Thursday, September 5, 2013

A Simple Deck Of Cards...!

It seems like a simple thing; 52 pieces of cardboard that nearly everyone knows about.

Of course, even as children we learned many card games like "Go Fish", "Battle", "Slap Jack" and all the rest. As we grew older, Poker and Blackjack replaced the childhood games and card playing became a much more serious endeavor. But what about the history of the cards themselves? Ever given much thought to the simple decks we use and all that they represent? Here are a few facts about the  card decks that you may not know and just may surprise you!

There are more possible arrangements in a deck of cards than there are stars in the known universe. The full number is 52 factorial, which is (very, very roughly) an eight followed by 67 zeroes.

The standard 52-card deck has been around for 500 years or more. What is rather unbelievable is that there are so many possible arrangements of the cards, it is statistically unlikely that any two have ever repeated in all of history. There are in fact 80,658,175,170,943,878,571,660,636,856,403,766,975,289,505,440,883,277,824,000,000,000,000 arrangements.

The above number, while impossible to get your head around in any conventional manner, is 52 factorial, the possible orders of a shuffled deck. While enormous, the number is rather simply arrived at, by multiplying 52 down to 1 (52 x 51 x 50 . . . ). There are more possible arrangements of cards than there are atoms on Earth.

With such an astonishing range, the science of “card counting,” or predicting the next cards to be dealt in a hand, seems more magic than math. There are, however, well-known formulas to tip the odds in a player’s favor. In American casinos, card counting is not illegal, though casinos frown upon it and employ various countermeasures to keep professional players from raking in huge pots!

Maybe the next time you sit down to a quiet hand of Solitaire or a friendly game of Gin Rummy with a neighbor, this little fact will pop up as a topic of discussion. Who knows?

Want to have coffee out on the patio this morning? It's not too bad yet.


Glan Deas said...

Hello!! Hermit, Your this blog is total maths. New research, it is interesting.

Kopi Luwak

Chickenmom said...

When we were kids my brother and I would always find a brand new pack of cards in our Christmas stockings.
We used to play cards all the time. I even had a tiny, tiny deck that fit on my keychain!
Coffee on the paid sounds good - I'll bring chocolate chip cookies for all.

linda m said...

That is soo interesting. I am not a very big card player but as a child we played the usual kids card games. Coffee outside sounds good to me. Save my spot on the swing.

JO said...

Well that was a lot to take in for sure. When we were kids my cousin loved to cheat, he threw down his cards and yelled I have a kangaroo straight. He had every other card in a suite. swear it was legal. haha

Morning is beautiful so patio it is.

HermitJim said...

Hey Glan...
Glad that you found it interesting!

Thanks for coming by this morning!

Hey Phyllis...
I can see where cards would make for a great stocking stuffer!

Thanks for coming by this morning!

Hey Linda...
Kids always seem to enjoy the card games, that's for sure!

The swing is all yours today!

Thanks for your visit today!

Hey Jo...
Sometimes cousins are like that! Fun, but a pain in the butt!

Thanks for coming over today, sweetie!

Sixbears said...

I had an uncle who was a pretty successful card shark. One day he showed up at my house with a Cadillac he won in a card game. Quite the character.

Hermit Ladee said...

Forgive my untrusting soul, but I had to fact check that extremely large number. And your number is correct. It is true, I can't wrap my head around a number with that many commas!

Interesting article. Thanks! :-)

HermitJim said...

Hey Sixbears...
Some folks are much better at cards than others. Of course, that doesn't include me. Bummer!

Thanks for coming over today!

Hey Hermit Ladee...
I don't mind a bit! Never hurts to do some research, that's for sure!

That is indeed a very big number!

Thanks for dropping by today!