Game of Chance

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Updated on Nov 6, 2013

Help your child learn how to create a "level playing field" while playing a game with cards. This doesn't mean each player will win, but it does mean that fairness can actually be measured through the concept of probability.  This is an experiment to show what happens when a game of chance starts out unfair, and how to alter it so both players having an equal chance to succeed.

What You Need:

  • Deck of cards

What You Do:

  1. Shuffle the deck and place one card face down on a table.
  2. Ask your child to turn the card over. If it's a diamond, he gets to keep it. If it's not a diamond, you get to keep it. Continue playing for 10 rounds and see who has the most cards after play has concluded.
  3. Ask your child if he thinks the game is fair? Why not? Since a deck of cards has four suits, there's a 25% chance a diamond will come up. This means, there's a 75% chance that the dealer will win. How can the game be made fairer?
  4. This time, deal two cards at the same time. How does this alter the odds of probability?  What if he gets to keep diamonds and clubs?
  5. Ask him to come up with other ways to play the game which would also be mathematically fair.