Education Technology

Calculator BlackJack

Activity Overview

In the game of Blackjack, players continually draw cards until they can gain a score as close to 21 as possible, without going bust. In Calculator-Blackjack the random number generator is used to produce numbers between 0 and 1, these numbers are summed with the aim to keep this sum less than 1. On average how many cards do you think a player might have drawn to end up bust? This question is explored through statistics and sampling distributions. The answer to the question may surprise you!


  • Collect multiple sample means to produce a sampling distribution
  • Understand the relationship between sample size and standard error
  • Determine experimental methods to increase confidence about the mean.


  • Sampling distribution
  • Sample mean
  • Standard error

About the Lesson

Students start by exploring a couple of games of Calculator Blackjack with a view to gaining an estimate for the quantity of numbers generated to make a player 'bust'. Multiple games are then played using simulation and subsequent samples of the mean results is graphed. The distribution of the sample means produces an approximately normal distribution and so the Central Limit Theorem is introduced informally.