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And Speaking of Probability by tristero

And Speaking of Probability 

by tristero

Digby's recent post re: the GOP and the Monty Hall problem inspired me to unearth this wonderful article from the NY Times in 1990. The punchline is eerily relevant:

It takes just seven ordinary, imperfect shuffles to mix a deck of cards thoroughly, researchers have found. Fewer are not enough and more do not significantly improve the mixing. 
The mathematical proof, discovered after studies of results from elaborate computer calculations and careful observation of card games, confirms the intuition of many gamblers, bridge enthusiasts and casual players that most shuffling is inadequate. 
The finding has implications for everyone who plays cards and everyone, from casino operators to magicians, who has a stake in knowing whether a shuffle is random…
In Las Vegas, cards are shuffled from four to seven times... 
At Trump Plaza in Atlantic City, blackjack dealers shuffle eight decks twice at the beginning of each game, said Howard Dreitzer, who is senior vice president of casino operations. ''We've tested these shuffles and feel that they are random,'' he said, adding that ''no one has ever complained.’'
That's right. Screw the science because in Trumpland, it just feels right to shuffle twice and the rubes will never complain.

I have to admit I laughed out loud when I read that, but it was a very grim laugh.

Happy Pi Day, everyone!