Saturday, June 25, 2022

Worst Hand of Spades Ever

A terrible hand of Spades!

NOTICE: This post was originally posted on Medium, but has later been moved to the official World Of Card Games blog to consolidate all posts.

This post is for people who love to play the card game Spades. One of the fun things about Spades is being surprised by a fantastic hand of cards — a lot of aces, kings, and trump cards (spades). It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, you just know you’re going to be able to make a high bid. And you’re hoping that your teammate will be able to bid nil, too.

There’s another kind of hand in Spades that is also great, although it seems like a bad one when you first think of it. You’ve got a handful of low cards — twos, threes, etc., and just one or two trump cards (or maybe no trump at all). What a terrible hand! It would take a lot of luck to win even a single trick with it. Fortunately, in this situation, you can turn your poor luck into good luck by bidding nil. With so many low cards, your nil will likely work, leading to 100 points for your team.

There are other hands of cards that can be work well for bidding nil, like when you have a void in a suit (meaning, you have no cards in one suit at all). In some cases, you can successfully bid nil even if you have some aces in your hand. Just don’t absentmindedly bid nil when you’re holding the ace of spades, or you will possibly incur the wrath of your teammate! 😅

It’s starting to sound like Spades is all sunshine and roses, isn’t it? No matter what hand you get, you’ll always figure out some way to turn it into a winner. In fact, that’s not the case. Recently, I played a game of Spades, and I was dealt the type of hand that I dread. It was filled with middle cards — the Jack, the 10, the 9. If I tried to bid nil, I would probably get set. And if I bid one? That would very likely get set as well. I was second to bid, so I didn’t know what kind of hand my partner had, and all I could do was bid one,and hope they could cover my bid if I didn’t make it. You can run the hand history to see how it went. You can read about the hand history feature in another one of my blog posts if you’d like to see how it works. Long story short — the total bid wound up being 12, and I thought the opponents might set us. We got lucky, though!

Can you think of an even worse hand of Spades than the one I described here? If so, please leave a comment. And thanks for reading!

Saturday, June 18, 2022

An Exciting Game of Double Deck Pinochle

Double run in the final hand!

NOTICE: This post was originally posted on Medium, but has later been moved to the official World Of Card Games blog to consolidate all posts.

A few months ago, I received an email from a Double Deck Pinochle player, “Tigre”, who plays the game at World of Card Games. He’d had a fun game to report. I asked him if it would be okay to share it, and he said yes… so here it is.

This game was a rated (or ranked) game, so there was probably an extra touch of pressure on everyone involved! 😃

It sounded like my favorite sort of game. There was a struggle in which one team would pull ahead, and then fall behind, back and forth, throughout the game.

In the next to last hand, the score had gotten to 499–460, with Tigre’s team at 460. Every single point that had been made counted. If the opponents had taken just one extra point anywhere during the game, it would have been over by now. As fate would have it, an extra hand would be played to decide the winners.

In the last hand, the initial bid was made by Tigre’s right-hand opponent. That person started the bid at 50. In Double Deck Pinochle, a bid of 50 is a “captaincy” bid or “take” bid. It tells the teammate, “I want to declare the trump suit (aka make trump). Let me know if you have any good meld.”

Tigre must have been disappointed with having to pass. His hand was not strong enough to make a bid. His opponent on the left bid 51, a pretty clear signal that this person wanted to make trump. It was not looking good — both opponents must have had good hands with a decent chance of winning the game if they were able to call the trump suit.

Tigre’s teammate responded with a bid of 65! Was she bluffing? No way to tell. The next opponent would have to bid 70 to challenge this bid, but that did not happen. Tigre’s teammate made trump! When meld was displayed, it turned out that she had a double run (see the screenshot above), meaning a very strong hand with great meld — 162 meld, in fact, just fantastic! To make things even more interesting, one of the opponents also had a run in the trump suit.

Tigre wrote me that even with that fantastic meld for his team, he knew that the game wasn’t decided until the hand had progressed. In the end, though, his team did win the game!

The games I love the most are the ones where there’s a huge battle and you never know what will happen until the last card is played. What do you think? Would you prefer an easy win, or do you love the struggle too?

For anyone who is curious to know even more details of that last hand, here’s the hand history. You’ll need to visit Power Pinochle’s hand animator tool, and copy and paste the hand history into their form to see each round of cards as it was played. Have fun with it!

This hand history for Double Deck Pinochle can be replayed using the Power Pinochle hand animator - Copy and paste the text below into their form and follow the instructions.

% Format "PPN 1.0"
% Site ""
% Date "2022.01.15"
% ID "164229406412410"
% Players "N-Ju E-mr S-TH W-Ti"
% tableid "61f623d4-4177-4960-bc0b-a0c00ecc1d9d"

[GameScores "499:460"]
[Auction "S:50 51 53 65 Pass Pass Pass"]
[Contract "E 65 H"]
[Play "E"]
[MeldScores "41:174"]
[PlayScores "19:31"]
[Result "SAVED"]
[HandScores "0:205"]

Saturday, June 11, 2022

The Entrepreneur

Photo by Garrhet Sampson on Unsplash

NOTICE: This post was originally posted on Medium, but has later been moved to the official World Of Card Games blog to consolidate all posts.

This weekend, I clicked through a long list of emails in my inbox. I’d been busy with my other job for over a week, and hadn’t had time to check email for World of Card Games in a while.

Even when I get busy, I make it a point to respond to all questions, eventually — except for the most rude ones!

But I have to admit, it wears me down.

Ninety percent of the emails that land in my inbox fall into one of two categories. The first category is the tech support email. The writer is using the site, and it doesn’t work the way that they expect. So they send me an email with a question.

In fact, I’m delighted to get these emails! This may seem odd. However, most often, the person writing to me just doesn’t realize that, in fact, World of Card Games can do what they want. I’d prefer that they write to me so that I can explain how they can use this or that feature. I hope they can use that information to have more fun playing cards just the way that they want! If someone is playing cards at World of Card Games on a regular basis, I’d hate for them to be frustrated by the experience. I always tell people that if the site doesn’t do what they want, they should go play somewhere else. And I mean it! The site is there to entertain you, and I want people to have a good time at it. If I can help by pointing out an undiscovered feature to a person with a problem, that makes me happy.

The other category of email is the one with the angry complaint. A person has become completely frustrated or angry by something that happened at the site, and they are going to blast me about it — even if there’s nothing I can do to help or it isn’t my fault. This type of person sometimes gives me business advice. They tell me that I should run the site this or that way, and if I don’t, then I’m an incompetent nincompoop. Sometimes they rant at me for being a bad software developer. After all, if the site suddenly stopped responding, it’s 100% my fault, and has nothing to do with their Internet provider, bad WiFi, or old computer…

I try not to take this category of email personally. I guess some people need to vent, and don’t understand that it’s actually extremely difficult to run a multiplayer game site — especially as a solo developer. There are no big corporate bucks behind World of Card Games. I provide the site free of charge. There is a column on the right side of the page with space for one or two ads. The ad revenue makes it possible for me to keep the site running, but it doesn’t provide me with revenue to hire staff to support or build out the site. It’s just me and it probably always will be.

When I get an angry email, it surprises me how much perfection some people expect from a free service.

I don’t often get emails from those people who are happily enjoying the site. And I don’t expect it, in fact! Why bother? Most people — including myself, I confess — don’t think to make a comment when everything is going right. In fact, you may not notice when everything is going right. It’s when things go wrong that you’re more likely to jump off your couch to register a complaint.

Prior to running World of Card Games, I wasn’t an entrepreneur. I guess you could say I was a “wantrepreneur”. I wanted to be an entrepreneur, but I didn’t know how. I was always a full time employee, and I had trouble coming up with ideas for how to develop a profitable business, doing something that I could at least tolerate (or, heavens, maybe even enjoy!).

Once World of Card Games fell into my hands, I became a real entrepreneur. It has turned out to be a mixed bag. It’s not highly profitable. People complain. A lot of the feedback I’ve gotten is negative. There have been many times in the last few years when I’ve wondered why I keep doing it. And in fact, I’ve had to stop working full time on World of Card Games. I find I can make a better living doing other things. It’s now my side hustle, which is why it can take me a while to respond to email.

This brings me to the topic of this post. Today, I clicked on an email. The person had written the following to me:

No complaints marya just a thank you for your site. There is a occasional {should not be there} person but most are very nice people who love playing Euchre. Thank you for putting up with all of us.

At the end of the email was a little smiley face.

I practically broke down and cried. It has been a stressful week. I don’t expect emails with a simple thank you. It’s rare, and this person just blew me away with kindness. I wrote back to let this lovely person know how much I appreciated the thoughtful email.

Since I became a business owner, I’ve made an effort to give positive feedback at businesses that I frequent. In my experience, entrepreneurship is difficult and often thankless. If someone’s small business brings me joy, I want them to know about it. I encourage you to do the same. Let me be clear, this is not a request for you to send me a thankful email, although obviously I’d appreciate it 😃 But the next time you go into someone’s diner or shop, and you enjoy the experience, maybe take a moment to say thanks! Some days, a kind word can make all the difference!

Saturday, June 4, 2022

How to Find Family Members and Friends at Private Tables

NOTICE: This post was originally posted on Medium, but has later been moved to the official World Of Card Games blog to consolidate all posts.

Recently, someone wrote to me with a problem. The email went like this: “I play Pinochle with my family at a private table every week. But recently, my brother and I can’t get to the same private table. My other relatives and I can be at the same table, but then when my brother tries to join, he is seated at an empty table, and can’t find us. If I leave the table, then he can get to the table with my family as expected, but then I can’t get to that table. What’s going on?”

I feel pretty bad when this happens. I hope that everyone who experiences this problem writes to me about it, so I can help, but I do wonder if there are people who just don’t think to send me a tech support email. This post will explain what’s going wrong and how to solve it. I hope anyone who searches for the answer to this type of problem will find it here.

I explained a few weeks ago that you can play at private tables at World of Card Games. Usually, people who play at private tables just want to chat amongst friends and/or family. It may not be quite as good as getting together over a card table in real life, but it’s a good substitute. And personally, I think it’s more fun than Zoom! Although, when I think about it, there’s nothing to stop you from Zooming and playing a multiplayer online card game at the same time!

Anyway — private tables have most of the features that are available at public tables. One of those features is the “dislike” button. The dislike button is a little red circle with a white x in the middle. As you can see in the screenshot below, it appears next to every person at the table (except yourself… you cannot dislike yourself!).

The dislike button is a red circle with a white x

If you click the dislike button next to a player, there’s usually no immediate effect (although in some cases it can lead to a person getting kicked from the table). But the site remembers your preference. You will not be seated with this person in the future. That’s useful to avoid people that you don’t want to play with again, for any reason. But if you click the dislike button next to one of your friends or relatives, by accident, you won’t ever see them at the site again! Not good!

This is only a problem if you don’t realize what’s happened. If you find that you can’t get seated with one of your friends or relatives, just take a moment, and look at your list of disliked players. This list appears in a panel that opens when you click on your user name in the upper right corner of the screen. I’ve got a screenshot of the list below.

Manage Likes and Dislikes at World of Card Games

Notice at the very top of the screen, you see my user name. I’m a guest — “Guest #2,163”. That user name is clickable. Clicking on it opens the panel that you see here. You want to scroll down the panel, and eventually you will come to the area that’s labeled “Manage Dislikes”. If you see someone in that list who doesn’t belong there, click the “(remove)” link. That undoes the dislike immediately, and the site will no longer keep you from sitting with that person. Problem solved!

In this situation, you will want to make sure that all the players in your group of friends and family have not disliked each other. I recommend that people who play at private tables actively “like” each other when they first get together. To “like” a player, click the yellow star to the right of the person. That yellow star is shown in the first screenshot, too. Once you “like” a player, the “dislike” button goes away. This keeps you from accidentally clicking it in the future.

I hope you all have fun playing free multiplayer cards online at World of Card Games with your family and friends. And if you’re ever feeling a bit bored, but can’t get a game going with friends, don’t forget that you can play against the computer, as well. It’s almost as good as Solitaire… or maybe even better. 😉