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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Predictability of Randomness

While playing several games of Hearts (Did I mention I live with Bipolar Disorder Type II?) I discovered a pattern in the endings of the games of Hearts. It didn’t come to me as an epiphany. Rather, I began to note the incredible number of pairs that came up at the play of the last cards of each hand.

To amuse myself I began to change the order of the cards I played, if such play didn’t affect my score. I would start with the 11th, 12th, and/or 13th cards. I wanted to know if I could increase the number of pairs and runs when playing “match-maker” with my final cards. You know, who gives a rat’s ass if you toss any one of the 6, 7, and 8 of diamonds that you are holding at the conclusion of a game when all the hearts and the bitch with the shovel have fallen? So, like some fairy on a artsy fartsy binge (God, I loved that commercial!), I would play my 6 if one of the previous players played a six regardless that the automaton play is to drop the 8. Okay?

Then, I got to thinking that I may have really discovered something special here. Maybe I should do the research, including recording the cards played at the end of… let’s say a minimum of a hundred games? Use my skills. Whatever it took, maybe. Some day.

Of course, reality came crashing done when it finally dawned on me that the pairs, triplets, and rummy runs were the result of the high-low play of each card. Yep, pure genius am I. Manic Monk. The normal play of the game produces the “special” results that I had noticed. Duh?

Yes, the computer/dealer distributes cards from a shuffled deck and we expect random results. The deal is random, but the game of Hearts requires both luck (a good dealt hand) and skills (count the cards, try not to take any tricks, and shoot the moon when you can). After enough games with the computer, you may begin to understand the programmed play of your computer opponents. With luck and skill, a good player can beat the computer players more than one fourth of the time (get it? 4 players….).

Yes, we believe that the distribution of those 13 fraking cards is random. The dealer wasn’t fraking with me when he gave me 9 of the 13 clubs. Really. I believe you.

Anyway, what did I learn through this idiotic romp? You may expect a predictable end to the game whose hands are distributed at random. The play of the game ultimately trumps what the dealer deals you.

Is that a philosophy of life, as well? Don’t we take what is dealt us and run with it?

The play of the game ultimately trumps what life deals you.

I don’t want to take that trick. I’ve got the 2!

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