Yes, size does matter, at least when it comes to Canada’s collective cup collecting contest, and we have a lot of cups to prove it.

Many have asked whether there’s a conspiracy with the prize distribution in Tim Hortons' Roll Up The Rim To Win contest. Earlier this week, The Huffington Post Canada released its unscientific findings that the odds favour those who buy bigger cup sizes, based on the 92 drinks we consumed over a week. The experiment sparked a lot of discussion and follow up by some of our fellow media outlets (see here and here and here).

But, as we noted in our survey, we had an admittedly small sample size — 92 coffees consumed mostly by staff in our Toronto office. So we asked for your input.

In total, 1,182 Tim Hortons customers responded to our national “roll call” to take tally of your results, accounting for 19,349 beverages. To gauge the win-loss ratio, we asked readers to tally the results of their last 10 drinks per cup size. We also asked readers to give us their overall win-loss numbers for 2013.

The national results (story continues below slideshow):

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  • National Roll Call

    1,182 readers consumed 19,349 beverages to bring you these results...


    We recently conducted an unscientific Roll-Up-The-Rim-To-Win experiment to determine if your chances of winning a Tim Hortons prize improved if you bought larger cup sizes. <a href="" target="_blank">The results are here</a>. Then we asked our readers to share their win/loss percentages to see if they mirrored our findings. For the most part, <span style="text-decoration:underline;">they did</span>:

  • Coffees Reported: 19,349

    <strong>Overall wins</strong>: 2689 <strong>Overall Losses</strong>: 16660 <strong>Percentage</strong>: 13.90%


    <strong>Wins</strong>: 404 <strong>Losses</strong>: 2,608 <strong>Percentage</strong>: 13.41%


    <strong>Wins</strong>: 722 <strong>Losses</strong>: 3,558 <strong>Percentage</strong>: 17.83%


    <strong>Wins</strong>: 797 <strong>Losses</strong>: 3,301 <strong>Percentage</strong>: 19.45%


    <strong>Wins</strong>: 409 <strong>Losses</strong>: 1,789 <strong>Percentage</strong>: 18.61%

  • Newfoundland And Labrador

    Responses: 16 How many coffees? 357 Overall wins: 61 Overall losses: 296 <strong>Win percentage: 17.09%</strong> Small : 18.60% Medium : 14.14% Large : 13.56% Extra Large: 41.94%

  • Prince Edward Island

    Responses: 4 How many coffees: 172 Overall wins: 31 Overall losses: 141 <strong>Win percentage: 18.02%</strong> Small : 25.00% Medium : 12.50% Large : 23.68% Extra Large: 35.71%

  • Nova Scotia

    Responses: 51 How many coffees? 1096 Overall wins: 153 Overall losses: 943 <strong>Win percentage: 13.96%</strong> Small : 12.44% Medium : 15.53% Large : 23.27% Extra Large: 29.00%

  • New Brunswick

    Responses: 31 How many coffees? 835 Overall wins: 86 Overall losses: 749 <strong>Win percentage: 10.30%</strong> Small : 5.48% Medium : 14.13% Large : 17.74% Extra Large: 8.33%

  • Quebec

    Responses: 73 How many coffees? 960 Overall wins: 123 Overall losses: 837 <strong>Win percentage: 12.8%</strong> Small : 16.00% Medium : 22.53% Large : 17.37% Extra Large: 16%

  • Ontario

    Responses: 641 How many coffees? 10541 Overall wins: 1500 Overall losses: 9041 <strong>Win percentage: 14.23%</strong> Small : 13.24% Medium : 18.01% Large : 19.61% Extra Large: 17.69%

  • Manitoba

    Responses: 47 How many coffees? 657 Overall wins: 84 Overall losses: 573 <strong>Win percentage: 12.79%</strong> Small : 20.22% Medium : 17.93% Large : 23.35% Extra Large: 10.53%

  • Saskatchewan

    Responses: 31 How many coffees? 443 Overall wins: 67 Overall losses: 376 <strong>Win percentage: 15.12%</strong> Small : 19.78% Medium : 20.22% Large : 25.98% Extra Large: 14.56%

  • Alberta

    Responses: 147 How many coffees? 2553 Overall wins: 346 Overall losses: 2207 <strong>Win percentage: 13.55%</strong> Small : 10.92% Medium : 17.51% Large : 15.38% Extra Large: 18.78%

  • British Columbia

    Responses: 134 How many coffees? 1634 Overall wins: 221 Overall losses: 1413 <strong>Win percentage: 13.53%</strong> Small : 11.99% Medium : 16.76% Large : 20.64% Extra Large: 18.56%

  • Yukon Territory

    Responses: 1 for each NWT and Yukon Overall wins: 2 Overall losses: 15 Win percentage: 11.76% Small : 0% Medium : 0% Large : 0% Extra Large: 33.3%

  • Northwest Territories

    Responses: 1 for each NWT and Yukon Overall wins: 2 Overall losses: 15 Win percentage: 11.76% Small : 0% Medium : 0% Large : 0% Extra Large: 33.3%

  • Nunavut

    No responses

  • More On The HuffPost Canada Experiment

    We drank a lot of coffee...

  • Do The Odds Change?

    Are you more likely to win a Roll Up The Rim To Win prize if you buy a larger size drink? It’s a question on the minds of many frustrated small- and medium-size cup drinkers who, after countless coffees and teas, feel the <a href="" target="_hplink">one-in-six odds don’t seem to apply</a> to them. Tim Hortons says a categorical no, that prizes are distributed randomly across all cup sizes.

  • The Challenge

    So we challenged members of our talented newsrooms to take part in a journalistically questionable, unreliable and completely unscientific experiment: We asked them to drink a load of coffee over a week and keep their cups. Sure, we knew the results would be skewed by all kinds of factors, beginning with the small sample size and ending with the fact that most cups were bought in Toronto. Still, the results were interesting:

  • Small Cups

    38 Small Cups: 4 wins, 34 losses (10.5 per cent winners or one-in-9.5 odds)

  • Medium Cups

    18 Medium Cups: 3 wins, 15 losses (16.6 per cent winners or one-in-six odds)

  • Large Cups

    18 Large Cups: 3 wins, 15 losses (16.6 per cent winners or one-in-six odds)

  • Extra Large Cups

    18 Extra Large Cups: 5 wins; 13 losses (27.7 per cent winners or one-in-3.5 odds)

  • Roll up the Rim to Win: A History

    Here are nine important, fun or just plain random facts about Tim Hortons’ Roll Up The Rim To Win Contest.

  • This is the guy who invented it

    Ron Buist was the marketing director for Tim Hortons when the chain rolled out its first Roll up the Rim to Win contest. Buist says he came up with the idea because of cost constraints. The chain didn’t have enough money to make cups for a scratch-and-win contest, so he came up with the idea of rolling up the cup’s rim instead. "<a href="">Like any invention, one person comes up with it, but it's the company that makes it work</a>," Buist said.

  • There's a novel about it

    Giller Prize-nominated writer Leo MacKay Jr.’s novel <em>Roll up the Rim</em> is “<a href="">a comic tale of obsession, redemption, divine intervention, and Timbits</a>.” MacKay is selling the book directly, and depending on how much money you send him, you can get the book autographed, get a reading from the author via Skype, or even get an in-person reading. Now that’s dedication.

  • A hot commodity among thieves

    Some retailers who carry Tim Hortons coffee have reported customers doubling or even tripling up on roll-up-the-rim cups. Some brazen wannabe winners are going so far as to take entire stacks of cups out of stores. Retailers have <a href="">taken to hiding the cups behind the counter to keep people from stealing them</a>.

  • Dude, where’s my Toyota?

    A winning Timmies cup became the centre of acrimony in 2006 when a 10-year-old Montreal girl found a cup in a garbage can. With the help of a 12-year-old friend, the girl discovered that the cup was a Toyota RAV4 winner. But the contest win turned into a battle between two families when the 12-year-old’s parents claimed the prize for their own. And the whole issue became even more complicated when a custodian at the girls’ school claimed he had thrown the cup away. In the end, <a href="">Timmies gave the car to the 10-year-old</a>, as the rules stipulate whoever hands in the cup wins the prize.

  • Timmies employees sneaking and peeking?

    A Newfoundland man told the press in 2008 he suspected Timmies employees of sneaking and peeking at cups to suss out winners, then passing along the losing cups to customers. Bernard Delaney said he got a cup that looked like the rim had already been rolled up, and the cup, he said, even had teeth marks. Tim Hortons said <a href="">a manufacturing problem was to blame for the cup</a>, and denied anyone had bitten into the cup or sneaked a look under the rim.

  • Environmentalists vs. Roll up the Rim

    The Toronto Environmental Alliance criticized the Roll up the Rim contest in 2010, noting that disposable coffee cups of the sort Tim Hortons uses are wasteful and harmful to the environment. "A lot of resources go into making a coffee cup and too often they end up going into garbage. . . . it's a pretty significant waste of resources,” the group said. Tim Hortons <a href="">said they were looking into alternatives, but hadn’t found one yet that works</a>.

  • Regional divides

    Tim Hortons took some criticism when it emerged in 2009 that <a href="">your odds of winning are worse in some provinces than others</a>. CBC reported that, though 52.5 per cent of Roll up the Rim purchases took place in Canada’s largest province, Ontario only received 43 per cent of prizes. The best odds of winning were in British Columbia, where the odds of winning were nearly double that of Ontario.

  • Counterfeit cups?

    Vancouver Island house painter Matthew de Jong walked into a Tim Hortons in 2009 and presented a winning cup for a Toyota Venza. A week later, the company <a href="">informed de Jong he wouldn’t be getting his prize because his cup was a fake</a>. Tim Hortons even suggested it could bring charges against de Jong. But when the story hit the news, a 12-year-old girl who lived in the house de Jong was painting came forward to admit she had made a fake winning cup as part of an April Fools prank. Tim Hortons dropped the matter.

  • Bad for business??!!

    In 2011, when Tim Hortons missed quarterly earnings projections, the company blamed the bad performance on “<a href="">significantly increased food and beverage prize redemptions</a>.” The company estimated Roll up the Rim had cut about a third off of same-store sales growth that quarter. But the company also noted that a coffee promotion at McDonald’s during that year’s Roll up the Rim may have cut into sales.

The larger the size, the more likely the odds of winning. Large coffees saw a win rate of 19.3 per cent, followed by extra large at 18.3 per cent and medium at 17.9 per cent. All are better than the one-in-six odds that Tim Horton’s lists as the official odds of winning a food prize. Small coffees — and there were more than 3,000 of these counted by our readers — came in with a win rate of 13.4 per cent.

Tim Hortons prints in its cups that there is a one-in-six chance of winning a food prize, or 16.6 per cent.

“I buy at least 3 times a day, only win on bigger cups,” said Mike Reed of Manitoba. “No one I know has won anything but coffee.”

Regional odds were interesting to note. In British Columbia, readers reported a 20.6 per cent win rate with large drinks and 12 per cent for smalls, while in Ontario, large coffees saw a 19.6 per cent win rate for large, 17.7 per cent for extra large and 13.2 per cent for small.

The national results are also unscientific, but an interesting addition to the hot debate about RUTR odds. Readers from all provinces reported to us, although our sample size came mostly from Ontario (54%), Alberta (12%) and British Columbia (11%).

In our original story, when asked about whether cup size changes the odds, Alexandra Cygal, senior manager of public affairs for Tim Hortons, gave a categorical "no."

The "conspiracy theorists are wrong," she said in an email. "Our prizes are distributed randomly across all eligible cup sizes so large cups don’t necessarily mean better odds."

By the way, if you think odds of one-in-six mean you’re due a prize after buying six drinks, a crash course in probability theory is warranted.

As Wai Kong (John) Yuen, a math professor at Ontario's Brock University told us earlier, "it only means that in the long run, if you buy a large number of coffees, say 600 cups, you are expected to win around 100 times. However, anything can happen if you only buy six."

Think of what happens when you roll dice. There's a one-in-six chance the die will turn up a six. The odds essentially "reset" on the next roll. Says Vadim Kaimanovich, the Canada Research Chair in Analysis and Probability at University of Ottawa, "The result doesn’t depend on what happened before or what happens after."

Readers who participated in our national “roll call” had lots to say about the contest:

  • “My whole office went all month and nobody won a single prize. It's a scam!” — @mademediainc, Quebec
  • “I won more free coffees in Kandahar on my 2nd tour then I ever do back in Canada.” — @DocVerrall, Alberta
  • The binomial probability of having a record as crappy as mine is exactly 3.05% — @maxmoore306, Alberta
  • Conspiracy? Been playing the game since inception, never ever won more than a free coffee or donut. Better than nothing? You decide. :) — @CalvinSwine905, Ontario

Share your Roll Up The Rim experiences in our comments section.

Summary of National and Regional Win Rates:

Overall responses
1182 respondents
19,349 drinks
Note: 1 in six odd is 16.6%

Win percentage: 13.90%
Small win rate: 13.39%
Medium win rate: 17.89%
Large win rate : 19.30%
Extra Large win rate: 18.27%

British Columbia
Win percentage: 13.53%

Win percentage: 13.55%

Win percentage: 15.12%

Win percentage: 12.79%

Win percentage: 14.23%

Win percentage: 12.8%

New Brunswick
Win percentage: 10.30%

Win percentage: 18.02%

Newfoundland and Labrador
Win percentage: 17.09%

Win percentage: 11.76%

United States
Win percentage: 18.75%

Nova Scotia
Win percentage: 13.96%