Canadian statistics professor games Tim Hortons contest for 80-98% win rates

Tim Hortons sign with Canadian-flag-style maple leaf insignia

Enlarge / Tim Hortons is a coffee and donut chain popular with Canadians, Canadian-adjacent regions of the US, and statistics professors. (credit: Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images)

All you had to do, if you really wanted some free coffee and doughnuts, was wake up around 3 am each day and click on some virtual Tim Hortons coffee cups.

It was 3:16 am, actually, that gave a University of Waterloo professor a roughly 80 percent win rate on Tim Hortons' Roll Up To Win game. That wasn't as good as the 98 percent Michael Wallace clocked in early 2020, when he discovered a quirk in the coffee chain's prize distribution scheme, but it still made for great lessons for his students.

"I really like the fact that you can take data from the real world, run it through some math, and find patterns that describe what you see," Wallace told his university's news service. "It's a kind of magic."

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