Shuffling shenanigans

A magician-turned-mathematician figures out how many times to shuffle a deck of cards before playing Old Maid

By Julie Rehmeyer, 15:34 PM September 30, 2009

When Persi Diaconis was a kid, his favorite hangout was the magic store. He and his friends goofed around, practiced their tricks and longed for the books and tools.

Then one day, in walked the world’s greatest living magician.

Diaconis, a thirteen-year-old whippersnapper, decided to show off his card tricks. The great magician, Dai Vernon, was so impressed that he decided to teach the teenager a few new things. Each time the pair met in the shop, Vernon taught Diaconis a bit more. And w...

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