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Tuesday, January 27, 1998 Published at 12:24 GMT


Card trick defies the odds

Hilda Golding could not believe her luck (37")
The odds are simply mind-boggling. Experts in probability statistics have never seen anything like it before and neither have the card players at the whist club in Bucklesham, Suffolk.

All four players at a table were dealt perfect hands.

The odds on such an event happening are calculated to be a staggering 2,235,197,406,895,366,368,301,599,999 to one.

Other players saw what happened

[ image: All the clubs were in the hand of Hilda Golding]
All the clubs were in the hand of Hilda Golding
But witnesses in the village hall where the game was being played have confirmed what happened.

Eighty-seven-year-old Hilda Golding was the first to pick up her hand.

She was dealt all 13 clubs in the pack. "I was amazed. I'd never seen anything like it before, and I've been playing for about 40-odd years," she said.

Alison Chivers says the cards were shuffled (49")
At first she thought something must have been wrong, especially when the two other people at the table and the dummy hand were also shown to be holding perfect sets.

Hazel Ruffles had all the diamonds. Alison Chivers held the hearts. The spades were with the dummy.

The cards were shuffled twice

[ image: The cards were shuffled, cut and dealt]
The cards were shuffled, cut and dealt
Alison Chivers insists that the cards were shuffled properly. "It was an ordinary pack of cards," she said.

I put all the cards out because I get the hall ready. They were shuffled before they went on the table, and Hazel shuffled them again before they were dealt."

There were 55 people in the village hall at the time. Evelyn Bloomfield, who organises the fortnightly event, said: "They called me over because they didn't know what to do.

Hearts happened to be trumps at the time. Alison had hearts, so she won. It happened ... everyone in the hall went over and had a look."

The odds on winning the National Lottery are about 14,000,000 to one. But playing the lottery looks like a sure bet compared to the chance of four players all getting perfect hands in the same game.

The odds on just one player receiving the complete set of cards from a suit are about 635 billion to one.

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