Solitaire card games/Poker Squares

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objective: to build the best poker hands using just 25 cards from the deck.

Rules[edit | edit source]

The game starts with placing a card onto a space in a 5x5 grid. Placing cards are done one at a time and once a card is placed on the grid, it can no longer be moved.

Once all 25 cards are dealt, points are scored on hands formed horizontally or vertically. The number of points depend on the hierarchy of poker hands. There are two systems of scoring: The English and the American point systems. The English system reflects the difficulty of getting the hands in the game; the American system reflects the difficulty of getting the hands in actual poker. The two systems rate the hands' scores as follows:

Poker Hand
Point System
Point System
Royal Flush
Straight flush
Four of a kind
Full House
Three Of A Kind
Two pair
One Pair

The points scored from each hand are added to the total score. Albert H. Morehead and Geoffrey Mott-Smith suggest (in their book The Complete Book of Solitaire and Patience Games, ISBN 0-553-20621-4 that to win one must score at least 200 points in the American system or 70 in the English system. Because of the application of the point system, this solitaire is more prevalent as a computer game.

The end of a game of Poker Solitaire. The blue numbers represent the point values of the hands in the American System, while the yellow numbers represent that of the English System.

Take the image above for instance. Horizontally, the five hands formed were two full houses (jacks full of aces and nines full of sevens), a four-of-a-kind (four eights), Three tens, and a two-pair (sixes and fives). Vertically, four flushes (one for each suit) and a pair of fours are scored. The player therefore scores a total of 197 points (American system) or 66 points (English system).

Variants[edit | edit source]

There is also a version of Poker Squares called Poker Shuffle or Switch-a-roo Poker Solitaire. It is played like Poker Squares except when a card is placed on the grid, it can still be moved until all 25 cards are set. This gives flexibility as the premature rearrangement of the cards can still give better hands on the grid than on Poker Squares. It is scored like that of Poker Squares and Lee and Packard's book states that the winning score is 120 points in the English system or 310 points in the American system.