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As of October, 2016, Embarcadero is offering a free release of Delphi (Delphi 10.1 Berlin Starter Edition ).     There are a few restrictions, but it is a welcome step toward making more programmers aware of the joys of Delphi.  They do say "Offer may be withdrawn at any time", so don't delay if you want to check it out.  Please use the feedback link to let me know if the link stops working.

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Mensa® Daily Puzzlers

For over 15 years Mensa Page-A-Day calendars have provided several puzzles a year for my programming pleasure.  Coding "solvers" is most fun, but many programs also allow user solving, convenient for "fill in the blanks" type.  Below are Amazon  links to the two most recent years.

(Hint: If you can wait, current year calendars are usually on sale in January.)

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Problem Description

Write a program that will shuffle and deal hands for a standard deck of playing cards.

Background and Techniques

This program uses list boxes to display cards in the deck and in the hands.  The next version will introduce card  graphics like those used in Solitaire and Hearts games that come with Windows OS.

We will create a TDeck object to contain the cards.  For now the cards are just an array of integers from 0 to 51.  The suit will be calculated as cardnbr div 13 giving a number from 0 to 3.  The value of the card is cardnbr mod 13 which returns a number from 0 to 12 representing A,2,3... J,Q,K.   The TDeck object has 4 important  methods:  Shuffle - shuffles the deck, GetNextCard to return the next card from the top of the deck, and GetSuit and GetValue functions to return the string representations of suit and value for a given card.

The most interesting problem solved here is how to shuffle the deck, i.e. how to randomly re-arrange the array of 52 numbers that are the deck.  The technique used here is not original, in fact it's probably the most common way.  For each of the 52 entries in the array, we'll generate a random index number from 0 to 51 and swap the current card with the random position just generated.