Some might want to believe that the cards are completely random, that luck is entirely in your fate. In some circumstances this is true. But only if you have no idea how to determine what and how many cards are in the deck that you need to draw from.

My contribution to the open source textbook will be one regarding probability math, specifically where it comes to random number generation and determining the probabilities of certain outcomes. To do this, I look to a favorite card of mine, Magic: The Gathering.

For those who don’t know, think of MtG (Magic the Gathering) as a card game that’s partly like poker, partly like chess, and partly like roleplaying games. In a traditional constructed format, players draw seven initial cards for their hand, then take turns accumulating resources on the playing field in an attempt to defeat their opponent. The wide variety of different deck types also contributes to different probabilities – determining which turn you need to reach to win the game, determining the inevitability of drawing into your win condition, determining how likely it will be at any stage of the game for you to draw a specific answer to a problem for you.