Some months ago I let my posting lapse right in the middle of a discussion of collation. I want to pick this topic back up, but first I think I need to recap what I’ve already said.

- Collation and randomness are not the same: People use the term collation to imply that they received a minimum number of duplicates in a group of cards. A random sampling of cards does not mean that duplicates are minimized. For example, a box of 100 cards for a base set of 200 would contain zero duplicates if perfectly collated. If randomly selected, the 100 cards would almost certainly contain duplicates.
- Odds can be calculated directly: If you are very good at math or the numbers are very simple, you can do some probability calculations to figure out the odds of a desired outcome.
- All outcomes can be compared: If the math is a problem, it might be possible to write out all the outcomes and determine the percentage that give the desired result. In practice, this method only works for really simple problems or sets of data. Still, if you hate math, it’s an option.

The next post in this series (next Wednesday) will look at a Monte Carlo approach in which random sets of data are generated to simulate the creation of groups of cards.

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