(e. g. If an opponent owns Boardwalk with a hotel on it,
often will you land on it?)
gives tables and graphs showing the probability that your game piece
(token) will end a turn on any given board space and also the mean
number of times you will visit ("land on") a given board space per
turn. The "How
link gives a generalized overview of the
Rules of the game:
complete rules of the
game of Monopoly, the reader should consult the rulebook that comes
with each set. We will briefly review the rules that involve game piece
A player rolls a
pair of dice and
moves his board piece (token) clockwise around the board. The number of
board spaces he moves is equal to the sum of the dice. If he stops on a
"Chance" or "Community Chest" board space, he picks up a card from the
indicated stack, and if instructed, moves his token to a new location.
If he had doubles, he repeats this process. However, if he has three
doubles in a row, he instead goes directly to Jail.
If a player is
instructed to go to Jail
(at any point during his turn), his turn ends regardless of the doubles
The rules for getting out of Jail are somewhat
in the official Monopoly booklet. If a player pays to come out of Jail,
the official rules do not define if he may use the regular repeat dice
roll if he rolls doubles, or is restricted to a single dice
roll. I have checked with Ken Koury (Ken's monopoly
and Rob Pratt. Both sources indicate the "Get out of Jail" rules shown
below should be used. Thus, the statistics data shown here reflect
(Note: Rob Pratt was formerly in the Operations Research Department at
the University of North Carolina. His
for “visits per dice roll” can be
seen at http://web.archive.org/web/20030113200512/http://www.unc.edu/~rpratt/monopoly/LJRIJtable.html.
Both of us independently calculated the “visits per dice
roll” data and both of
us had identical results.)
First turn in Jail: If a player wishes to get out of Jail, he may do so
by paying the $50 fine (or turning in his "Get out of Jail Free" card)
before rolling the dice. This in effect changes his status from "In
Jail" to "Just Visiting". Then he begins his turn by rolling the dice
and moving forward the indicated number of spaces. If he had doubles,
then he rolls the dice again as per the ordinary "doubles" rule.
Alternately, the player may choose to try to stay in Jail by not paying
the $50 fine. He then rolls the dice. If the result is doubles, he gets
out of Jail for free and moves forward the indicated number of spaces.
In this instance, his turn ends (after a possible "Chance") and he does
not roll the dice again. If the result of the dice roll was not
"doubles", then the player's turn ends, and he remains in Jail.
2nd turn in Jail: This is similar to the first turn in Jail. If the
player pays to get out, his status becomes "Just Visiting" and he has
repeat dice-roll privileges as above. If he chooses to stay in Jail, he
rolls the dice and either stays in Jail or gets out on doubles. Again,
if he gets out on "doubles" his turn ends after a single dice roll.
3rd turn in Jail: Here the player just rolls the dice once and moves
forward the indicated number of spaces. If the dice roll was "doubles"
he gets out for free. Otherwise he must pay the $50 fine. In either
case, his turn ends after the single dice roll.
define the Jail status as follows.
1) If a player plans to pay to come out on his next available turn (first
that he can roll the dice again)
is forced to come out because it is his 3rd Jail turn, then his "State"
is "30". (There is a mathematical difference between paying to come out
and forced to come out, but this is taken into consideration in the
calculations.) His "State" at the end of his turn is whatever board
space his token is on.
2) If a player wants to stay in Jail this turn (next
available dice roll)
but pay to come out the
following turn (or is forced to by the 3-turn rule), then his "State"
"40". If the subsequent dice roll is "doubles", then he comes out and
his new state becomes whatever space his token is on when his turn
ends. Else his state changes to "30" and he stays in Jail.
3) If a player wants to stay in Jail until his 3rd turn, then his
initial "State" is "41". If he rolls doubles and gets out, his new
"State" is whatever board space his token is on. Else he remains in
Jail, and his new "State" becomes "40".
There are 16 "Chance"
cards. 10 of
these instruct the player to move his token somewhere. The calculations
are based on this standard pack. However, this has changed over the
years, and possibly with various editions of the game. The calculations
are valid for only this standard deck. (Note to manufacturers: If there
are other versions and you would be interested in new calculations,
please contact me as it is relatively easy to make the necessary
There are 16 "Community Chest"
cards. Two of
these instruct the player to go somewhere. Any variations here would be
subject to the same rules as the "Chance" cards.
"Get out of Jail Free"
"Community Chest" have "Get out of Jail Free" cards, which a player may
keep until used. The calculations are based on these cards remaining in
the deck. If any player holds them, it reduces the "non move" cards in
the deck. The result is a decreased probability of remaining on the
"Chance" (or Community Chest) space at the end of a turn, and an
increased probability that you will end up on one of the "Go to"
spaces. There are also minor changes to the frequencies for other board
In an actual game, the "Chance" and "Community
cards are placed on the board and sequentially accessed during the
course of a game. Unfortunately, each permutation of the stack slightly
alters the calculated frequencies for board spaces. The only
alternative is to assume that these cards are always randomized before
a player picks up a card. The upside is: this allows a standard
calculation. The downside is: this generates the possibility that the
same card may be picked up on two consecutive plays. (Note: It is
possible to land on all three "Chance" spaces in a single turn.).
Number of ways to "Go To Jail":
One of the
curiosities that can be counted during the computer program search of
all possible combinatorial moves is the number of ways that you can "Go
to Jail". If your game strategy is to pay to come out of Jail at your
first opportunity, then there are 50,082 different ways to go to Jail
in one turn.
If your game strategy is to pay to get out Jail on
2nd turn, then there are 50,082 + 1 = 50,083 different ways to go to
Jail in one turn. When you decide to stay in Jail on your first turn,
you still might roll double 6's, land on Chance, and be sent back to
If your game strategy is to stay in Jail until
turn, then there are 1 + 1 + 7 + 48,047 = 48,056 possible ways to go to
Jail in one turn. There are 48,047 ways to go to Jail assuming you
don't start in Jail. If you do start "In Jail", then both your first
and 2nd turns in Jail allow the possibility of rolling double 6's
Chance -> Jail as above. Finally, when you are forced to come
your third turn, your dice roll can total 7 in six different ways, or
you could again roll 12 -> Chance -> Jail.
you search the Internet for Monopoly probabilities, you will find
results at various websites. The question that arises is: Which numbers
correct (if any)? While there are no 100% guarantees, the results
here should be reliable for the following reasons.
Any probability results that are obtained by
will always have “sampling errors”. You can reduce these
sampling errors by
increasing the size of the simulation run. Every time you multiply the
size (number of simulated turns) by 4, you cut the expected error
factor by 2.
However, the expected error factor can never be eliminated. The results
presented here were cross checked with simulations (hundreds of
simulated random dice rolls) just to see if the results were
close” to the calculated predictions.
Any change in the Monopoly rules will produce
results. For example, if you use a different interpretation of the
rule when coming out of Jail, you will legitimately get different
There are two ways that the probabilities can be
You can calculate via “probabilities per dice-roll”, or you
can calculate via
“probabilities per player-turn”. The “per
dice-roll” calculation is the easier
of the two, but the results of the two different methods can be
compared to gain
additional information (e.g. calculate the mean number of dice-rolls
and to cross check for errors.
As stated earlier, the results obtained by Rob
Pratt (See http://web.archive.org/web/20030113200512/http://www.unc.edu/~rpratt/monopoly/LJRIJtable.html
and the “per dice roll” obtained by the author are
identical. (Except that
Rob’s are expressed as percents while the results shown here are
probabilities.) If two independent sources use independent methods and
identical results, there is a very high probability that the common
result is correct.
Next, compare the “visits per turn” with the
visits per dice
roll results. If for any “non move” board space (any board
“Chance” and “Community Chest”), you divide the
“visits per turn” number by the
“visits per dice roll”, the number you get is the mean
number of dice rolls per
turn. If your game strategy is to get out of Jail at your first
this number is 1.1866239585+ dice rolls per turn. If you intend to stay
for as long as possible, then the number is 1.1658963640 dice rolls per
These numbers will stay the same whether you use the “Go”
space, “States Ave.”, Boardwalk, or any other space that
does not introduce intermediate
(Chance and Com. Chest have different constants as the “per dice
roll” data does
not include intermediate stops on the Chance and Com. Chest spaces.) It
highly unlikely that this consistency would exist if there were errors
in the calculations.
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