An anonymous reader writes "You may have heard that it takes about seven shuffles to mix up a deck of cards to near randomness. Turns out, though, that most of the time, perfect randomness is more than you need. In blackjack, for example, you don't care about suits. The same mathematician who developed the original result now says that for many games, four shuffles is enough. And the result isn't only important for card sharks. It helps reveal the math underlying Markov Chain Monte Carlo simulations, telling applied mathematicians when they can stop their simulations."
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