coin is flipped by flicking the thumb upwards. This launches the coin into the air and allows it to begin rotating as the majority of the force was applied to one edge. The speed of thumb will affect the number of rotations, but if the coin goes high enough it will be difficult to predetermine how many rotations the coin makes.
In many sporting events, it is traditional to allow the coin to land on the ground. An alternative it to catch the coin, at which point it is either shown in an open palm or slapped onto the back of the other hand.
Holding the coin in the palm is the least satisfactory as a sleight-of-hand movement favored by street magicians could flip the coin in the palm giving a non-random result. Allowing the coin to hit the ground does not present this possibility, while slapping it on to the back of the hand also limits interference as it is difficult to manipulate a coin with that part of the body.
Other methods of coin tossing include throwing it from an open hand, bouncing it off a wall, spinning it on the ground, or launching it from a receptacle (like a cup) and catching it in the same. The thumb flick is by far the most popular, easiest, and most convenient – and the most reliable as far as obtaining a random result is concerned.
Random results are the name of the game, but there are quite a few factors that may result in a less-than-random coin flip. We’ll look at the exact probability and causes a little later on, but to begin with we can just appreciate that nothing in the real world can be truly random due to external factors – the way it is flipped, the wind blowing, and more besides will have an influence on the result.
Using a computer to flip a coin is free from external factors, and the result will be 50-50. After all, computers work on the binary system, so the only two things a computer knows for sure are the numbers 0 and 1.
By using a program or website that generates a random result – either a 0 or a 1 – the computer can choose heads or tails for you, giving a much more balanced result. An online coin flip is fair and accessible even if you don’t have a coin to hand.
The question of randomness in itself is often raised in relation to computer systems – if computers work on logic and only deal in absolutes, how can anything from a computer be truly random? In truth, computer randomness is often generated by use of a complex algorithm that gives the end result based on a “seed” number. Whatever seed number is entered, the result will be a 0 or 1. If the same seed number is used twice, the same result will occur.
Because of this, the seed number is usually based on the system time of the computer, which tracks as far down as one hundredth of a second or less. This means that in any given second, there are a hundred or more chances for the result to go one way or the other.
So while a computer “random” number is not truly random, it as close to random as to be indistinguishable for a human – and having over a hundred chances every second to get a different result is more than enough for even the most avid of coin flippers.
Coin Flip Probability
Flipping a coin gives one of two results – heads or tails. It is accepted that the chance of either result occurring is 50-50, and should you flip a coin 100 times, it will land on heads 50 times, and tails 50 times.
Unfortunately, that’s not how probability works! The result of the next coin flip has no bearing on the previous flip. Based on the accepted logic, if you flip a coin twice and both times it lands on heads, it stands to reason that in the next 98 flips you’ll get 48 instances of heads.
However, after two flips, the probability of getting heads is 1 in 2, or 50-50. This applies whether the previous two flips were heads, tails, a combination, or if you dropped the coin down a hole – it doesn’t change the probability.
If you flipped a coin 99 times, and 99 times it came up heads, the 100th flip would be a 50-50 chance of being tails. This is true randomness. If there were a pattern where you could guarantee every other flip would be heads, how could that be considered random at all?
However, even with all that considered, there are some things that change the true probability. The way a coin is flipped is one factor, for no matter how hard you try, you won’t be able to produce exactly the same amount of force with your thumb every time you flip a coin. The wind an air currents can affect the number of rotations, and the design engraved on the coin may be slightly heavier on one side. This won’t necessarily affect the side the coin lands on (i.e. the heavier side won’t always land facing down), but it will cause the rotation to wobble slightly, which could affect the result.
If you move on to two coins, mathematically the probability of heads coming up on both is the same as the probability of tails coming up on both – 1 in 4. The odds of the coins coming up with different faces showing is just 1 in 2.
With three coins, all three landing on the same side is 1 in 8. Two with the same side is 1 in 4, the same as if you used two coins.
Stacking several coins and flipping them is fun to do and watch, but severely limits the amount of rotation that can be achieved, and tends to synchronize the rotation of the majority of the coins. This means if they all started out facing heads up, most will land facing the same way as the others (be it heads or tails) – only the top and bottom coins will have the potential for greater rotation.
If you need to flip several coins, do them all individually!
Is it all just a coincidence that the coin lands with that side up or is it more behind it than just the coincidences? When you think of the amount of power this coin may have, it’s actually quite crazy to think about it.
Coin throw is used in a lot of respects, and the outcome is used to determine the outcome of some kind of controversy or discussion. For example, we see it used for football matches all the time. Here’s what players meet up to the judge who asks them to choose. It may be a choice between heads or tails, or they should just choose a color.
The winner is then allowed to choose whether they want to start giving up the ball or if they want a specific court half to begin with. But could it really be that this method is as certain as you just go and expect? Is it really the case that the outcome is completely 50/50?
We are going to look at this phenomenon more closely to clarify whether we all simply make a disillusionment about coin throw and its credibility.
The factual basis for the coin throws
Coin throw is not a new phenomenon that has occurred in the past year – it is indeed that it is actually something that can be traced back to Roman times. In ancient Rome it went under a very popular name, which was a ship or head. It obviously had a local name that is navia aut caput. You may think that the name appears a little strange, but there is actually meaning with the madness. It is the case that a coin in the Roman Empire actually had the emperor on one side and a ship on the other – that’s why it can be well-defended.
There is actually a pretty funny story about coin throw and its use in the world of sports. It is such that it is very normal that this one is used to determine who is allowed to decide one thing. In football, for example, the winner gets allowed to decide if this will have the ball or lane. It really only means whether the player will be allowed to give up the ball in the first half or if they prefer preferences to what end they would like to attack.
But in the old days, you actually used a coin throw to decide matches in football. There was no such thing as extra time, penalty shootout or a single point – the match had to be decided after the last whistle, and it was therefore very close to using a coin throw to determine the winner. After all, this form is extremely good as it gives a chance for both parties involved.
Thus, a semifinal in a European championship was decided back in 68, where Italy pulled the longest straw, or guessed the right side of the coin if you could say that. The semi-final ended between the Soviet Union and Italy, so both teams were called up to the center where the referee finished the coin. Imagine that it has been decided that a football match has been decided. 90 minutes of wear and tear plus all preparation time, and then everything comes down to guessing the right side of the coin.
However, it is not only within the world of sport that coin throw is used to determine the outcome of important events – no. In fact, England has had the name that coin throw was an essential part when it came to winning a winner between two people standing straight. What might come a bit like a shock is that this has been used in political matches too.
Can you imagine that the Danish elections should be decided on the basis of a coin box? The two prime ministers stand opposite each other and a judge with a nice coin.
The life transmission that all of Denmark can follow in – Today we are appointed new prime minister via coin box! It may be a little difficult to relate to, but nevertheless, it is part of the truth. It was a method that had previously been used in England.
An alternative to coin flipping is coin spinning, which at first glance may appear to be more random than flipping. It would be extremely difficult to judge how much effort to put into a spin for the rotation to end at just the right moment for the chosen side to show upwards.
Unfortunately, this plan is derailed by the different designs on opposite sides of the coin. The side with the most intricate design is likely to be the heaviest and will be pulled down by gravity in a much stronger fashion than if the coin were flipped.
It’s also more likely that the coin will remain on its edge than in a flipping situation.
Street performers and magicians will tamper with coins, lightly shaving off one side of the edge, to create an unnatural bias if the coin is spinning. This will virtually guarantee that the coin will land in a particular position, thus making coin spinning much less random or fair than flipping a coin.
Natural wear and tear will also affect how a coin spins and lands, with older coins being more likely to have had their edges worn away. Coin spinning is therefore far less likely to produce a random result, or even a result approaching 50% in either direction.
Multiple Coin Flips
While a standard coin flip can regularly give one of two results, using two coins can give an extra option.
If both coins on heads or tails, that’s result one and two. The third result is where the coins are not matching. Statistically, the chances of each of these events occurring is the same.
Using three coins could give even more options, but the chances of all three not matching are much higher than of all three matching, giving an uneven bias to the results.
If you need an even bias you may find it easier and more efficient to roll a die instead, as dice are available with many different numbers of faces. A 6-sided die is the most common and well known, but lower number and higher numbers (even 100 or more sides) are available.
Making a Decision with a Coin Flip
Many people choose to make decisions with a coin flip. The person or team who starts a game can be decided in this way, and there is no issue with it – it’s just one side or the other.
However, making important decisions with a coin flip isn’t so easy. Your subconscious mind may have already made a choice, but your conscious mind may not be ready to accept it.
Leading psychologists have suggested that using a coin flip to make a decision is a great way to find out how you truly feel about a situation, but you must examine your feelings after the flip and not take the result as the actual decision.
For example, if a person faces two choices named A and B, they might flip a coin to choose. The coin lands on heads which correlates to choice A. The person is disappointed in this result, but they aren’t sure why.
The reason is simple – their subconscious mind had already decided that choice B was the better option. That is the reason for their unease, and the result of the coin flip pushed this towards their conscious mind.
Had the coin landed on tails, denoting choice B, they would have felt OK about the result.
In this way, the best course of action to make a choice like this is to flip a coin, and simply follow your gut feeling when the result is discovered. You will be able to discover your true feelings about the situation and make the right decision – although the coin decided for you, you don’t have to do what an inanimate object tells you to do!
Coin flipping is an excellent way for making a decision, but not in the way you may originally have believed.
What do the Danish experts think about this coin escapade?
There are two Danish experts who have been consulted in connection with this report in order to get their views on this case and whether they feel that this is the case. The two Danish experts have been convinced that the American scientists have reached the long end when it comes to proving that the coin throw is no longer 50/50.
»I can not see anything but that’s completely correct. First, the researchers predict with their equations that there will be an overweight of instances where the coin falls down on the same page as it starts. It tests them so empirically, and their investigations are very convincing, <
Susanne is the head of a specific small research group working with probabilities and statistics at the University of Copenhagen. There can be a cultural perception of what is associated with coincidence.
For example, there is a man named Carsten Knudsen. He is a lecturer at the Technical University of Denmark, and he has personally researched himself in a dice box and, as he himself says, he believes that their conclusion and the mathematical evidence are correct. He even comes with an in-depth explanation. As he says, it will never be random when it finally lands. He believes that everything is bound up with the laws of physics, and thus it is possible to calculate something that would give one a statistical advantage over guessing the outcome.
»”When we throw a ball into the air, it obeys the same physical laws as the coin. But we do not see a ball box as random because we can partially control how the ball lands, and at the same time our eyes can follow the movements of the ball.« Quote Knudsen«
But if you throw a coin into the air, it rotates too fast for your eyes to follow. It is probably why we have this cultural view that a coin throw is random.
Flip a coin quote
Making a choice by flipping a coin is a well-known phenomenon. Some people believe it to be the best thing to do, while others would never do it and prefer to reason things out. Here are some coin flipping quotes for you to ponder.
“I tend to over-analyze things. I’m not the type of person to flip a coin and let things happen.” – Emily Browning
“I tell people the first time I decided to write a novel I was in my mid-20s, and it was, ‘Well, it’s time to see if I can do this.’ I basically flipped a coin to see if I was going to write science fiction or if I was going to do a crime novel. The coin toss went to science fiction.” – John Scalzi
“While many alternate reality stories ask, ‘What might have been?’ parallel universe stories literalize the war between good and evil that plays inside each of us every day. It’s what makes this type of story so perfect for many fantasy tales: we’re all just a coin flip away from being entirely different people.” – Kameron Hurley
“You can flip a coin to change its face, but it remains the same coin.” – DaShanne Stokes
“Flip a coin. When it’s in the air, you’ll know which side you’re hoping for.” – Arnold Rothstein
“I could tell you that when you have trouble making up your mind about something, tell yourself you’ll settle it by flipping a coin. But don’t go by how the coin flips; go by your emotional reaction to the coin flip. Are you happy or sad it came up heads or tails?” – David Brooks
“Humor is the ability to see three sides to one coin.” – Ned Rorem
Flipping a coin for various reasons is common the world over, and is a common experience shared by the majority of the world’s population. Coin flipping has gone on for hundreds of years, so it is not at all surprising that it is so widespread.
3 coins that changed history
There are two ways that are often the most popular methods when it comes to deciding a specific outcome. Either there are some who go to the stone scissors paper method, or even take the coin throw method. It’s not unusual to throw the coin into the air, where you have to call a flat or crown, where the winner gets the last piece of pizza or is allowed to choose which movie to watch today.
But we have dug something in the archives, and in fact, this is by no means only “small” things that you have used coin throw for. We have found three stories in which coin throw has helped determine the outcome. We can be honest and say that these are not entirely indifferent things.
A coin flip named the city Portland, Oregon
It was such that they were some of the first people in the United States, who named the different cities and states. Often there were two or more who fought about different pieces of land, why they should of course have decided which of those who were in fact entitled to that piece of land. Portland was once the basis for such a controversy between Asa Lovejoy from Boston and Francis Pettygrove from Portland, Maine.
The two proud men both had an understanding that this was their piece of land, and therefore they had to come to know who actually was entitled to it. Portland was then called The Clearing, but a coin throw would change it. It was the case that the two men chose to let this single coin decide who should have it. Can you guess who won?
A coin duel determined the first flight
Wilbur Wright won the opportunity to write history when he won the coin voucher against his brother, Orville, in their camp in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina, in 1903. Wilbur won over his brother in their coin-throw competition, which ultimately meant he could get allowed to fly their aircraft for the first time. He started this flight for the first time on December 14th in 1903, but unfortunately he got the stall plane, which meant that the plane took a trip back into the sand.
Three days later, after some repairs, Orville was the first to get the airborne airplane. This happened at. 10.30 on 17 December 1903. Wilbur, who otherwise won the coin in a fair way, was turned into a photograph showing that he flew into the ground-so he still got a great deal out of it.
A coin flip sealed the fate of Ritchie Valens
If anyone has seen the movie La Bamba, you’re really well aware that coin throws helped to do something terrible against one of the great heroes of music. Holly, who was a singer in another band, provided an airplane that they needed to come to a new venue after they had just given a concert. The next stop would be Moorhead, Minnesota, but after something had happened with his tour bus which made it impossible for him to continue, they had to find an alternative. Holly convinced Waylon Jennings, band member of Holly’s band, to abandon his seat on the plane he was booked to use for Valens.
It was such that the guitarist from Holly’s band was willing to let Valens play his seat. He said that they should let the coin decide whether it was him or the election that would have the place. On February 3, 1959, after the young Latin star Richie Valens, the airfield won through a coin box, he died at a grainfield. Many refer to day like a day when the music died. Bad weather conditions made the outcome.
As you can read from this, there are quite clear indications that you have used coin vomiting among people for many years, which also illustrates people’s perception of how equal the coin divides to different people. Although you can deduce that there is a small advantage for one party, you will still be able to use a coin box to find out who is allowed to select movies on Netflix today.