Sunday, August 12, 2012


After a spate of boredom this week, I rediscovered Solitaire, this time on the iPad.

[I can hear your sharp intake of breath as you ponder the excitement of this revelation. Relax. Breathe out; it ends well.]

It had been years since I'd played, but I do remember how predictably I would lose money (I always play cumulative Vegas scoring 3-card draw). My consistent money-loss was, in fact, part of why I have never gambled when I've gone to Las Vegas: I am all too aware of how addictive the games are and how predictably I lose.

Then the following happened:
Fifty winning games (not in a row, but still).
Cumulative winnings of $6,703
Basically, I was killing that game. And my score kept going higher and higher. Clearly, I was some kind of Solitaire prodigy, a natural. I should take out a small loan and move to Vegas for a few months to build a sizable nest-egg. The casinos wouldn't even know what hit them.

But, wait, I thought, what if the casinos had somehow rigged the game in order to give people the false impression that they were gambler-gods? Would they be so nefarious?

My score climbed higher and higher.

And then I checked the options panel. And there it was: the option to deal winning vs. random hands.
The slider was, by default, placed at the mid-point.
This is a screen shot taken a couple of days after I set the slider at fully random.

What? Why would I want to skew the deals? Isn't that cheating?

As you can see, I've now lost about $2,000, so I guess I'm not a Solitaire demigod after all. I guess card-playing and gambling go in the same category as folk-music star: I'd better not quit my day job.

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