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What are the odds of killing yourself when playing Russian Roulette?

What are the odds of killing yourself while playing Russian Roulette?

Web Watch doesn’t really know why this question was asked on the Internet, but it was – and it’s our duty to share this information with our faithful Web Watch readers.

Because one never knows when one will find themselves in a Russian Roulette game where this may come into play.

Of course, you can always make it Beer Roulette, where you guess as to which one of the beers in the 6-pack has been shaken up.  It’s a waste of a good can of beer, but it’s infinitely funnier.

Russian Roulette Toy
Russian Roulette Toy

Using a standard handgun with 6 bullets in the chambers, you have a 1/6 chance of killing yourself on any individual pull of the trigger.

But unlike regular roulette where the ball doesn’t have any recollection of what’s happened previously and every spin of the wheel is its own random event, Russian Roulette is seldom played that way where the chambers are spun before every opportunity.

No, typically what happens is that the gun is spun once to randomize the position of the fatal bullet, then the trigger is pulled sequentially.

So since you’re good at math, you know that it’s better to be the 2nd player to go.  At the very least, that means that if your opponent survives pulling the trigger 3 times as you pass the gun back and forth – you will know that the bullet is in the shooting position as you handle the gun, making your opponent a potential target themselves and saving yourself from harm.

But getting back to math – that initial trigger pull is still just a 1/6 chance of hitting.   The second trigger pull may have increased odds of containing a bullet over that first trigger pull, but when looked at as an isolated event you’re still looking at just a 1 in 6 chance.  (For those of you running numbers, that’s just 16%.  Glad to help.)

So when do you really have the advantage over your opponent, if any?

It’s easy:  hope to be playing in a 4-player or 5-player game rather than in a 2-player, 3-player, or 6-player game.

If you do find yourself in a 4- or 5-player game… insist on going last.

And if you do find yourself playing a game of Russian Roulette and surviving, let us know how you did in the comments below.  (Don’t laugh – that’s what comment sections are for.)