Game on (27 December 2020)

In the previous article I asked the following question:

What is the probability of clearing column 5 in four moves, if that was the only thing we cared about? Essentially we need three good cards in a row

I won’t answer this question, since computing an exact answer is not likely to improve your skill at Spider. Instead I will give a few general pointers:

  • The “good cards” are A48TJ so if you draw e.g. A44 then you’re quids in – assuming there is nothing stupid like AJJ and we only have one queen.
  • One good card can lead to others, e.g. if we draw a Ten then a Nine becomes a good card.
  • There are other good cards if we look beyond column 5, e.g. a King would still yield a turnover, even though it stops us clearing column 5.
  • In practice not all thirteen ranks are equally likely e.g. King is much more likely than Two since three Twos are already exposed.

At this stage, you probably noticed we have some duplicate cards such as Nines, Fives and Twos. Unless you get the holy grail of turning over every card before dealing from the stock, the laws of math dictate duplication will almost certainly occur at some point. This should warn you we might have to deal another row of cards soon.

We draw an Eight, Ten, … drum roll dlrdlrdlrldrdlrldrldr …

It’s a King! Rot13(bu sbe  shpx’f fnxr!!!!!)

Still this isn’t a total disaster. We can start building a “junk pile” with K-Q-J-T-9-8 of various suits (incidentally this is why I put the Ten of Hearts in column 1, not column 9, so I would save a move when building the junk pile. Remember we asked for a number between 1 and 2000 and our random number generator returned 1731) 😊. Also, because our columns are relatively clean we can expect to turn over many cards, even without an empty column.

We shift the Queen of Clubs and draw the 3h. Nice, another in-suit build. This means we avoid playing on auto-pilot (Jack of Spades onto the junk pile). Who knows, we might draw the Jack of Clubs 😊 … or we might draw another King.

We now reach another interesting decision: what would you do here? (HINT: remember that our random number generator returned 1731)

2 thoughts on “Game on (27 December 2020)

  1. I would move the q of clubs onto the king, put the jack on the queen and (assuming the revealed card doesn’t give us some better option), move the 10-9 of hearts onto the jack. Then the qj of diamonds on the k of diamonds. I don’t know how hard we’re working to keep the score down, but it’s hard to believe that creating that kqj of diamonds wouldn’t be worth an extra move. Then move the long club string onto the 9 of hearts. That keeps the 9 in pile 8 “atomic”, all of one suit so much better options for the next round. So we’ve got a good start on 2 junk piles, and while that long club sequence isn’t “junk” it’s where they belong. We could pause to move that T9 of heats back onto the other jack, but it takes an extra move and I don’t see as it’s a better position.


  2. WOW, Master T, due to new constraints this deal quickly delivers a quandary.

    After consulting the better half of a bottle of wine I conclude that a loss is never a win.

    So let’s have a happy reunion of the Diamond Royalty.

    And of course after an half liter of grape happiness I cannot remember your protocols for describing movement of cards and certainty not wanting to research such at this point in time, I do my own thing.

    Q to K, 10 to J, Q to K (new card), 10 to J, J to Q (new card)

    Plan subject to review after Q to K (new card).

    Did I do something impossible? Far too often while I am playing I forget that I can only put one six on the seven, not two, and my short term plan quickly morphs into a disaster.

    I will read the other comment after posting this, and then go on to your next post.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s