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Math and Card Games By: Candace DiBiano Symmetry in Cards Notice that playing cards are symmetric . The top of the card is the same as the bottom, just reflected backwards like looking in a mirror. Shape of Cards The shape of the card is also a geometric consideration.

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math and card games

Math and Card Games

By: Candace DiBiano

symmetry in cards
Symmetry in Cards
  • Notice that playing cards are symmetric.
  • The top of the card is the same as the bottom, just reflected backwards like looking in a mirror.
shape of cards
Shape of Cards
  • The shape of the card is also a geometric consideration.
  • Too large or too small, and the cards become impractical to hold in one hand.
  • What is a good height-to- width ratio? Some games use other-shape cards, like square or round cards, instead.
math in game design
Math in Game Design
  • Math is also involved in the design of the game in terms of winning and losing.
  • In many games, the designer wants the probability of each player winning (assuming equally good strategies) to be equal, or as nearly equal as possible.
math and strategy
Math and Strategy
  • Determining the best playing strategy also involves math.
  • Knowing how to determine the probability of the occurrence of random events can help a player determine the best strategy for winning.
  • In blackjack the player and the dealer are both dealt two cards. All face cards are valued at 10, aces at 11.
  • The player wants to get as close as possible to 21. The player can be “hit” with more cards to try to get closer to 21.
  • If you go over 21 you automatically lose, this is called “busting.”
strategy in blackjack
Strategy in Blackjack
  • Using the “optimal strategy” in blackjack, which was calculated using mathematics, you can actually come out 1/100th of a cent ahead of the casino each game!
  • Learning how to count cards (remembering what cards have come up already) can increase your edge further.
card counting in blackjack
Card Counting in Blackjack
  • By keeping track of how many high cards and how many low cards you’ve seen, you can tell what must be left in the deck.
  • This tells you how to bet, since high cards are good for you, and bad for the dealer.
  • This is because a dealer is forced to “hit” on less than 17, and if there’s more high cards the dealer will “bust” a lot.
mathematicians take over vegas
Mathematicians take over Vegas
  • In the 1990s math students at M.I.T. calculated exactly how to use this method to count cards.
  • They formed teams and headed to Las Vegas. They were able to make $400,000 in one weekend, using this strategy.
mathematicians take over vegas10
Mathematicians take over Vegas
  • Card counting is not illegal, nor is it considered cheating by casinos.
  • However if you start winning big, a casino is a private business, and can kick you out whenever they want.
  • This is what eventually happened to the mathematicians wherever they went.
math in poker
Math in Poker
  • Mathematicians also calculate the probability of getting different hands in poker.
  • It can get pretty complicated:
today s activity
Today’s Activity
  • Today we will be discovering in groups the probabilities of picking sets of cards.
  • We will also be figuring out how to assign “points” to the different cards in the set.