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Mathematician gives tips on how to become a millionaire

* 7 May 2003 *

Mathematician gives tips on how to become a millionaire

Brains, luck and being a bit of a daredevil are essential criteria for doing well in big money TV quiz shows. But you could also improve your chances of winning by employing some simple maths.

In an updated edition of his book about probabilities, Taking Chances, University of Sussex mathematician Dr John Haigh analysed the game show Who Wants to be a Millionaire? and has come up with some honest tactics to help contestants reach the coveted seven-figure sum.

The tips include:

"To win a million pounds, you need luck, a wide knowledge and the nous to make good use of your lifelines," says Dr Haigh. "But it helps enormously to be rich already as you can then don't mind taking risks to reach the last question. Most of us would want to be very certain of the correct answers."

In Taking Chances (published by OUP,£9.99), Dr Haigh also analyses the best strategies for winning in another TV quiz game, The Weakest Link, as well as card games and board games.  For example, in Monopoly it is more lucrative to buy the orange properties as they are landed on more than any others on the board. Because the "Go to Jail" square is the most frequently visited, landing on the orange properties is most likely because they can be reached directly from the jail square with a throw of 6,8 or 9 - among the most common totals in terms of probability.

* Notes for editors *

Dr John Haigh can be contacted on 01273 678104, email

Press Office contacts:
Jacqui Bealing or Peter Simmons,
University of Sussex,
Tel. 01273 678888,
Fax 01273 877456,
Email: or

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