A number riddle - where did the £1 go??

Somebody told me this riddle and ive been trying to work it out for weeks…

3 men are staying at a hotel and they want to hire a pool table… they ask the porter to go get one for them. They think that it would be roughly £30 to hire so they each give the porter £10.
The porter goes to get the table and it turns out to be only £25. Because the 3 men dont know the price the porter decides to get himself some cigarettes with the change - thats £2, and so he’s left with another £3 so he gives each of the men £1 back so the men have each paid £9…

3 x 9 = 27 = total that the men paid
27 + 2 (for cigs) =29

Where did the other £1 go???!???!?? :confused:

Ive tryed working this out from the beginning and also working backward from the end nd im still non the wiser!

Can anyone shed any light?
I apolgize if this has been mentioned before, im new here… hello everyone. :smiley:

The answer is here:


Ahh…thanks batsto.

Its all become clear now :smiley: :cool:

I am not sure I get the riddle. The men paid a total of 27 which is 25 for the table and 2 for the smokes. Where’s the problem?

The men actually paid £27 for the table as the porter overcharged them plus the £2 for the cigs thats £29

the problem was they started with £30… but as batso showed the starting amount is irrellevant.

>> The men actually paid £27 for the table as the porter overcharged them plus the £2 for the cigs thats £29

Sorry but no. They paid a total of 27 of which 25 went for the table and 2 for the smokes.

Net result: Of the original 30 pounds…

25 went for the pool table
2 went for the bellboy’s cigarettes
3 went back to the men.

30 pounds altogether. Where’s the mystery?

I’ve seen this riddle, and it pisses me off. The riddle contains a deliberate falsehood in how it presents the math to create a phantom missing dollar.

It’s in this line:

This should be

25 (for the table) + 2 (for cigs) = 27 (total paid)

but when you give the correct math, there’s no illusory missing dollar and no riddle.

There are good answers here, and here’s a link to some more:


(I volunteer at Dr. Math, so I like to cite it when possible.)

An American version (dollars, not pounds) was discussed by Cecil:
Riddle: The 3 guys, the bellhop, and the missing buck

ok… woah, you have no idea how stupid i feel… :frowning:

i really fell for that un…it seems so obviously clear now

… i think its best to let this thread sink into the oblivion… i might as well have started a thread labelled “i cant add up”

Is it just me, or does batsto’s link look strangely like Cecil’s answer? Cecil copying! What has the world come to! :wink:

This is one of those questions where you can read the subject line and instantly know what the thread is about.

Nothing to add, just passing through.

well, obviously if you’ve heard it before… I cant imagine many people who havnt heard it before instantly knowing what its about :smiley: