Tuesday, December 18, 2007

It Took Me 30 Years, But I Finally Won 10-20-30

Let's get my pathetic-ness out of the way. I've been pretty bored lately so I got out the cards and started playing solitaire. Work has been non-existent (have a new client that should ramp up after New Year's) and the cold has made leaving the house most unappealing.

I grew up in a card playing family and a card playing neighborhood. I remember playing war, rummy, and crazy eights from very early on. Pinochle was the domain of the "adults" and all us kids in the neighborhood graduated to that when we hit our teenage years.

Cards were in our blood. We also learned a lot of different solitaire games...clock, pyramid, etc. And then there was the most challenging: 10-20-30. I knew of one other person that said they had won and I just assumed she lied because I had heretofore thought it was impossible.

How To Play 10-20-30
Use a regular 52 card deck.

Start by placing a single card in each of seven columns left to right, like traditional solitaire, only all the cards are face up. Go back and place a second row of cards left to right across all columns, on top of the first card but leaving enough room so that the card below's value can be seen peaking over the top, also like forming the columns of traditional solitaire.

The objective of the game is to get rid of all the cards from the board.

Cards are only removed in sets of three. This can be in any of three ways: the three bottom cards of a column; the bottom two cards and the top card of a column; or the bottom card and the top two cards of a column. The three cards must total 10, 20, or 30 to be removed. Aces are valued as one, face cards are ten.

Go back to your seven columns that now have two cards each. Starting on the left, begin placing the third card in each column as you did with row two. If you create any values of 10 (say a six, a three, and an ace); 20 (say two sixes and an eight); or 30 (three 10s including face cards...this is the most common grouping), remove those three cards from the column and place them on a discard pile.

At this point, since each column has three cards, if you remove all three, you have successfully removed the column and have taken a crucial step towards winning the game.

After row three is complete, go back to the left and start moving across again with row 4, row 5, etc. Only now you have to pay attention to the top and bottom of the columns in addition to the last three cards placed on the columns.

If you remove cards, you can then look at the column again to see if there are any new valid 10-20-30 combinations. This becomes more likely as the columns grow in length. A long column can quickly be cut down to a few cards if your luck is right. Keep going on the column until no more combinations can be made and then move to the next column.

This will be hard at first as you have to keep adding up the cards and looking at the three possible combinations (bottom 3, top 2 bottom 1, top 1 bottom 2) each time you place a new card. It'll become easier, where you no longer have to add, you'll just become accustomed to the card combinations.

Okay, continue to add rows until you run out of cards. Take the discard pile, shuffle it good, and resume adding cards where you left off. (If you lose track, count the number of cards in each column, divide by three, where the remainder changes is where you need to resume.)

The game ends when you lose — all the cards are on the table — or win — all the cards are off the table in the discard pile. Most games I play end with 3 or 4 columns, but sometimes I don't remove any or end up with one that has all 52 cards in it!

Yes, it took me 30 years to win this, but I finally did. It may sound weird, but I don't think I'll ever play again!

No comments: