Look-Ahead Algorithms (alternative version)

The Gospel, according to Spider GM

In the beginning there was the Ninja Monkey.

And there were two decks of playing cards.

And the cards were without form or structure. There were no descending sequences like Nine-Eight-Seven-Six or the like, and the red and black cards did not always alternate. Ten of the cards were face-up but the rest were face-down.

On the first month Ninja Monkey arranged the cards into eight sequences from King to Ace. And Ninja Monkey saw that it was Awesome. He wasn’t able to obtain eight sequences every single time, but with a success rate of over sixty percent it was Awesome nonetheless. Spider GM published a paper in collaboration with Ninja Monkey and he also thought it was Awesome.

On the second month Ninja Monkey arranged the cards into eight sequences from King to Ace, and in suit for the first time. Everybody in the Animal Kingdom saw that it was Awesome, except the poor Eagle who lost $3000 on a single (uncharacteristically) ill-judged bet. Ninja Monkey found that he could beat an easy hand 1.2 percent of the time or a random hand a <sarcasm> whopping </sarcasm> zero percent of the time. But despite the low success rate it was Awesome nonetheless.

On the third month, all the other animals realised it was possible to beat Four-Suit Spider Solitaire sans 85,78,68,79. They played more often and discussed possible strategies with each other. Eventually their skills improved. The Eagle had reconciled with Ninja Monkey and was able to win about 20% of the time. Others maybe 5 to 10 percent. Even the Bad Idea Bears managed to win the odd game or three. Only the Wise Snail (the slowest player, who is yet to complete a single game) had a zero success rate. But they all agreed it was Awesome.

On the fourth month, Ninja Monkey experimented with look-ahead strategies. Ninja Monkey saw that he could find a move that maximised the Guaranteed Minimum Evaluation Score, even if he turned over the worst possible cards. He was able to 75,73,67,75 65,82,83,69 with “easy” 4-suit hands but still struggled with “random” hands only winning 5 percent of the time. Although Ninja Monkey took a lot longer to complete a single hand, nobody gave a 70,85,67,75. It was Awesome.

On the fifth month the other animals were able to learn the Ways of the Ninja Monkey and speak his language. For instance, it was common to start a monologue with “Import Numb Pie as N. P.” and end it by clicking their fingers. If an animal didn’t have fingers to click they could improvise by clicking their tongues.  It was awkward at first but they eventually saw that the new language was indeed Awesome.

And on the sixth month, Ninja Monkey found himself a girlfriend. And they both saw that the other was Awesome. Ninja Monkey was voted as the leader of the Animal Kingdom (instead of the Eagle who won too much $$$$$$$$ at the late-night poker sessions). That was Awesome too.

Ninja Monkey said “Behold, I have given you ten thousand decks of playing cards which is upon the face of the entire animal kingdom. To you it shall be for entertainment”.

And on the seventh month Ninja Monkey rested from all his hard work. He was no longer bullied during Spider Solitaire lessons and all the animals bowed before him.

And they both partied 78,65,75,69,68, the Monkey and his girlfriend, and were not ashamed.


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