The Schnapsen Log
The Schnapsen Log is a series about the card game Schnapsen, and how to play it like a master. Schnapsen is the national card game of Austria and Hungary. It is very similar to the German game Sechsundsechzig (Sixty-six). These games are popular throughout Europe, where they go by various regional names, including Snapszer, Snapszli, Hatvanhat, Mariagen-Spiel, Mariáš, Santase, Tute, and Exinta-exi. Schnapsen is easy to learn, requires only one other willing player (or a computer program, always willing), is quick and fun to play, and is full of interesting strategy.
My goal in this series is to teach you everything you need to know about the strategy for winning Schnapsen. I will present thought-provoking situations that arise commonly in Schnapsen, in a manner very similar to the daily newspaper’s bridge or chess columns. Here are a few of the most recent columns. Check out the archives for older columns.
When Are Jacks in Hand Reassuring?
April 13, 2015
Normally, nontrump jacks seem fairly useless in Schnapsen; you would rather see higher ranking cards. But here’s a cute puzzle for you. Construct an initial hand in which it is reassuring to have been dealt a couple of nontrump jacks in your initial hand, and explain why it is better to have those jacks than some higher ranking cards. When you think you have a good solution, you are welcome to read mine.
© 2015 Martin Tompa. All rights reserved.
Homework on Expected Values
January 29, 2015
I am once again teaching a course on Probability and Statistics, using Schnapsen as a running example of applications of Probability. It’s been fun teaching Schnapsen to a large group of students who had never encountered it before.
In the course, we are just up to the topic of expected value now, so it seems appropriate to give them a homework exercise that involves expected game points. Today’s column is that homework exercise. This means that I won’t be posting my analysis until one week from now, when the homework will be due. A similar homework exercise appeared as a column last year.
You have just started a new game against the Maestro. On the very first deal, you reach the following interesting position…
A Vulnerable Hand
December 30, 2014
Your Uncle Tibor deals out the next hand and this is what you see when you pick up your cards…