How lucky is too lucky?: The Minecraft Speedrunning Dream Controversy Explained

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Buy my book Humble Pi now!
UPDATE: Harvard Book Store have totally sold out.

My talk on 4 February 2021 at Harvard Book Store:

Here is the original accusation against Dream.

And here is Dream’s reply.

“Matt flips a coin 100 times.”

“Holy Craps! How a Gambling Grandma Broke the Record”,8599,1901663,00.html

Number of casinos in the world in 2011: 3,547

Roulette records.

– At 09:08 I say “1 in 110 trillion” when I meant to say “1 in 110 billion”. The number on the screen is correct, it was just a verbal slip-up.
– At 25:27 I showed the 118 craps record as “1 in 1.2 × 10^9” when it should be “1 in 2.2 × 10^9”. The voiceover says the correct number.
– I slip and “more likely” instead of “less likely” at 33:47 (I think I may have even been going for “more unlikely”). But everything in the screen is correct.
– Let me know if you spot any more mistakes!

Thanks to my Patreon supporters who mean I can spend [[REDACTED]] hours filming myself trying to achieve improbably things. If you support me, you can get access to all [[REDACTED]] hours of bonus footage from this episode.

As always: thanks to Jane Street who support my channel. They’re amazing. And I believe they have no opinion on Dream.

Endless filming by Matt Parker
Editing by Alex Genn-Bash
Some graphics by Ben Sparks
Minecraft consultancy by Oliver Dunk
Music by Howard Carter
Design by Simon Wright and Adam Robinson

MATT PARKER: Stand-up Mathematician
US book:
UK book:

Carlingus says:

This also doesn’t involve the spawning odds of the biomes, nether fortress and end portal

Scotty O'Hare says:

okay first qiestion how many tries were ther for the dart throw

Finn Hayes says:

im currently doing hypothesis testing and binomial distributions at school and i thought that this video was really interesting as i could see how you cound use stats in the real world

Lane Seabolt says:

Fun fact: 1.7k dream stans watched this video

Marcus G says:

Ibxtoycat i will fight u

FunnyHacks says:

Things up for the trick shots!

Dutay says:

gotta be honest tho
beards' amazing

Ifan Stoddart says:

I've been asking myself this for a while, but why is everyone looking at his 6 livestreams, and why aren't they only looking at Dream's one run that he submitted for 4th place? Because I'm not too sure, but I believe that the worlds are randomly generated, so aren't the other runs/speedruns irrelevant in this and wouldn't you want to only focus on that one run?

Trygve Melvold says:

aaaand now he isn't event the world record holder anymore… someone beat him lol

Nomernomz Nomz says:


like 1% of people disliked the video lulz

DurkMcGerk says:

The thumbnail made me wonder why Jon Benjamin would talk about Minecraft.

O G says:

23:31 christ! how many times did you shoot this to get 1-1? I'm not statistical enough to work that out, but nice attention to details

Halle P says:

Why is this anonymous astrostatistician citing Wikipedia and Wolfram MathWorld? And why does he feel the need to defend his field of study with a footnote indicating that astrostatistics is a real thing?

Tony says:

0:14 thats not lucky. Thats badass :>

Leo Cheng says:

The previous rice formally jam because jeff predictably brush mid a warm step-father. long, receptive stool

this cat is Lulu says:

With so much going on, I prefer if I can activated the cc 😔

AMH MRD says:

So dream is full of it?

Daniel Stephenson says:

When you realised you had a beard in the intro. I had to rewind to the start to see whether you hadn't grown that beard throughout that intro… because Matt is the sort of guy who would go to such lengths (not just of beard) for the sake of lols.

Pedro Solís says:

who tf asked bro wtf bro really wtf 4real wtf bruda innit

FanFalco says:

Great video! I like the presentation, but could someone please help me understand some things that are still unclear to me (statistics and probabilities are not my forte, but I would love to have a better understanding) :
How is the "Ten Billion Human Second Century" number relevant? It felt like "Here's a random number that sounds impressive, and it still isn't as impressive as that other number that sounds too impressive to be true". If I quote the title here, "How lucky is too lucky?", where do we stop? Is it a subjective criteria or is there a statistics/probability concept I do not yet understand? If it's not a strictly 0 chance, why should we dismiss them? Theoretically, if all runs from now on would be a perfect execution, with only favorable random events as a way to better the time, would there be a point where no better time would be accepted, because it would be deemed "too unlikely"?
I wouldn't trust a 0.00001% chance result with my life unless backed up by solid evidence, of course. With no further evidence that they happened legitimately, the likelihood of these Minecraft runs clearly feel wrong, and are outside my "range of trust" . But what if there was irrefutable proof that someone managed to pull a 1×10^-100 chance on a game, should I change my "range of trust", then? Does it really make sense using probabilities to judge events that happened instead of using it to help make decisions on things that have not yet happened?
Thanks in advance!

romancase says:

9:40 Take number 53, god I really should change up this bit and make it less complicated. Here we go. Okay got the first one nbd. Okay second one. Good. Alright got the third. I've had to say these lines sooooo many times and I just know I'll mess up again. 10:10 (hears it bounce around and swish) Yesssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss I'm freeeeeeeeeeee

Kathryn A says:

how did he do the dart thing

MaxxSworn says:

2 x10 ^22 here is my theory… it can still happen

Joybree Gaming says:

So many famous people in the comment section

Christian Orbom says:

Dude that book throw was legit, as a 22yo I now know cool. I should stop with the weed and do some math, seems like magic I guess until it clicks

Fiphty says:

Does the 10 billion 2nd century account for a speedrun not just taking 1 second to complete?

Jardel Kaique says:

you didnt take into account that if the 10 b humans started to speedrun when christ was born, we could have tried for 2021 years until now, which means (3,1×10^19) x (2021/100), in other words, 6,2×10^20 … wait … it is not 10^22 yet, sorry

Sup Im Zazz says:

And I'm here wondering if the run is still considered a legit one.

Stand-up Maths says:

I’m not commenting on how many takes that took. But feel free to guess!

(And if you must know: the complete footage of every attempt will be uploaded to Patreon. )