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Riffling Chance (Posted on 2005-08-30) Difficulty: 5 of 5
When shuffling a deck of cards using a riffle shuffle, one divides the deck in two and lets the two halves riffle down to the table, interleaving as they do so. Assume that a person using this shuffle will always divide a deck of 52 cards exactly evenly, and that the riffle will start equally often from the left as from the right.

The expert dealer that I am, when I perform a riffle shuffle the cards from the two halves always interleave perfectly, the cards alternating from the left and right halves of the deck.

How many times must I shuffle the deck before the probability of correctly guessing the next card down in the deck after seeing a card chosen randomly from some place in the deck will be less than 1.97%? (If the cards were perfectly random, the probability of correctly guessing the next card would be 1/51 = 1.96%)

Bonus: What if there were a 10% chance that, as each card falls during the riffle, the card will be covered by another card from the same half, instead of strictly alternating?

(Assume that the person guessing knows the original order of the cards, the number of times the deck has been shuffled, and the probability of the cards interleaving perfectly.)

No Solution Yet Submitted by Sam    
Rating: 4.3333 (6 votes)

Comments: ( Back to comment list | You must be logged in to post comments.)
Some Thoughts re: Pascals triangle | Comment 3 of 10 |
(In reply to Pascals triangle by Leming)

Ok.  Not that easy.   First answer is 1640 Riffles. That is the probability that a guess of the most likely follow-on card is in the next spot less than 1.97% of the time (1.9699%).  But this is an answer for an unlimited deck.  I will be back and I am bringing my monte carlo computer with me.
  Posted by Leming on 2005-08-31 06:24:59

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