I came up with this puzzle after reading Vaniver's excellent post on the Value of Information. I enjoyed working it out over Thanksgiving and thought I'd share it with the rest of you.
Your friend holds up a curiously warped coin. "Let's play a game," he says. "I've tampered with this quarter. It could come up all heads, all tails, or any value in between. I want you to predict a coin flip; if you get it right, I'll pay you $1, and if you're wrong, you pay me $3."
"Absolutely, on one condition," you reply. "We repeat this bet until I decide to stop or we finish N games."
What is the minimum value of N that lets you come out ahead on average?
Each game, you may choose heads or tails, or to end the sequence of bets with that coin. Assume that all heads:tails ratios are equally likely for the coin.
edit: since a couple people have gotten it, I'll link my solution: http://pastebin.com/XsEizNFL