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Shuffling Cards

Date: 2014-02-12
Tags: cards shuffling algorithms combinatorics

While reading When Random Isn’t Random Enough: Lessons from an Online Poker Exploit I remembered what’s called Mental poker. One of the problems with this type of poker is making sure your counterpart isn’t cheating by rigging or peeking the deck when they shuffle it. The algorithms described in the link would allow a distributed, P2P card game. Without a trusted third party, you could be sure to shuffle the deck according to a known algorithm.

Another interesting thing is that there are so many types of physical shuffles and shuffling algorithms and research that has gone into analyzing such a seemingly basic action of any card game. Similar to knots, being common doesn’t equate to being simple or well-understood.