I spent the evening writing a solitaire simulator. I’d suggest at least glancing over this article first so that it makes a little bit of sense.

Now, this may not be a version of solitaire you have ever played or heard of. I, however, have known it for as long as I can remember. My mother taught it to me at some point in my development, and I have used it as a pointless time waster ever since. It’s especially great when you are tired, because it takes absolutely no real thought.

Shuffle the deck.

Draw cards one at a time from the back of the deck, putting them on top into what I like to call the “play stack”.

The cards you pay attention to are the top card on the play stack, and the fourth one down. There are two rules:

1. If these two cards are the same suit, remove the two cards between them.

2. If they have the same value, then discard all four cards – the ones that share the value and the ones in between.

Rinse and repeat! You can do multiple discards per draw, so it’s fun when you get a nice chain reaction after a dry spell of no discards.

If you’re curious how that game turned out, whence I took the screenshots…

I ended up with two cards, not too bad!

So, of course somewhere along the line I realized that this would take no creativity to write into a computer program, considering there is no strategy, it is a simple reflex game. I wrote a simple javascript page to simulate playing many games, to gather statistics. The page is here!

I ran 10 million games, and found…

Win rate: 0.7%

Average cards left over: ~13

So, it looks like I can have a reasonable chance of winning if I play about 150 games. OK!

-E