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Checkers

Checkers

Checkers

Hopscotching the checker board

The rules that rule the pieces in checkers

This exciting board game requires a unique mix of brains and an imaginative brawn. You are the mastermind behind a war in which everything good and decent is at stake. Here are the rules that govern the battlefield. In the best of matches, the rules metamorphose from simple variations into the physics of a new world… (more…)

Solitaire

Solitaire

Solitaire

Klondike is the most common form of solitaire in the United States – so common in fact, that it is often known simply as “solitaire.” In reality, there are many varieties of solitaire, which, as the name implies, refers to any card game played by one person. (more…)

Spades

Spades

Spades

Spades can be played by three people, but four is ideal. The goal is to score as many points as possible by collecting “tricks”. (more…)

Gin Rummy

Gin Rummy

Gin Rummy

Gin Rummy (or simply Gin) is one of the most popular two-handed card games. It not only can be played for money but is fun to play in its own right. All 52 cards are used. Suits, however, do not play a role in the game. Face cards are worth 10 points each; numbered cards are worth their face value; and Aces are worth one point each. One common variation, however, is to allow Aces to be either high or low. Usually when this is done, Aces are worth 15 points instead of one. The object is to get rid of the cards in your hand by creating sets of three or more cards that can be “melded.” Timing is important, though – the sets are played differently depending on who melds his or her cards first. The sets can be formed in two ways: (more…)

Blackjack

Blackjack

Blackjack

The object of blackjack is to have a hand with a point value that is higher than the dealer’s. You must do this without going over 21 points, which is why the game is also known as Twenty-one. A player or dealer with 22 points or more has busted and automatically loses the hand. All numbered cards are worth their face value ; picture cards (Jacks, Queens, Kings) are worth 10 points each; and Aces are worth either 1 or 11 – which the player gets to determine. Suits and colors are disregarded in the game.

Before each deal, all players make their bets, if you’re playing at a casino.Two cards are then dealt to everybody including the dealer, who is dealt one card face down. A player whose first two cards add up to 21 (e.g., an Ace and a Queen) has a Blackjack and is immediately paid 2-2, unless the dealer also has a Blackjack. Whenever a dealer and player tie, it is known as a push, and neither one wins the hand.

Once everyone has been dealt, players have several options to choose from. The best move depends both on what you have been dealt and on the one exposed card of the dealer’s hand. A player can:

Hit: Take an additional card.

Stand: Take no additional cards.

Double Down: Double the original bet and take only one additional card.

Split: When a player has been dealt two cards of identical value (e.g., two 9s), he can choose to double the original bet and play the two card as two separate hands.

Claim Insurance: When a dealer is showing an Ace, players are invited to claim insurance that the next dealer’s card will be worth 10 (and thus Blackjack). Insurance involves risking half the amount of the original bet and pays off at two to one, if the dealer has a Blackjack.

Surrender: Forfeit the hand and lose half of the original bet. (Not an option in many casinos).

Once all players are either satisfied with their hands or have busted, the dealer proceeds. Unlike the players, who get to make choices, the dealer must proceed according to set rules: drawing on any hand that it less than 17 and standing on anything 17 or higher.

How to Win at BlackJack

You got to know when to hold’em, and know when to fold’em.

  • Always hit when you have been dealt 8 or less. You have no chance of busting, and you need to get closer to 21.
  • Always stand on hard hands of 17 or more, regardless of what the dealer is showing. A hard hand is a hand that either has no Aces or has an Aces that must be worth only one point because to be worth more would mean a bust (e.g., a 6, a Jack, and an Ace). If you hit, odds are you will bust.
  • Always hit if you have 16 or less and the dealer’s card is a 7,8,9,10, or Ace. There are the best cards and it is likely that the dealer will beat you. Although you have a good chance of busting, it is worth the risk of getting closer to 21.
  • Always stand on hard hands of 12 or more if the dealer’s first card is a 2,3,4,5, or 6. These are the worst cards and it is likely that the dealer will bust. But, you don’t win if you bust first.
  • Always stand on soft 19s and 20s. A soft hand is one that has an Ace that can still be valued at either 1 or 11. Don’t risk losing the good hand.

Illustration: Megan Jorgensen

Poker

Poker

Poker

Cut the deck, please: A quick review of how to play poker

If you want to learn how to play bridge, you need to either read a book or take lessons. But here are the rules and some tricks too the trade for this popular card game that almost anoyone can play. That’s no guarantee, of course, that you’ll draw good cards, but at least you’ll be prepared to call the other guy’s bet. (more…)

Chess

Chess

Chess

As many of you already know, chess is a wonderful strategy game played by two players. Chess is also very popular as a computer game, although it is quite hard to beat the computer at chess, especially if the strength of the computer game is set at its maximum. Many chess clubs and tournaments exist across the world. Also, there is an international chess tournament in which national champions compete for the title of International chess Grandmaster. (more…)

Finer Points of Backgammon

Finer Points of Backgammon

The Finer Points of Backgammon

Backgammon is a game played by two players, each with 15 markets of stones – these days checkers can be used in a pinch. The object is to be the first player to move all one’s markers around the board and then off it. (more…)