Let's assume you are handed a deck of 52, standard cards which are already shuffled. You take the the deck and mindlessly shuffle it for a few minutes. After the shuffle, you turn over the deck to find that all of the cards are split into two piles-- red on top, black on bottom (or black on top, red on bottom.) However, each color-pile is randomly sorted.
What are the chances of such an event occurring?
Follow-up question, which doesn't have to be answered. How would the probability change if the deck was pre-color sorted?
In other words, if one started with two randomly sorted color piles and then shuffled the deck a random number of times, how would the probability change that the deck were to return to a state similar to how is started? Assume a traditional shuffle, splitting the deck into two piles and then fuzzy merging every 1 or 2 cards on each side, what would be the chances that the deck would resort itself into two color piles after an small but optimized number of shuffles?
WHY I ASK
This is important to me for my sanity. After playing a game with some friends in late-high school, I remember taking the deck of cards we were using (with no jokers) and mindlessly handling it. There is chance that at one point I sorted the deck by color or suits. I was mindlessly fiddling with the deck, so even though I never recall sorting it in any way, I know that if given a deck to hold, that is something I would very likely, mindlessly do.
After handling the deck for a while, I distinctly recall shuffling it at least a few times, turning it over and observing a color sorted deck. My heart pounded as I thumbed through the cards because I couldn't believe what I was seeing. It was... impossible.
To be fair, I've never felt that this was realistically possible. I'm too rational to accept that I started with a well shuffled deck. Before I shuffled the cards, I must have done something to the deck. For the scope of this exercise, what I did doesn't matter. I've resolved that I must have done something that my short term memory had forgotten before shuffling the deck 3-10 times which must have been a factor in the outcome.
Regardless of what really happened, this has been a math problem that has stuck in my head for over 16 years! What are the chances of this happening?