Dreidel Science


My son and I were playing the Dreidel game last night and we noticed a disproportionate number of “Hey"s coming up and very few Gimels. We were suspicious there was something going on so we turned this into a quick little science project.

In my opinion, the most important lesson about science for a young kid is the importance of empirical observation and measurement. This project was pretty simple: We would each spin a dreidel 40 times and record the results to see how close we came to an even distribution.

My results were pretty astounding:


Out of 40 spins, 31 were Gimels! According to my (pretty bad) statistical skills and this page on Stack Exchange, the odds of this are roughly one in 400 billion (give or take).

My son’s observations showed a bias towards Heys (16) and Nuns (17) which I put at one in one-hundred thousand. 

Our theory is therefore that the dreidel manufacturer is sloppy, not they are trying to intentionally bias the game. But I’m ready to be disproved!

Also see: A One in a Trillion Dreidel Game