Enigma 1037: The perfect shuffle
9 November 2018
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From New Scientist #2193, 3rd July 1999 [link]
I recently took an ordinary pack of playing cards and placed them on the table, face down. Somewhere in the pack the four aces were together, and in places further down the kings were together, the queens were together, and the jacks were together.
I then did the “perfect shuffle”. In other words I took the top 26 cards in my left hand, and the other 26 in my right, I flicked the bottom left-hand card on to the table, followed by the bottom right-hand card on top of it, followed by the next left on top of them, next right, next left, and so on. The cards remained face down at all times.
My fellow players were so impressed with this performance that I did three more perfect shuffles with the same pack. When I had finished, the arrangement of suits within the pack was exactly the same as when I started (for example, the top card was a heart before and after the four shuffles, the next was a spade before and after the four shuffles, and so on).
Counting from the top, what was the position of the ace of hearts after the four shuffles?