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Heads or Tails?

 Heads or Tails?
type
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 Heads or Tails?
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Heads or Tails?
 Heads or Tails?
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 Heads or Tails?
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Advertisement:propertag.cmd.push(function() { proper_display('tvtropes_mobile_ad_1'); })Alice needs to decide between buying a strawberry cake or an apple cake, but she really can't make up her mind. So, she tries to decide by... flipping a coin. Heads, strawberry. Tails, apple.
Flipping coins to decide on an action has been a practice that, according to The Other Wiki, dates at least back to Ancient Rome. In fiction, it usually happens in the following situations:
 Heads or Tails?
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2020-07-11T13:24:34Z
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2020-07-11T13:24:34Z
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 Heads or Tails?
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DBTropes
 Heads or Tails? / int_1d6f193a
type
Heads or Tails?
 Heads or Tails? / int_1d6f193a
comment
Eizen in Tales of Berseria caries a rare gold coin which he is frequently seen flipping. He never actually uses it to help make a decision since his Reaper's Curse ensures the coin will always land on tails. When he tries to flip some Two Headed Coins they are prevented from landing in increasingly dramatic fashion.
 Heads or Tails? / int_1d6f193a
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1.0
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 Tales of Berseria (Video Game)
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Heads or Tails? / int_1d6f193a
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Heads or Tails?
 Heads or Tails? / int_1f9987cc
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In Albert Herring, Albert takes a sovereign out of his prize purse and flips it to decide whether or not to have a wild night on the town. When it comes up heads for yes, he almost has second thoughts about it.
 Heads or Tails? / int_1f9987cc
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1.0
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1.0
 Albert Herring (Theatre)
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Heads or Tails? / int_1f9987cc
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Heads or Tails?
 Heads or Tails? / int_237c99fd
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Parodied in the film Some Like It Hot where a character played by the same actor who played Guino in Scarface (1932) asks a fellow gangster (who is flipping a nickel) "Where did you pick up THAT cheap trick?"
 Heads or Tails? / int_237c99fd
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1.0
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 Some Like It Hot
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Heads or Tails? / int_237c99fd
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Heads or Tails?
 Heads or Tails? / int_29121585
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In Protector, a superintelligent alien (sort of...) needs to fight a space battle with similarly intelligent aliens. He knows what the ideal weapon is for the circumstances—but also knows that the enemies would know what that ideal weapon is, and could use countermeasures. So instead, he comes up with four pretty-good weapons which would each require different countermeasures, and rolls a die to pick which one to use. (The enemies would be able to predict that he'd do that, too, but they wouldn't know which way the die came up.)
 Heads or Tails? / int_29121585
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1.0
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 Protector
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Heads or Tails?
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In Scarface, Guino Rinaldo was the one to popularize this trait as a quirk of gangster and gangster movies in general.
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1.0
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 Scarface (1932)
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In The Sentinel, the Secret Service, aware that an assassination attempt on the President is imminent and that there is someone in the Secret Service helping, are trying to take every precaution possible. The President's personal bodyguard Montrose suggests a coin toss. That is they create two plans for how the President travels, and right before they leave he tosses a coin to decide which one they do. That way, no one has advanced knowledge.
 Heads or Tails? / int_34fdffb
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1.0
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 The Sentinel
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Heads or Tails?
 Heads or Tails? / int_3759bc72
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In Mega Man Reawakened, Gemini Man uses coin flips to make decisions at times.
 Heads or Tails? / int_3759bc72
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1.0
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 Mega Man Reawakened / Fan Fic
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Heads or Tails?
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In an episode of Scrubs, J.D. and Kim can't decide if they want to keep their baby, so they leave it up to a coin toss. It lands on its edge.
 Heads or Tails? / int_3e5de40b
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1.0
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 Scrubs
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Heads or Tails?
 Heads or Tails? / int_3fbd173e
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In Freefall, Florence tries this more than once. Once Sam catches the coin in midair, and another time she thinks as she throws that if she really wanted it to be fair, she wouldn't use one of Sam's coins.
 Heads or Tails? / int_3fbd173e
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 Freefall (Webcomic)
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Rat Race: Owen Templeton, played by Cuba Gooding Jr., is a disgraced NFL referee who fumbled the coin toss at a crucial game. He insists that the coin he was given was a commemorative one which made it hard to tell which side was heads and which tails. The public don't care and mock him whenever they recognize him. During the race he gets into a taxi driven by a guy who lost a lot of money on the game he screwed up. When the driver works out who Owen is he dumps him on the side of the road.
 Heads or Tails? / int_45e003dc
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1.0
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 Rat Race
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In a Richie Rich story, the same coin ends up deciding whether Mr. Rich should invest a billion dollars in a new company, and whether a hobo or tramp ("I can't decide... let's toss a coin!") should buy a soda or a candy bar. (The actual tosses' results are unknown, but they each read the result of it flying out from under the moped seat and into the window of the mansion.)
 Heads or Tails? / int_46dacb10
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 Richie Rich (Comic Book)
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Heads or Tails?
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In BioShock Infinite, Booker DeWitt runs into Robert and Rosalind Lutece for an obligatory "heads or tails" coin flip, in which Booker chooses "tails" and flips the coin, only for it to come up heads. Rosalind records on the sandwich board Robert carries, showing that all previous (127) attempts have always come up as heads.
 Heads or Tails? / int_474c18c1
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1.0
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 BioShock Infinite / Videogame
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Heads or Tails?
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Mr. Tako habitually does this in King Kong vs. Godzilla to make decisions. He even does it when the two monsters first confront each other in an attempt to predict the winner.
 Heads or Tails? / int_493666a1
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1.0
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 King Kong vs. Godzilla
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Heads or Tails?
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Played with in Homestuck. Terezi will sometimes make decisions with a coin flip. (The coin is two-headed, but one side is scratched) However, she more often than not ignores the result and just does what she wants. That's because — more often than not — the result doesn't make a difference.
 Heads or Tails? / int_50bcf7a6
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 Homestuck (Webcomic)
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The "heads I win, tails you lose" trope also appeared in an episode of Speed Buggy between Speed Buggy and Tinker. Tinker lost when the coin came up tails.
 Heads or Tails? / int_541ec54b
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1.0
 Heads or Tails? / int_541ec54b
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 Speed Buggy
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The Sonic Boom episode, "Unlucky Knuckles" begins with Sonic and Knuckles playing Gopher Ball. To decide who goes first, Sonic flips a coin and Knuckles calls, "Tails!" ...to flip the coin, since he doesn't trust Sonic to be fair.
 Heads or Tails? / int_546876cb
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1.0
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 Sonic Boom
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Heads or Tails?
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No Country for Old Men: The main villain flips a coin to decide whether to kill a potential victim. Those that choose not to take the chance are killed anyway, because they refuse to submit to the Powers That Be.
 Heads or Tails? / int_551d6610
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1.0
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 No Country for Old Men
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In the book Q & A Ram flips a 'lucky coin' to make important decisions throughout his life. As it turns out, Ram's coin was a trick coin and he was fully aware of what life-changing choices he made throughout the story.
 Heads or Tails? / int_59287f6e
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 Q & A
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Babe, in No Man of Her Own, always flips a coin to make a decision that he can't decide on. He mentions that he never goes back on a coin either.
 Heads or Tails? / int_614115ae
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 No Man of Her Own (1932)
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Heads or Tails?
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On Human Target Gurerro solves a Wire Dilemma over the phone by flipping a coin.
 Heads or Tails? / int_674f5997
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1.0
 Heads or Tails? / int_674f5997
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1.0
 Human Target
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Heads or Tails?
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Averted in Screamers. When we're introduced to the protagonist, he's examining an ancient Roman coin. In the climax he and his Love Interest have got to an escape rocket, but there's only room for one. Both insist the other should go, so he says they'll toss the coin. But as the coin is spinning on the ground, he just tosses his glove on it and says it's meaningless because she's going anyway.
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 Screamers
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In a Donald Duck story by Carl Barks, "Flip Decision", Donald is conned by a charlatan into believing in Flipism: the idea that all of life's choices can be made on the flip of a coin. Hilarity Ensues, of course, though the coin does show uncanny predictive power.
 Heads or Tails? / int_69fa7496
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1.0
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 Disney Ducks Comic Universe (Comic Book)
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Heads or Tails?
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The Beatles cartoon "Devil In Her Heart" had Ringo losing his way to the picnic grounds and approaches a fork in the road. He flips a coin to decide which route to take, and the coin sprouts vampire wings (he and George are in Transylvania) and flies away.
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 The Beatles
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Subverted in an episode of Gilligan's Island. Gilligan was slated to duel with a native by throwing spears. Skipper had a coin to toss to determine who went first. He kept trying to get Gilligan to pick heads (it was a 2-headed coin) but Gilligan kept insisting on tails. In the end, the native (translated by the Professor) told Gilligan he could go first.
 Heads or Tails? / int_70c7b114
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-0.3
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 Gilligan's Island
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In the prologue to the Arthur episode, "The World of Tomorrow", Arthur wants to go to the grand opening of the new Bionic Bunny store, while D.W. wants to see Mary Moo Cow's Ice-cow-pades. Their father decides to settle their dispute with a coin toss. Arthur calls heads and D.W. calls tails. The coin lands on the tails side and Arthur is forced to go to Mary's Ice-cow-pades. Arthur uses this example to explain to the viewers what could happen if they got stuck in a really bad day.
 Heads or Tails? / int_746814ae
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1.0
 Heads or Tails? / int_746814ae
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 Arthur
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In MOON – Subaru Solitude Standing, Minmin uses a coin toss on deciding her future: if she gets 'the side with the design', she'll give up her whole life in China and follow her dream of becoming a professional dancer.
 Heads or Tails? / int_7715fef8
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1.0
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 MOON – Subaru Solitude Standing (Manga)
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Circus: Throughout the film, Leo makes several important decisions by tossing a coin. This includes whether he is going to shoot his wife Lily.
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1.0
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 Circus
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Halo: The Fall of Reach opens with Halsey first meeting John, the boy who would eventually grow into the Master Chief. She tests his reflexes by telling him to guess which side a coin is going to land on after she flips it. John makes his guess, snatches the coin out of the air, and opens his hand to reveal his guessed side. Halsey speculates that John is either very lucky or good enough to actually grab the coin at the right time so it would land with the correct side up; either way, she decides to keep an eye on him.
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 Halo: The Fall of Reach
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Kaeloo: When Stumpy and Pretty get into an argument, Stumpy pulls out a coin so they can toss it and see who wins. He then says "Heads I win, tails you lose." He wins, obviously, and Pretty tries to attack him.
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 Kaeloo
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Final Fantasy VI:
Edgar and Sabin flip a coin to determine who will be king of Figaro — or, more specifically, the winner would choose their own path. Edgar flipped a Two-Headed Coin, but called "heads" for Sabin; Sabin chose to leave the castle. Later, Celes borrows the same coin against Setzer. He falls for it. If you bring both Figaro brothers to that cutscene, Sabin is rather appalled to learn the truth about the coin (and it is that coin, because Celes borrows it from Edgar before she makes the offer).
Subverted in the ending of the game. When faced with two paths, Setzer flips a coin, and the group starts down the path it bounced. Setzer stops them and decides to go the other way, which turns out to be correct.
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 Final Fantasy VI (Video Game)
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Religious Idle: The final battle of your religion and Christianity is a coin toss. You pick heads and you win, securing world domination by doing so.
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 Religious Idle (Video Game)
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In The Wheel of Time books, Mat, and sometimes Rand, uses this method to make decisions. Since they both have luck-bending reality powers, this has extra significance. Mat in particular has a tendency to get coins landing on their edge.
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 The Wheel of Time
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One decides the fate of an entire world in The Trigan Empire. The Lokan dictator is wondering who to crush next; the nomadic warrior Vorgs or the cultured Tharvs? Expecting to conquer both in good time, he tosses a coin to settle the matter. It's the Tharvs, and their refugees flood into Vorg territory where they form an alliance with the Proud Warrior Race that defeats the Lokans and establishes the Trigan Empire.
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 The Trigan Empire (Comic Book)
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In A Shadow of the Titans, this is how the Chaotic Neutral Gadjo makes up his mind on the decision of either pledging loyalty to the Oni and their plan to Take Over the World, or fighting against them, since both ideas appeal to him.
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 A Shadow of the Titans / Fan Fic
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In The Gay Divorcee, when Guy arrives at Mimi's hotel suite, he flips a coin, apparently deciding whether to leave or stay. He doesn't like the answer, so he flips it again and stays.
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 The Gay Divorcee
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This is very common in the Pokémon Trading Card Game. Each player has a coin of his or her own. Players flip to see who goes first. Then there are several cards where the player flips his or her coin to determine the number of cards they draw from their deck or the amount of damage a move will do etc.
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 Pokémon (Tabletop Game)
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Although jokes involving such a show have come up before on sitcoms, there actually was a real Heads or Tails? Game Show.
Speaking of game shows, they tend to do coin tosses backstage before a show to determine who goes first in a game, most often when there's no returning champion- due to either the format not using them, or because a champion retired the previous episode- or when it's the first episode.
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At the start of Last Man Standing, John Smith chooses to take the road to Jericho by spinning a flask of whiskey, then going in the direction it points. As a result, a lot of people get killed.
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 Last Man Standing
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Frequently used to settle haggling debates on Bargain Hunt when the team's expert and the seller cannot agree a price.
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Dante picks up this quirk in the second installment of Devil May Cry for unexplained reasons, using his coin to determine whether or not he'll help Lucia and Matier, most notably when deciding who between him and Lucia will go into Demon World and slay the recently-revived devil king Argosax and most likely be trapped there for eternity. Lucia notices in the epilogue that it's a trick coin and the coin itself later comes in handy when Dante switches his own lucky coin with the Arcana Medaglia to fool Arius near the end of the game. Dante retains this trait during his guest appearance in Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne. Savvy players can actually recruit Dante for only one Macca if they know about the trick coin.
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In Coming to America, Prince Akeem flips a coin to choose between traveling to New York or Los Angeles to find himself a bride.
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In an episode of Futurama , the main characters enter an alternate universe where coin flips have opposite results causing decisions to be different. For example, that universe's Bender chose a gold paintjob instead of our Bender's gray, the Professor underwent an experiment to remove his own brain, and Fry and Leela are married.
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Invoked very dramatically by Tommy in Peaky Blinders.
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Magic: The Gathering has a few cards that require you to flip a coin.
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In a timeline explored in Mr. Nobody, the protagonist is utterly unsatisfied with his wealthy life, to the point he decides to leave everything and determine his fate by taking this trope to the extreme.
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Episode 18 of World's Greatest Adventures begins with Rufus trying to use this method to decide where to go next on an exploring venture. (He keeps losing the coin in the foliage, and ends up landing it in a bush of nettle.)
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Two-Face's signature item in Batman is a Two-Headed Coin, except one side is all scratched up. This lets him easily identify which side landed.
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Tiny Toon Adventures:
At the beginning of the episode, "Thirteensomething", Plucky does this to help Buster and Babs decide what to watch on TV after school, as Buster would rather watch a football game, while Babs would rather watch the titular teen soap opera. Buster chooses the heads side, and Babs chooses the tails side. The coin lands on the tails side, and Buster is forced to watch Thirteensomething, much to his disdain. It is then revealed that Plucky's coin was double-sided, but he forgot which side was doubled.
Played straight in the opening wraparound to the episode, "Weekday Afternoon Live", when Buster and Babs argue over who gets to host the episode. Buster chooses the heads side, and Babs chooses the tails side. This time, the coin lands on the head side, meaning Buster gets to host the show.
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In the Pokémon anime, Dawn has a Poketch app to flip a coin which she sometimes uses to make decisions, for example the episode in which she got the Poketch she used it to decide whether to go left or right at a forked road.
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Doctor Who.
In "The Pirate Planet", the Doctor flips a coin to make a decision, then reveals that the coin is from a planet with two monarchs, so both sides are heads.
In "Warriors' Gate" there is a lot of coin flipping, which is tied in with the story's themes about predestination.
At the end of "Thin Ice", Nardole gets annoyed at the Doctor for nicking off to have another adventure in time and space instead of staying on Earth like he promised. The Doctor promises to stay if Nardole wins a coin toss. However earlier in the episode he got the secret of winning a coin toss out of a conman who was using this trick, so Nardole loses.
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The series finale of JAG ends with Harm and Mac (who finally tied the knot) flipping a Challenge Coin to decide which of them will leave the military and live with the other so they don't have to be stationed apart from each other.
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In Hunter × Hunter, members of the Spiders (aka the Phantom Troupe) flip a coin to settle disputes. This is because it's forbidden for Spiders to fight each other (they only murder outsiders, after all) and thus a non-violent way of settling internal disagreements is needed.
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From The Stainless Steel Rat:
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The Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! episode "Haunted House Hang-Up" had Shaggy flip a piece of baloney with one side covered in mustard to decide which side of a forked road the gang should take. Scooby promptly ate it before it landed.
"Which Witch Is Which?" zig-zagged this with Shaggy flipping a coin to decide who would enter a spooky shack. Shaggy's options were "heads I win, tails you lose."
In "Ghastly Ghost Town," Shaggy flips a coin as to whether or not to enter an abandoned saloon (heads for no, tails for yes. "The fact that it's a two-headed coin is beside the point!").
The "heads I win, tails you lose" trope also appeared in an episode of Speed Buggy between Speed Buggy and Tinker. Tinker lost when the coin came up tails.
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This happens twice in The Mote in God's Eye, in both cases to avoid having one's actions anticipated by superintelligent aliens:
While the midshipmen are trying not to be captured, Horst Staley proposes flipping a coin when deciding what to do so his Mediator Fyunch(click) can't predict his decisions.
When the human expedition prepares to leave the Mote system, the Moties send them a gift ship full of alien technology. The human leadership decides to randomly cut up the technology into pieces in case the Moties designed any of it for nefarious purposes. While Lady Sally is directing the procedure she flips a coin to decide how many times to cut.
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In Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, Kanao Tsuyuri initially uses a coin flip to make all of her decisions. Tanjiro helps her break out of this after befriending her.
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In Battle Royale Kiriyama flips a coin to decide whether he'll participate in the Program or not. We later learn that he has no emotions and simply "chooses" what to do. It turns out he could care less what it lands on, and simply decides to kill his classmates mercilessly, because it lands on tails.
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In Crooked House, Roger admits that he had not read Philip's screenplay before deciding not to fund it; instead opting to toss a coin. When asked why he tossed a coin, he replies that he couldn't find a die.
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The Mentalist: An episode of season 2 features the protagonist winning a bet this way. It landed heads 20 times in a row. No wonder they thought he was cheating.
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Frasier is trying to decide which of the two women he's currently seeing he should break up with. Niles pulls out a coin but, due to being The Klutz, turns it over on his hand instead of throwing it in the air. He looks at the result and then asks which one Frasier wants to hear because that's clearly who he wants to be with. Niles then decides to try a proper toss to help Martin decide which flavor of jelly to put on his toast and ends up hitting himself in the face with the coin.
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Friends:
Chandler and Joey accidentally leave Ross' infant son on a bus. When they go to collect him from the depot there's two babies and they can't tell which is Ben. Joey suggests they flip for it based on the kids' shirts, ducks vs clowns.
Rachel suggests she and Phoebe flip a coin to decide which of them gets to be Monica's Maid of Honor. Phoebe refuses and claims that "coins hate me". Eventually Rachel gets fed up with Ross and Joey's attempts to help them choose and pulls out a coin. Phoebe ends up winning and joyously declares that the coins must have forgiven her.
Ross attempts to start the Guys vs Girls trivia game with a coin toss. Cue all four players silently watching the coin fall and then looking up at Ross expectantly.
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The Code Lyoko episode "A Fine Mess" opens with Ulrich tossing a Euro coin to guess whether Odd or Yumi will come out of the scanners first. He calls Odd as coming out and at first, appears to have lost when Yumi is in the first scanner open... except it's Odd in her body. At the end of the episode, Ulrich flips the Euro coin at the vending machine to guess whether Odd or Yumi will appear first. He calls Odd coming out, and he wins.
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In Season 7 episode 19 of Happy Heroes, Careless S. is turned into a ditherer after an incident that left a girl mad with him after he couldn't fulfill her wish to sing her a birthday song due to the amount of problems occuring at the same time. Careless S. gets the idea from Ambassador Wang to flip a coin to finalize his decisions when he can't figure out whether to step with his left foot or right foot first in order to cross the street, and he relies on that coin for most of the episode until Headmaster Tele convinces him not to.
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In Fear & Hunger coin-flipping is an important mechanic of the game which determines the outcome of encounters, loot discoveries and enemy attacks. Successful outcomes are when the coin lands on the position that the player selects. Unsuccessful outcomes can range from finding nothing of interest in crates and to an attack leading to an instant Game Over.
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On one episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, two different groups of scientists wanted to use the ship's detector array at the same time, and Data couldn't decide which group should use it first. Geordi suggested flipping a coin.
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The following is a list of statements referring to the current page from other pages.

 Heads or Tails?
processingCategory2
Gambling Tropes
 Happy Heroes (Animation) / int_91495e52
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Heads or Tails?
 Disney Ducks Comic Universe (Comic Book) / int_91495e52
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Heads or Tails?
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 Two-Face (Comic Book) / int_91495e52
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Heads or Tails?
 King Kong vs. Godzilla / int_91495e52
type
Heads or Tails?
 Last Man Standing (1996) / int_91495e52
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Heads or Tails?
 Life Itself
seeAlso
Heads or Tails?
 No Man of Her Own (1932) / int_91495e52
type
Heads or Tails?
 Scarface (1932) / int_91495e52
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Heads or Tails?
 The Gay Divorcee / int_91495e52
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Heads or Tails?
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Heads or Tails?
 No Country for Old Men / int_91495e52
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Heads or Tails?
 Q & A / int_91495e52
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Heads or Tails?
 The Mote in God's Eye / int_91495e52
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Heads or Tails?
 The Stainless Steel Rat / int_91495e52
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Heads or Tails?
 TrinityTourneyOCT
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Heads or Tails?
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Heads or Tails?
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Heads or Tails?
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Heads or Tails?
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Heads or Tails?
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Heads or Tails?
 HeadsOrTails
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Heads or Tails?
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Heads or Tails?
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Heads or Tails?
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Heads or Tails?
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Heads or Tails?
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Heads or Tails?
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Heads or Tails?
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Heads or Tails?
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Heads or Tails?
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Heads or Tails?