Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Flush vs. Straight

Bram Cohen:

As every poker player knows, the chances of a random set of five cards being a flush is less than the chances of it being a straight. So, if you deal out one card face-up at a time until either five of the dealt cards form a straight or five of the dealt cards form a flush, which is more likely to happen first, a flush or a straight? The obvious answer is a straight, because that’s the more likely hand, but that might not be correct.

This kind of question is difficult to answer analytically, but it’s easy to find the answer using a Monte Carlo simulation.

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