Lunch with the Bankers and Lawyers

March 20, 2010

A lazy, Saturday afternoon lunch with the old buddies from Junior College is always refreshing and stimulating. With Bankers and Lawyers (and one currently-unemployed-but-not-for-long Masters of Finance) at the helm, today’s conversation was vastly different from the harping about Jack Neo and his indiscretions, which seems to be the topic of choice with the company I keep these days.

While I do like to think of myself as relatively intelligent, I’m really the underachiever of the bunch.

Here’s a sampling of one excellent topic from the table this afternoon:

There are five pirates, ranked A to E, who are to split 100 pieces of gold. The pirates take turns to propose a way to share out the gold, and each pirate gets a vote. If at least 50% of the pirates (i.e. 3 out of 5, or 2 out of 4) vote “Yes”, the proposal will be accepted and the gold will be shared out accordingly. If not, the pirate making the proposition will be killed, and the next pirate in line will get to propose a method. The order of the pirates is non-interchangeable – A will first make the proposal, if he is killed, B gets to propose, and so on.

Some assumptions about the pirates:

  • All the pirates are rational, logical and highly intelligent
  • All the pirates will attempt to maximize their own gains
  • To them, preserving their life is more important than money (i.e. they would rather not get any gold than die)

Assuming you represent Pirate A (the first Pirate to propose), how would advise your client such that he would be able to get the maximum number of gold?

(Hint: The answer is more than you’d expect)

It felt good to get the rusty ol’ cranium out of the box once in awhile.


Edit >> The boyfriend was able to work it out doubly quick. *beams* The difference between the Mathematical types and the, well, not. Right now, Pig is impressed.



  1. dun worry chuan. although i belong to the banker category, i think i am the real underachiever. i still dun get why the answer is really 98, plus at least u made an effort to think, i was juz happy to eat!

    • Haha… Aww, come on, at least you’ll be raking in the big bucks. 🙂 You still don’t get why? I’ll explain it the next time we meet up. Hee. It’s really a fun question I think, it’s like a light goes on when you get it.

      • hahha. neh.. i dun belong in the rank of the big bucks.. u know as long as u work in a bank, u are called a banker. i cld be the one in the bank that does photocopying u know. i am still a banker!

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