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Disorder in the Deck

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Author:Ivars Peterson (MathTrek)
Description: About 30 years ago, tournament bridge players started using computer-shuffled rather than hand-shuffled decks. Almost immediately, there was an outcry protesting the apparently wild fluctuations in the distribution of cards of different suits in computer-dealt hands. However, the problem lay not in the computer but with human expectations... How many times must a deck of 52 cards be shuffled before the cards are randomly distributed? It turns out that trying to answer this question raises a number of subtle issues concerning both card shuffling and various measures of randomness.

Levels: High School (9-12), College
Languages: English
Resource Types: Articles
Math Topics: Permutations/Combinations

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