Maths Explains The Best Way To Shuffle A Deck Of Cards

Maths Explains The Best Way To Shuffle A Deck Of Cards
To sign up for our daily newsletter covering the latest news, features and reviews, head HERE. For a running feed of all our stories, follow us on Twitter HERE. Or you can bookmark the Gizmodo Australia homepage to visit whenever you need a news fix.

Everyone who has played poker or even Go Fish knows the basics of shuffling cards. There’s the riffle shuffle (combining two halves of a decks and making a bridge), overhand shuffling (quickly splicing cards from the deck back into the deck) and regular ol’ mixing all the cards up on a table. Which way is the best?

Maths can explain! In order to achieve the closest possible shuffle to a random order there could be in a deck of cards, you have to riffle shuffle seven times. That’s a lot, right? Not really. In order to reach that same randomness with the overhand shuffle, you would have to do it 10,000 times. And if you wanted to mix the deck up on a table, you would have to keep mixing for a full minute.

So riffle shuffling seven times is the best and most efficient way to truly randomise a deck of cards. The overhand shuffle might be the worst way (which is probably why you never see it happen in a casino) with the mixing method being effective but annoying.