Pyramid Solitaire: A Strategy Guide For Beginners

Pyramid Solitaire is a fun solitaire game, with a very distinctive opening tableau in the shape of a pyramid. There is a large element of luck involved, but there are certain strategies that can be used to dramatically increase your chances of winning.

The aim of pyramid solitaire is to remove all the cards from the tableau and the talon. Cards are removed in pairs, when their combined total is 13. The exception to this is with Kings, which are removed on their own.

Cards can only be removed when they are completely exposed (ie: When the whole card is visible, with no cards above them)

The combinations of cards you can remove are:

  • Ace and Queen
  • 2 and Jack
  • 3 and 10
  • 4 and 9
  • 5 and 8
  • 6 and 7
  • King

Whilst the rules for pyramid solitaire are quite easy to understand, the game itself offers come interesting complexities. You have to plan out which cards to remove to maximize potential options later in the game. Sometimes you must leave a card for later in the game, or you will create an impasse. And sometimes you have to carefully remember the order of the cards in the talon, or you will have cards left over at the end.

At the start of the game, scan the first four rows, looking for any situations that will make the game impossible to complete. This happens when all the cards that can be combined with a card occur in the triangle below it.

This occurs because a card cannot be selected until all the cards in the triangle below it are removed first.

For example, suppose part of the deal was like this (Taken from Classic Solitaire deal 20064)

   2

  J 9

 Q J 8

6 J 4 J

All of the Jacks occur in the triangle below the top 2. So to expose the top 2, all the Jacks will have to be removed first… But that’s impossible, because the Jacks can only be removed in combination with the 2’s. We will be able to remove three of the Jacks, but we cant ever remove the top Jack, because the 2 it needs is above it.

So if the four combination cards appear in a cards underneath triangle, then the game cannot be finished, and you may as well redeal.

If only three of the combination cards appear in the underneath triangle, then you have discovered a potential impasse later on. Wherever that fourth combination card is, it MUST be combined with the top card. So, if the fourth combination card is in the talon, you must remember this, and be careful not to use it on any card other than the top one.

Another impasse to check for at the beginning, is to see if all the combination cards appear in the triangle above a card.

For example, suppose the deal was like this (Taken from Classic Solitaire deal 3841)

      7

     8 J

    4 2 4

   A 6 8 2

  8 5 9 Q 2

 7 8 9 7 K 4

K A 5 3 Q 6 10

All the 8’s occur in the triangle above the bottom 5, so the game cannot be finished.

This last case doesn’t occur very often though, so it isn’t worth spending too much time checking for it. Just a cursory glance at the middle 3 cards on the bottom row is normally enough.

So to summarize, before we have even started playing, we check to see if the game is winnable (Make sure there are no cases where the four combination cards occur in the triangle below or above a card). We also check for times when three of the combination cards appear below… as these will need special attention, to make sure we don’t waste the fourth card and create an impasse.

So what about general play?

Well, to start with, always remove Kings whenever you can. There is absolutely no reason not to remove the Kings, because they aren’t used in combination with any other cards, so you gain nothing by waiting.

Another thing to consider is that often there is no need to rush. You can cycle through the talon three times, so often it will be better to wait and see what cards are remaining, rather than jump in and remove a combination as soon as you can.

Finally, try and remove cards evenly between the talon and the tableau. Ideally, you want to finish removing cards from the tableau at the same time as the talon is used up.

You still wont be able to win every game of pyramid solitaire with the above strategy, but you should find your probability of winning has greatly increased.

A Quick and Easy Texas Holdem Poker Lesson for Beginners

The great thing about Texas Holdem Poker is that it is easy to learn. Even a beginner can quickly develop into a winning player. By following a sound strategy and playing the best starting hands a Texas Holdem Poker newbie can dramatically shorten the learning curve. So what are the best hands that a beginner should play?

The best hands for a beginner to play are Ace-Ace, King-King, Queen-Queen, Jack-Jack, Ace-King suited (example – Ace of clubs & King of clubs).

I strongly recommend that you only play these starting hands as a beginner. In other words, if you are dealt a hand other than one of the above then fold!

Folding is one of the most difficult decisions for a Texas Holdem Poker beginner to do. The mindset of most Texas Holdem Poker beginners is to hang around and see the flop in the hopes of hitting it just right and improving a hand.

While a beginner will hit the flop and improve their hand occasionally, more often than not they will miss it. The Texas Holdem Poker beginner player that plays poor starting hands will end up throwing more money away than they will win.

When you are dealt one of the best starting hands I recommend raising the pot which will serve two purposes. First, it will force players with weak hands to fold instead of allowing them to stay in the game and see the flop for free.

Secondly, by seeing who raises and calls you get to see who feels that they have a good hand and who may be trying to hang in for the flop.

When the flop is dealt you should look carefully to see if you have improved your hand. Even if you have not improved your hand, because you started out with one of the better hands you may still have the best hand. This is especially true if your starting hand was a pair of aces or kings.

If your opponents raise back this can be a strong signal that they may have a powerful hand. Ask yourself, “What could my opponent have?” “Could they have improved their hand?”

Ask yourself these questions after each round of cards are dealt and try to “read” your opponents hand.

If you have a high pair a raise after the flop can help you assess whether your opponents feel if they have a strong hand or not.

If you think you are beaten there is no shame in folding at this point.

When the turn card has been revealed, if you think that you may still have the best hand I would raise the pot so that I could obtain information about my opponents’ hands.

I would follow this same strategy on the river card.

To summarize this basic Texas Holdem Poker beginner strategy:

– stick to playing the best starting hands

– fold the bad hands

– use the power of the raise to knock out weak players and to assess the strength of your opponents hands

By following this Texas Holdem Poker beginner strategy you will start out winning more hands than you lose. You will start out winning more money than you will lose.

Spider Solitaire: A Strategy Guide For Beginners

Spider solitaire is a well-known solitaire game, which has gained a lot in popularity since Microsoft have started shipping it free with windows. It is very hard though, and many people want to know how they can increase their chances of winning.

The aim of spider solitaire is to build an ascending suit sequence in the foundation

zone. But this is easier said than done! Particularly when playing 4 suit spider, it can

sometimes seem nearly impossible to finish the game.

But there are strategies you can use to dramatically increase your chances of

winning. But before I go into that, a quick note. In this article, I assume you have a

solitaire game that allows multi-undo, and that you don’t mind using it. Some

people don’t have a solitaire program that supports multi-level undo, or feel that

using undo is somehow “cheating”. These people can still get something out of this

article, but not everything they read may apply.

So what is the golden secret to winning spider solitaire?

It’s simple! Empty-Columns are the key!

The first objective of spider solitaire is to get a vacant column. The objective after

that is to try and get another vacant column. Once you have 2 vacant columns, the

game starts to become winnable, but if you can, try and form yet another empty

column. Once you get to 3 or 4 empty columns, you have a very good chance of

winning, unless you get an extremely unlucky run of cards.

Getting The First Empty Column…

The first move you should make in the game is whatever the highest rank card that

can play is. If given a choice, play from the stacks on the right hand side, as the 6

right hand stacks start with one less card.

From then on, play cards in this order or priority:

  1. If a stack is closer to other stacks to being complete, play that card (if you
    can)
  2. If you can’t play from the stack which is closest to being emptied, than play the
    card with the highest rank.
  3. If 2 or more cards have the same high rank, and one of them can be played into
    a same suit sequence, then play that one.

Keep playing like this, until a column is emptied, or you run out of moves

Once a column has been emptied, the focus of the game changes a little. There are

now 3 main objectives, “cleanup”, “re-arrange”, and “expose”.

An overriding principal at this time is to try and keep the empty columns. Vacant

columns give you a lot more choices in the game, and whenever possible, you only

want to fill your empty columns temporarily.

CLEANING UP

The first objective for the second phase of the game is “cleanup”. This is my term

for re-arranging columns so that they become same-suit sequences.

For example, suppose you had 2 columns. The first one has:

  1. 7 Diamonds
  2. 6 Hearts

and the second one has:

  1. 7 Clubs
  2. 6 Diamonds

We can temporarily use the empty column, to rearrange the columns so that these

columns become:

  1. 7 Diamonds
  2. 6 Diamonds

and:

  1. 7 Clubs
  2. 6 Hearts

We do this by moving:

  1. 6 of Diamonds into the empty column
  2. 6 of Hearts onto the 7 of Clubs
  3. 6 Of Diamonds onto the 7 of Diamonds

The main thing to note here, is that after we have finished cleaning up this

sequence, the empty column is still vacant. This is critical, because we always need

to keep our columns empty when possible.

RE-ARRANGING

After we have cleaned up any sequences we can find, the next objective is to re-

arrange any columns. This is simply moving any sequences we can, to form longer

sequences. If moving the sequence will expose a new card (or a card that is not part

of the sequence), then we always move it. The rest of the time it’s a judgement call,

based on whether the new sequence will be the same suit, as well as what other

cards are holding up the game at the moment.

EXPOSING

Lastly, we try and expose new cards, whilst trying to maintain our empty column.

We do this by using multi-level undo:

  • Move a card/sequence into the empty column, which exposes a new card.
  • If the new card allows us to move the original sequence back do so.

If the new exposed card does not allow us to move it back, try moving a different

card/sequence instead. If you can’t expose any new cards whilst keeping the vacant

column, then try dealing some cards from the talon.

The most important thing is to create empty columns, and try and keep them

empty! Now, will these strategies help you to win every game? No, they won’t. Are

there better strategies? Yes, and you’ll probably come up with some of your own as

you play the game some more. But the strategies above should prove a good

foundation to help you start winning more games.

Backgammon Tips For Beginners

People who are interested in learning how to play Backgammon have a lot of work in store for them. While Backgammon is one of the oldest games in world history, and is widely accepted as the world’s oldest board game, that does not mean that the Backgammon rules and Backgammon strategy are simple concepts. In fact, beginners should be prepared for a long introduction to the process of playing Backgammon, as learning all of the intricacies of the game is a procedure that requires much dedication and practice.

Whether playing the live Backgammon board game or playing online Backgammon through Backgammon software, all beginners can learn how to improve their Backgammon game through these simple Backgammon tips. Knowing and understanding how to apply these basic skills and strategies will not only improve your every day game, but will also help you build the ability to incorporate more advanced tips in the future.

Priming

Priming is one of the most effective Backgammon strategies. A prime is basically a consecutive group of occupied points. The idea behind priming is to build up a wall of points that prevents your opponent from progressing around the Backgammon board. If you build up a prime in front of your opponent’s checkers, they will have to roll high dice numbers in order to leap over the prime. A full prime of six occupied points in a row will completely block your opponent from moving forward.

Anchoring

Anchoring is an important defensive tactic. It involves establishing at least one point in your opponent’s home board. Maintaining a stronghold here offers a player many unique advantages. Should a player ever have a checker on the bar, having an anchor provides a safe haven for a hit checker to re-enter the board. Owning one of these points is also an excellent way to block your opponent from making all of the points in his home board. The strategy is strengthened and reinforced by holding two adjacent points as anchors.

Hitting

One of the most beloved strategies of new Backgammon players is hitting. Hitting occurs when your checker lands on an opponent’s blot (one single checker located on a point). A blot is vulnerable to attack because it is a single checker; a point with two checkers is considered to be occupied. When hitting occurs, the opponent’s checker is then sent to the bar, or banished outside of the game, and the opponent must then pause his checkers’ progression in order to re-enter the hit checker back into the game onto an open point. Until the checker has been successfully re-entered, the opponent cannot move his other checkers.

One of the most common amateur Backgammon mistakes is to focus on hitting instead of playing. Hitting should be used wisely; if an opponent already has multiple checkers on the bar, hitting another blot is a less valuable move than making steady progress with your own checkers.

Practice these beginner tips to gain great playing experience when you play free Backgammon online.