Odds and probability in real life situations

BertieBertie Red Chipper Posts: 29
edited December 2014 in Off Topic Chat
Hi guys,

One of the things I hear about poker is that it can apply to everyday decision making situations.

Need help in using odds and probability to help with a serious decision. The decision can't be based on cost.
My dog is seriously ill and needs surgery. The cost of the surgery is the same regarding the outcome but the cost isn't the issue its his chance of survival and therefore is it worth putting him through it is the question.

There is a 66% chance that the tumor is malignant and therefore there is a 4 month survival rate
There is a 33% chance that the tumor is benign and therefore I should have him for another 48 months (natural life - he is 9 now)

What is the right thing to do?




  • SplitSuitSplitSuit RCP Coach Posts: 4,010 -
    Life expectancy given that information is (.67 * 4) + (.33 * 48) = 18.5 months

    Given the setup, where chance of a malignant tumor is exactly 2x more than the chance of being benign, so long as the expectancy of life in a benign situation is more than 2x the life expectancy with a malignant tumor, it's better to do the surgery.
  • BertieBertie Red Chipper Posts: 29
    Thank you Splitsuit. I calculated the same but wasn't sure if I was calculating it correctly. He is having surgery in half an hour.

    Thank you for answering.

  • SplitSuitSplitSuit RCP Coach Posts: 4,010 -
    You're very welcome. I hope the surgery goes well!
  • Christian SotoChristian Soto RCP Coach Posts: 2,195 ✭✭✭✭
    On the forum half hour before surgery! These guys are gonna be scary good!
  • Doug HullDoug Hull RCP Coach Posts: 1,769 -
    Bertie wrote:

    its his chance of survival and therefore is it worth putting him through it is the question.

    So, if we are trying to put this in poker terms. What about the bet-fold?

    It sounds like the malign outcome where the doggie lives through the surgery, has a bad recovery time, only to die soon after. Not good for doggie.

    In the happier situation, doggie has a bad recovery time, but then lives a long happy life. Sucks for a while to recover, but there is a lot to gain.

    Now, these two out comes depend on the nature of the tumor. I am assuming that you can not know the nature of the tumor until the surgery happens. Assuming while the surgery is happening they can determine the nature of the tumor could you consider euthenising so doggie does not have to suffer through the recovery.

    An ugly option, but it avoids the prolonged and hopeless recovery period which is the really negative outcome.
    Co-founder Red Chip Poker,
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  • BertieBertie Red Chipper Posts: 29
    Hi Doug,

    The recovery time is the same from the surgery. If the tumor turns out to be malignant then it will only come back and I will have him at best for four months. If it is benign then I could have him the rest of his natural life 48 months. So I really wanted to know if it would be a +EV. If the tumor is malignant then I am also giving him cannabis oil (medical grade all legal here in Canada) to kill any remaining cancer cells in order to better his chances.

    He came through the surgery, stable but not out of the woods yet. I feel strongly that I made the right play and give him the best chance. He is worth betting the house on but only if the odds were in his favour. I wouldn't just gamble for the sake of it as that would have been more for me than him.



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