Problem #1922


Larry and Julius are playing a game, taking turns throwing a ball at a bottle sitting on a ledge. Larry throws first. The winner is the first person to knock the bottle off the ledge. At each turn the probability that a player knocks the bottle off the ledge is $\tfrac{1}{2}$, independently of what has happened before. What is the probability that Larry wins the game?

$\textbf{(A)}\; \dfrac{1}{2} \qquad\textbf{(B)}\; \dfrac{3}{5} \qquad\textbf{(C)}\; \dfrac{2}{3} \qquad\textbf{(D)}\; \dfrac{3}{4} \qquad\textbf{(E)}\; \dfrac{4}{5}$

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Instructions for entering answers:

  • Reduce fractions to lowest terms and enter in the form 7/9.
  • Numbers involving pi should be written as 7pi or 7pi/3 as appropriate.
  • Square roots should be written as sqrt(3), 5sqrt(5), sqrt(3)/2, or 7sqrt(2)/3 as appropriate.
  • Exponents should be entered in the form 10^10.
  • If the problem is multiple choice, enter the appropriate (capital) letter.
  • Enter points with parentheses, like so: (4,5)
  • Complex numbers should be entered in rectangular form unless otherwise specified, like so: 3+4i. If there is no real component, enter only the imaginary component (i.e. 2i, NOT 0+2i).

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