Heads or Tails?

Published November 6, 2023 | 1 min read

By Darcie Graybill

Flipping a coin is a time-honored method to fairly choose between two options, but a new study conducted by European researchers posits that the outcome of a coin toss is slightly less random than it seems. Due to physics, the odds of a coin landing with the same side up as when it was launched are closer to 51/49 than 50/50.

In their efforts to avoid coin-design bias, the researchers had 48 people flip coins from 46 countries for a total of 350,757 times and record whether the coin landed with its initial side up. They found that it did so 50.8 percent of the time, meaning that the next time you participate in a coin toss, you might want to choose the side that’s already facing up.

It matters which side you pick in a coin toss. (Photo: Getty images/Ronstik)