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Colored Cards and Numbers Puzzle

Q: You have a set of thirty six cards. The cards are six in color ( six each) and each color is numbered from 1 to 6. You draw two cards at random. What is probability that they are of a different color and have a different number?

A: The first card can be drawn at random. It does not matter what its color or number is. To compute the probability that the second card is different in color and number from the first, it helps to visualize the situation in a simple way as shown below.


In the figure above, assume the green dot represents the card that was picked. The marked out cards represent the cards that should not be picked to get a different color and number. Also, the act of picking a card bought down the pool of cards from 36 to 35. The remaining unmarked space represents the available set of cards to pick from. This can be computed easily as


This yields an overall probability of


If you are interested in learning the art of probability, some of the best books to learn it from are listed here.

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