Yesterday a reader and I theorized that the Orange properties were the best monopoly to own in Monopoly. And now a scientician has proven us RIGHT!

From reader Matt, who is an engineering student at Tulane (SMRT), comes this email:

I study math in college and actually did a project on this and there have been numerous studies to predict the best strategies in Monopoly. Because it is all based on random chance, the exact probabilities can be determined by use of a Markov Chain. The “Go to Jail” square acts as a kind of sink, depriving the spaces after it of opportunities to be landed on, where as the “Jail” square acts as a source and allows spaces after it to get landed on more frequently. I have attached an exact probability distribution for your enjoyment. As you can see the Orange spaces have some of the highest probabilities.

The strategy does not just end there, though. If you take into account the money you put in, the money you get, and the probability of landing on that square, you can determine the Expected Return of that monopoly. The Orange monopolies still do very well in Expected Return and a player can expect to break even in the shortest amount of turns with these properties, so Orange is a very safe and good strategy. However, the Green properties actually yield the greatest Expected Return, but this is a much riskier move as the game must go on for a long time in order to see those investments pay off. So the choice is yours. Try to end the game quickly using the Orange monopolies, or humiliate your opponents by having them mortgage their kids to pay off rent at Green. And no, women are not impressed/amused/interested when I tell them this.

PS. Here’s a website that verifies all my claims

As you can see from the chart, the oranges and reds have the highest probability of being landed on. Matt notes that the Greens offer the best long term return on investment, but man is “long term” the right phrase to use. Ever build up a hotel on the greens, nearly bankrupting yourself in the process, and then sit and wait while your friend misses it again and again and again? Or when he lands on GO TO JAIL and gets all smug about staying there for three turns? “I’m just gonna relax.” God, what a dick. Clearly, the best strategy is to buy the oranges, build them up first, then have enough capital to buy and build the greens. If you do that, you get the money and the power and the woman.