# Thread: Spider Solitaire - Can the Cards Really be Random?

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## Spider Solitaire - Can the Cards Really be Random?

To pass the time I sometimes play Spider Solitaire (on XP). Too often, the same cards come up on each deal which seems impossible. There can be times when three of the same number/suit come up along with another of the same number with a different suit. It happens way too often to be random. There's just no way it can happen so frequently.

Any one else find this to be true?

Thanks...Joe

2. Originally Posted by Grandcheapskate
To pass the time I sometimes play Spider Solitaire (on XP). Too often, the same cards come up on each deal which seems impossible. There can be times when three of the same number/suit come up along with another of the same number with a different suit. It happens way too often to be random. There's just no way it can happen so frequently.

Any one else find this to be true?

Thanks...Joe
No. I've been playing it for years, and while there are 52 to the 52nd power combinations in a deck of cards, (1.7067656e+89) that would leave a lot of room for similar combinations.

similarities.

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Or, 80,658,175,170,943,878,571,660,636,856,403,766,975 ,289,505,440,883,277,824,000,000,000,000
( 8.0658175e+67 )

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Not 52! but 104!. Spider solitaire is a double deck solitaire game. However, if using the single suit option, there will be 8 identical cards that could be in each position so many similar decks will be created.

A perfect random generator could result in the exact same deck being drawn every time. Unlikely, but every value should have an equal chance of occurring.

5. I don't know about the Windows version but I've played this on other platforms where it's an option to always use the same random seed so that the cards are the same every time. It's so that you get practise winning.

6. Originally Posted by gslick

Or, 80,658,175,170,943,878,571,660,636,856,403,766,975 ,289,505,440,883,277,824,000,000,000,000
( 8.0658175e+67 )
wanna check those numbers . . .

https://exponentiations.com/52-to-the-52nd-power

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I usually play with two suits. I've tried four and won the first time I played. Every time after that has been a complete failure.

I just don't see how the same card can come up multiple times on the same deal so frequently. And the number of times I move a card to clear a pile only to have the next card be the same one I just moved off that pile is staggering. Yes it can happen but it just seems to happen way too often to be random.

Joe

8. Originally Posted by krebizfan
Not 52! but 104!. Spider solitaire is a double deck solitaire game. However, if using the single suit option, there will be 8 identical cards that could be in each position so many similar decks will be created.

A perfect random generator could result in the exact same deck being drawn every time. Unlikely, but every value should have an equal chance of occurring.
I know that - just used 1 deck to illustrate the absurd amount of combinations.

9. Originally Posted by Grandcheapskate
I just don't see how the same card can come up multiple times on the same deal so frequently. And the number of times I move a card to clear a pile only to have the next card be the same one I just moved off that pile is staggering. Yes it can happen but it just seems to happen way too often to be random.
So, you're suggesting a conspiracy theory in a 2-bit solitaire game?

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Originally Posted by Grandcheapskate
I usually play with two suits. I've tried four and won the first time I played. Every time after that has been a complete failure.

I just don't see how the same card can come up multiple times on the same deal so frequently. And the number of times I move a card to clear a pile only to have the next card be the same one I just moved off that pile is staggering. Yes it can happen but it just seems to happen way too often to be random.

Joe
Can't speak for the internal logic of Spider, though I quite enjoy it (haven't played for ages, but I'm missing it now!). However - at various points I've been involved in making software that uses randomisation, either in games design or e-learning. My experience has been that when I've designed and/or implemented genuinely random processes, human perception of it has often been "it's not random". People spot particular kinds of patterns very easily, and the surrounding rules of the game make some patterns more prominent than others. I have sometimes ended up writing complicated processes to eliminate "not random seeming enough" random results in order to make users happy. This tends to leave me feeling a bit annoyed as it feels... logically impure? but people can often be more satisfied with the results and it's always been for purposes I can live with. Fortunately I've never been asked to do this to intentionally cheat people, I hope I'd bluntly refuse if that came up.

Probability is actually a bit counter intuitive. Think of flipping a coin (assuming it's a fair coin-toss): if I do it over and over again, longish sequences of the same result come up fairly often... eg if I flip a coin ten times, most people assume the chance of getting five or more of one kind in a row is very low, but because the sequence could start on any of the first six flips and I only need to get the following four the same, it turns up more than intuition expects (more than 20% of the time). Something similar occurs in card draws, usually with shorter sequences because there are more possible sequences, but still pretty often because there are a lot of places the pattern could occur.

Theoretically the "pseudorandom" numbers we get out of standard library functions in most programming languages are really pretty good for most games purposes (or pretty much anything non-cryptographic really). However I do think there are a lot of flawed uses of them out there. If the programmer screwed up randomisation seeding, that could result in an annoying level of predictability. I've seen this happen when people think they're being clever, and accidentally end up re-seeding from a not-so-random source or at a predictable occasion.

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