Lou watched the poker table action closely. He was irritated by the interruption from the dice pit. “What is it, Sol? See the way sunglasses is raising. I don’t like it, plus I still haven’t figured out that other problem.”
“Sure, Boss, but you’ll want to know. That young guy over there, in the shiny jacket, is down a thousand bucks.”
“So, collect up.”
Sol wagged his bald head. “That’s the problem. He doesn’t have it, but he showed me an old silver dollar in very good condition. Claims it’s worth more than two grand. My red book lists it at $3200. He wants to flip for the debt. Heads, his debt is wiped out. Tails, we get the coin. What do you think?”
“I think he owes me a thousand bucks and he better pay up.”
“That’s what I told him, but he says his uncle owns this building and, if we don’t give him the chance, he’ll tell him about your backroom.”
“The little prick. Listen. I ain’t risking a thousand dollars on a single throw. Tell him, you’ll do it, but he’s got to get seven heads in ten throws to win.”
The Boss called a break at the poker table. When shiny shirt tossed six heads in eight throws, the Boss cursed. “No way a fair coin gives that many heads.”
The ninth throw was a tail. Lou breathed easier, but then the tenth and final toss turned up a head. The guy won.
“Seven heads and three tails,” Lou grumbled. “That’s a crooked coin, weighted to come up heads. You need to pay up.”
The newcomer shook his head. “A bet’s a bet. I won fair and square. This is genuine, unaltered US minted silver dollar. We’re even.”
“We’re even when I say we’re even and I say we ain’t. Be grateful I am letting you walk out, so you can round up my dough. You have two days. After that, if Samson has to look you up, you’ll pay in more than dollars.”
Samson flexed his muscles in anticipation.
“Wait a second,” the young better said. “The odds of seven heads in ten tosses is about one in ten. You play longer odds than that and win sometimes, don’t you? In fact, the odds are one in six that a balanced coin will give seven or more in a short run of ten tosses.”
“What do you think, Sol?” Lou asked his backroom counter and craps boxman.
“Hmm. Could be true.” Sol looked at the newcomer’s face, hoping to see whether he was truthful or lying, then returned his attention to Lou. “I’d have to search in a statistics book. Could be.”
Lou sized up the situation. “Tell you what, college boy. I’ll call it even just this one time, but with a condition. I have a problem in a business not covered in any textbook. Give me a hand with that and we’ll call it square.”
Image of Guy Flipping a Silver Dollar by DALL-E