Most of my daily life involves using numbers at work. However, numbers also have a significant role in my play. As a kid, I was a baseball card collector: bought them, traded them, memorized them. I think I liked baseball cards not for the personalities they represented, but because of the data on the back. All games involve numbers. Games of chance, games of skill: it doesn’t really matter. Numbers are the way we measure performance.

One of my favorite things to do is look for loopholes in games. Mostly this is driven by a neurotic need to win (I have issues), however, I think it’s also driven by a desire to think creatively and find new solutions to old problems. For example, one of my favorites is the Monty Hall problem.

You remember “Let’s Make A Deal”? That’s the game show where contestants from the audience were asked to select from three doors; two of them containing junk and one containing a prize. After the first door was selected, the remaining unselected junk door was opened. Players were then given the opportunity to change their selection. Common sense would tell you the odds are still 50/50 and you should stick with your original choice…but you would be wrong. If you switch doors, your odds of winning jump to 66.7%. Mind blown? Click here for a demonstration.

I am also a student of chess, so unsurprisingly most of my favorite hacks involve that game. Feel free to use these simple ones to humiliate close friends and family. What games do you have loopholes for?

Chess: Fool’s Mate
Chess: Scholar’s Mate