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The Race

Problem 232

Published on Friday, 13th February 2009, 05:00 pm; Solved by 1052

Two players share an unbiased coin and take it in turns to play "The Race". On Player 1's turn, he tosses the coin once: if it comes up Heads, he scores one point; if it comes up Tails, he scores nothing. On Player 2's turn, she chooses a positive integer T and tosses the coin T times: if it comes up all Heads, she scores 2T-1 points; otherwise, she scores nothing. Player 1 goes first. The winner is the first to 100 or more points.

On each turn Player 2 selects the number, T, of coin tosses that maximises the probability of her winning.

What is the probability that Player 2 wins?

Give your answer rounded to eight decimal places in the form 0.abcdefgh .