Game on!

I am now ready to walk through a complete game of Spider Solitaire.

Without loss of generality, I will assume that every man dog and millipede on the planet has read every post in Edifying Thoughts of a Spider Solitaire Addict and is keen on improving their game. I have already discussed various concepts such as guaranteed turnovers, procrastination, completing suits, Gantt Charts etc. I have also dabbled in a bit of math behind the game and of course I have my journal publication in Parabola.

I will try to beat a single hand of 4-suit Spider, sans 85,78,68,79 and discuss critical or interesting moments of the game. Updates on the game will occur about once per week, and of course I won’t neglect the silly stories involving Monkey and his friends along the way 😊

For now, we will start with a random opening position and try to answer the following questions:

  • How many cards are we guaranteed to turn over?
  • How many in-suit builds are we guaranteed?
  • Assuming we win 10 points per turnover and 1 point per in-suit build, and no 1-point penalty per move what is our Guaranteed Minimum Evaluation Score?
  • What would be your opening move?
  • Do you think this is a good, bad or average starting hand?

We are guaranteed to turnover 3 cards with correct play, 2 of which are in-suit. Our Guaranteed Minimum Evaluation Score is 32.

Our opening move is a no-brainer. We can shift the Seven of Hearts onto either Eight of Hearts in the first two columns. It’s the best of all possible worlds: we build in-suit and we are turning over a column with only four face-down cards instead of five (recall that our first priority is obtaining an empty column). And we also have two spare Eights.

The fly in the ointment is we only have 3 guaranteed turnovers. In an earlier post I wrote that 4 turnovers should be considered average. At least we have two in-suit builds and no Aces or Kings exposed. In other words, given that we only have three guaranteed turnovers our starting hand is about as good as it gets.

Any odd-numbered card or a Ten will give us at least an extra turnover: hence it is heavy odds-on that we can turn over more than 3 cards. Note that since our first build is in-suit we don’t have to worry about “losing an out” (e.g. Move J onto Q off-suit, expose a K, drop the 70,66,79,77,66). Of course if I was playing on the Blue Screen of Death instead of the Windows version then there would be a fair chance of having exactly three turnovers 😊

Being the self-proclaimed Grand Master of Spider Solitaire, I will estimate our chances of winning this hand are fair.

Till next time, and may all your builds be in-suit 😊

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