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McDonald’s Monopoly Meal Cruncher Calculator

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French FriesIf you visit our Facebook page much, you might recognize the “voice” behind this post – it’s Brandon and he’s in charge of our social media. Please give Brandon a hearty welcome and we hope you like this fun Monopoly meal cruncher calculator… it was his idea! :)

When we said we were going big for this year’s McDonald’s Monopoly Game, we weren’t kidding.

So, you’ve probably been asking yourself, “how many hash browns do I have to buy to have a chance of winning the million dollar prize”? The answer? 10,885. Obviously. Here’s how we got the answer.

Our fancy little calculator — dubbed the McDonald’s Monopoly Meal Cruncher — is able to determine how much of one food item must be purchased at one store in order to have a 1:1 chance of winning a particular Monopoly Game prize.

This was actually interesting to develop because unlike the standard winning probability that McDonald’s provides in their rules, which only accounts for the total number of Game pieces in the wild and the chance of you collecting the entire winning set of pieces, we had to take many more factors into consideration to get a more accurate result. We figured that the best way to ensure the best probability (and least amount of variables) was to buy the same food item from the same store, since going to multiple McDonald’s would further dilute your odds. So we took the probability of winning each prize and divided it by the number of stores in the US, then we took the price of the eligible food items (we used South Florida prices ), found out how many Game pieces are on each item, gathered sales tax data for each state, and, through the magic of high-level mathematics (not really), we’re able to determine the financial investment needed to have a 1:1 chance of winning a prize if you purchase the same food item at the same store (whew!).

Admittedly, the number of food items you’ll need won’t vary much because most of the eligible foods come with 2 game pieces, but the varying prices of menu items will affect the investment pretty dramatically.

Now it’s your turn to have fun with the calculator. Anyone thinking of actually trying this? We think the investment for the $50 prize isn’t so bad if you buy the cheaper food items. Let us know and have fun :)

McDonald’s Monopoly Meal Cruncher

Don’t do the math yourself. Use our handy calculator to find out how many hash browns, French fries and other food items it takes in your state to win top prizes in this year’s McDonald’s Monopoly Game.

Select options above to see your chance of winning.

Disclaimer: This calculator is for entertainment purposes only. We too thought it was absolutely insane that it only takes 10,885 hash browns to win a million bucks… but that’s what the numbers say. By the way, you won’t win a million bucks by buying 10,885 hash browns. :)

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17 Responses to “McDonald’s Monopoly Meal Cruncher Calculator”

  1. Agatha says:

    Turns out I’d have to buy $23,234 worth of oatmeal to win the cool million. Thanks for making me crack up first thing this Wednesday morning :)

  2. CY says:

    I think there is a problem with the mathematics in your calculator. To have a 1:1 odds of something means a 50% chance of it happening. If it only takes 10,885 hashbrowns for a 50% chance of winning a million dollars, McDonald’s is losing money big time on this promotion.

    • Brandon says:

      CY,

      We tried to keep it simple, so we only used the given odds and broke that down per store.

      The strange part is that the odds of winning the million dollar prize this year is only 1:306 Million, which is a far departure from previous years. So we took that number and divided by the aprox. 15k McD U.S. locations and got our odds.

      It’s not perfect by any means, but it gives a clearer view than the standard odds.

  3. I am glad you are enjoying the game. Do you eat at McDonald’s often when monopoly isn’t going on?

  4. freeby50 says:

    The numbers must be wrong.

    On the McDonalds site the official rules say that the odds of winning $50 are “The approximate odds of winning a prize are 1 in 134,875.”

    So I’d have to buy 134,875 items to have a 1:1 chance of winning $50. This calculator is saying I only need to buy 7 or 14 items.

    • Brandon says:

      Freeby50,

      Those odds are the general odds spread across all stores. We take that number and divide it by the total number of US McD stores, which nets a much smaller number.

      • freeby50 says:

        You’re interpreting the odds wrong. The odds are the chances that any one game piece will be a winner. Theres no reason to divide it by the number of stores.

  5. freeby50 says:

    Link to official rules with the odds per prize :
    http://www.playatmcd.com/Rules

  6. NateUVM says:

    Why are you dividing the probability?

    If the probability of getting a certain gamepiece is 1:1000000 for the whole U.S., it’s going to be 1:1000000 for whatever sub-division you choose(state, city, McDonalds location).

    What am I missing?

    • Matt M says:

      I don’t understand this either, it’s not like in every state someones going to win $1,000,000 one person in the whole U.S will.

  7. Young Limey says:

    I can’t belive you would post this, it makes no sence that it would take me 20,524 hashbrowns to get 1:1 odds of winning $5000, while it takes only 10,885 hasbrowns for 1:1 odds of winning a million dollars.

    I award you no points, and we are all now dumber for having read this article.

    • DMoney says:

      This is from McDonald’s:

      $5,000 prize odds: 1 in 578,695,060
      Million Dollar Prize Odds: 1 in 306,939,484

      So yes, it’s technically “easier” to win $1million than 5k. It’s bizarre.

      source: http://www.playatmcd.com/Rules

      • Martha says:

        Yes, I saw that when Bargaineering posted the original article on the game and thought it was crazy. Maybe someone will actually win this year…

  8. Jason says:

    Did you know that there was a 5 year period where no one won any of the ‘good’ prizes? A McD subcontractor siphoned off ~$24 million in prizes between 1995-2000. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McDonald%27s_Monopoly#Fraud

  9. steve says:

    this whole thing is wrong. you can divide probability. period.

  10. Tony says:

    According to the calculator, I only need to buy 14 sodas to have a 100% (1:1) chance of winning $50. I think your calculator is full o crap.


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