School-Safe Puzzle Games

Playing Cards

Gambling illustration with 3d casino symbols, cards and ribbon.

For my premiere on Smartkit I would like to present a series of 5 logic puzzles. The first one, below,  is easy-medium in difficulty while the other four will be harder.

These logic puzzles are intended to promote debate and provide you with Aha! moments. For each of them I will post a widely accepted solution. Good luck!

1st logic puzzle:

Alice shuffled the deck of cards and began dealing them (unclockwise, 1 card/person at a time). During the process the telephone rang and Alice had to answer it. When she was back nobody remembered where exactly had she stopped dealing. Without counting any cards nor collecting them, how did Alice manage to finish up dealing the cards correctly?

Answers can always be entered into the ‘comment’ section below; will reveal what you submit in a couple days, thanks.

27 Comments to “Playing Cards”


  1. BillyPilgrim | Profile

    If “unclockwise” means “counterclockwise”, she should start with the person to her left and deal clockwise.


  2. jmart574 | Profile

    All she would have to do is start dealing clockwise from the far left. After the people who missed the interrupted round will get their card and then normal dealing will begin with the next person in line


  3. Obiwan | Profile

    Several possibilities:
    1. If this is a question of semantics and grammar, then each player counts their cards and Alice starts again based on that information. The phrase “Without counting any cards nor collecting them” refers to Alice, not to the other players. If the phrase is intended to refer to all of the players at the table, then it is a dangling modifier and represents a grammatical error.


    2. I assume the desired answer is: Alice just starts dealing again in the opposite direction (i.e., clockwise). The last card would go to the person next to the one who received the last card just before the phone rang, leading to equal distribution of the cards.


    As a card player, I offer the following observations:
    a) In most card games in the US, cards are dealt in a clockwise manner, rather than “unclockwise”.
    b) One assumes that all of the cards will be dealt (as in Contract Bridge); I don’t believe what I referred to as “the desired answer” above would work in Gin Rummy, for example.
    c) Most importantly, EVERYONE would probably freak and cry foul if part of the deck was dealt left to right and the rest right to left (don’t ask why–card players are superstitious beasts). ;-)


  4. aaronlau | Profile

    Assume start giving out cards starting from herself.


    After the phone call, give out cards clockwise starting from one person before herself (i.e. the person on Alice’s left).


  5. Falwan | Profile

    She could’ve put the deck of cards by the last person she dealed so that when she comes back she starts with the next one up…


  6. pgzzz | Profile

    She had not yet given each person at least one card so the next card goes to the first person without a card on the right of the person who has a card and is furthest anti-clockwise from the dealer.


  7. the_god_dellusion | Profile

    she comes back starts dealing clockwise starting from last player.


  8. Shawn | PUZZLE GRANDMASTER | Profile

    After returning from “answering the phone,” she began dealing from the bottom of the deck, first to herself and then continuing clockwise.


  9. MFox | Profile

    Is she supposed to deal out cards until the entire deck has been used? If so, then she could simply deal out the remaining cards in clockwise fashion.


  10. ahsergio | Profile

    The dealer usually points the whole deck to the person he is dealing to. This is the only answer i could think of, although it may be hard to say if the person pointed by the deck was the last to get a card or should be next to get one. I believe it should be the next to get (using intuition not logic).


  11. puigalter | Profile

    Asking people how many cards have everyone of them


  12. markodiablo | Profile

    Alice was alone so got all the cards.


  13. suineg | PUZZLE MASTER | Profile

    Maybe the deck of card was pointing towards the last person that was dealed,cool.


  14. trunicated | Profile

    Start dealing clockwise from the person who is one space clockwise of the person you originally started dealing at. All this will change is who gets any “extra” cards (which are extra if the numPeople % 52 != 0).


  15. Allen | Profile

    Start by dealing clockwise one position on from first start


  16. Oneiric | Profile

    She only had the time to deal one card to some of the players. The players she forgot don’t have a card yet.


  17. hex | PUZZLE MASTER | Profile

    Knowing the number of cards in the deck (C, normally = 52) and the number of persons (P), Alice can calculate who will get the last card. She will continue dealing from that person clockwise.
    Let’s consider she is person 0 and the person right after her (counterclockwise) is person 1 … until person P-1. She should continue dealing from person C modulo P clockwise.


  18. michaelc | Profile

    Alice could have started with the player she would have finished with and deal backwards if she was dealing out the entire deck. If she was only dealing a hand of 5 or 7 or whatever, I know of no way without everyone counting their cards.


  19. scottk | Profile

    this one has me stumped a bit. I want to say that she should deal the cards in reverse order because thats the only thing i can think of.


  20. suzz | Profile

    Deal the rest of the cards starting at the other end and going in the opposite direction.


  21. Mashplum | PUZZLE MASTER | Profile

    Are we to assume she plans to deal the entire deck? If so, she need only deal to herself and continue in the opposite direction – clockwise (which is how most people deal anyway).


  22. bilbao | Profile

    As most of you have already correctly pointed out, Alice should deal to herself and continue clockwise. Congrats to those who got it!
    Soon I will post the second puzzle in the series, which will be more demanding. Anyway this one was supposed to be a warm-up ;-)


  23. pravinkumar1942@gmail.com | Profile

    If “unclockwise” means “anticlockwise”, when she comes back
    she should start dealing cards in clockwise, dealing first card to herself.


    That is the only possible way without any misunderstanding.


  24. markodiablo | Profile

    Ah, bit of a trick question that. No mention of players so I think my answer still stands that she could be on her own :-)


  25. Shawn | PUZZLE GRANDMASTER | Profile

    Still, if each player is to end up with the same cards that they would have gotten had there been no interruption, Alice must start by dealing FROM THE BOTTOM OF THE DECK to herself, and proceeding clockwise.


    If she resumed dealing from the top of the deck, a true card-player(as Obiwan observed) would declare a misdeal.


  26. lignjoslav | Profile

    @Hex:
    It’s a good idea to consider that some cards could remain undealt depending on the number of players, but then a different solution is called for. Since in most card games all the players get equal number of cards in the starting deck, she should put aside C modulo P cards, and then deal from herself clockwise….


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