Is “Hacking: The Art of Exploitation”‘s “Find the Ace” game a Monty Hall Problem?

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    Hello everybody,

    While I was reading the last paragraph of the first chapter of “Hacking: The Art of Exploitation” book, I read Erickson (the author)’s interpretation of “Find the Ace” game.


    For those of you who haven’t read chapter 1 of the book’s, the “Find the Ace” game in the book is a game with 3 cards: one Ace and two Queens.

    The player must try to pick the Ace out of those 3 cards, which are faced down so the player cannot see.

    After a player selects a card, without the player seeing the card he/she selected, the game’s host reveals one of two Queens that were faced down.

    Then the player can either stick with the card he/she chose, or switch the card to the other faced-down card other than the revealed Queen card.


    Erickson interprets that the player must switch the card because it will raise the probability of getting the Ace from 33% to 50%.

    He describes this as one of “counterintuitive”, “little-known truths.”

    But this problem reminded me of Monty Hall problem, which seems to have exactly same rules.

    But the Monty Hall problem’s conclusion is that the player must switch the choice as it will raise the probability of choosing the right choice from 33% to 67%, not 50%.


    Can anyone tell me if the “Find the Ace” game is a Monty Hall problem? This is because if it is so, doesn’t that mean one of them (Erickson or Monty Hall problem) is incorrect? I think I am confused.

    I am a complete beginner in this field and it seems one of the most famous books in Cybersecurity being incorrect is impossible, so I am sure I am confused or have misunderstood something here.


    I am very sorry if my question is long and confusing. This is only my second post on Reddit, and I thought this sub had people who could clear up my confusion.

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