Mind-Boggling Card Trick

September 4, 2018

Today’s exercise is a mind-boggling card trick:

Create a pack of 52 cards, half red, half black, and shuffle them. With the cards face down, turn over the top card. If it is black, add the next card, unseen, to the black stack; if it is red, add the next card, unseen, to the red stack. Add the original top card to the discard stack. Repeat these steps for all the cards in the pack. Now, randomly choose a number less than the size of the smaller of the black and red stacks, choose that many cards randomly from each of the two stacks, and swap those randomly-chosen cards from one stack to the other. The number of black cards in the black stack will equal the number of red cards in the red stack.

Your taks is to write a program to simulate the card trick and confirm that the number of black cards in the black stack equals the number of red cards in the red stack. When you are finished, you are welcome to read or run a suggested solution, or to post your own solution or discuss the exercise in the comments below.

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