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Columns for September, 2021

As Luck Would Have It

Martin Tompa
September 9, 2021

It’s been a long while since I’ve written. This post will be different from usual: it is a collection of anecdotes from the Schnapsen table.

I am constantly floored by the extremes that luck often takes in Schnapsen. I feel as though very low probability events happen much more frequently than they should, even though I am aware that this is just a psychological aberration rather than a mathematical one. I know that you have witnessed such things yourself at the Schnapsen table. How often have you felt that you have gone several games without seeing a trump in your hand or without holding a marriage?

Against no opponent are these extremes of luck as noticeable as against the notorious Doktor Schnaps. In fact, early on in my rivalry with Doktor Schnaps I was so sure that I wasn’t being dealt my fair share of trumps that I started maintaining a spreadsheet of my deals in which I keep track of statistics such as how many…

About the Author

Martin Tompa

Martin Tompa (tompa@psellos.com)

I am a Professor of Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington, where I teach discrete mathematics, probability and statistics, design and analysis of algorithms, and other related courses. I have always loved playing games. Games are great tools for learning to think logically and are a wonderful component of happy family or social life.

Read about Winning Schnapsen, the very first and definitive book on the winning strategy for this fascinating game.

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Recent Columns

September
As Luck Would Have It, Sep 9
December
What's in the Stock?, Dec 5
October
Schnapsen in Abstract Games Magazine, Oct 24
September
Know Your Opponent, Sep 19
July
Grab the Brass Ring, Jul 3
June
The Last Trump, Jun 11

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