# How could I predict the results of a simple card game?

I want to predict the results of a simple card game, to judge on average, how long a game will last.

My 'simple' game is;

• Cards are dealt from a randomised deck to n players (typically 2-4)
• Each player gets five cards
• The top card from the deck is turned over
• Each player takes it in turns to either place a card of the same face value (i.e 1-10, J, Q, K, A), the same suit (i.e Hearts, Diamonds, Spades, Clubs) or any suit of magic card (a jack)
• If the player can place a card they do, otherwise they must take a card from the deck
• Play continues in turn until all but one player has no cards left

I'm guessing that I could write code to play a mythical game and report the result, then run that code thousands of times.

Has anyone done this ? Can they suggest code that does a similar job (my favoured language is R, but anything would do) ? Is there a better way ?

• It'd be fun to see your code once you write it :) Sorry, I don't remember coming across such a thing... Aug 6, 2010 at 11:04
• I did something similar a while back to analyze the most-frequently-landed-on spaces in Monopoly (wrote a small simulator)... not sure if there's another way of doing it. Aug 6, 2010 at 11:47
• Seems off-topic. I am not sure I see the link to statistical analysis in the question. This seems appropriate for stackoverflow.com.
– user28
Aug 6, 2010 at 12:21
• Strikant - since it can be solved with simulation, I think keeping the question will be o.k. Aug 6, 2010 at 12:45
• I agree with it Tal. It's a statistical computing problem. Aug 6, 2010 at 12:58

The easiest way is just to simulate the game lots of times. The R code below simulates a single game.

nplayers = 4
#Create an empty data frame to keep track
#of card number, suit and if it's magic
empty.hand = data.frame(number = numeric(52),
suit = numeric(52),
magic  = numeric(52))

#A list of players who are in the game
players =list()
for(i in 1:nplayers)
players[[i]] = empty.hand

#Simulate shuffling the deck
deck = empty.hand
deck$number = rep(1:13, 4) deck$suit = as.character(rep(c("H", "C", "S", "D"), each=13))
deck$magic = rep(c(0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 0), each=4) deck = deck[sample(1:52, 52),] #Deal out five cards per person for(i in 1:length(players)){ r = (5*i-4):(5*i) players[[i]][r,] = deck[r,] } #Play the game i = 5*length(players)+1 current = deck[i,] while(i < 53){ for(j in 1:length(players)){ playersdeck = players[[j]] #Need to test for magic and suit also - left as an exercise! if(is.element(current$number, playersdeck$number)){ #Update current card current = playersdeck[match(current$number,
playersdeck$number),] #Remove card from players deck playersdeck[match(current$number, playersdeck$number),] = c(0, 0, 0) } else { #Add card to players deck playersdeck[i,] = deck[i,] i = i + 1 } players[[j]] = playersdeck #Has someone won or have we run out of card if(sum(playersdeck$number) == 0 | i > 52){
i = 53
break
}
}
}

#How many cards are left for each player
for(i in 1:length(players))
{
cat(sum(players[[i]]\$number !=0), "\n")
}