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Pazaak
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General Strategies

I have determine several good strategies that work well for playing Pazaak.

Go Low Strategy:

In the game of Pazaak, if you reach nine cards without going over 20 you are supposed to be "standing" on your total. However, there is a glitch in the game. If you hit 20 cards without winding up over 20 then you will automatically win the set even if your opponent has 20! To help make this happen, load up on '2/4 and 3/6 switch' cards and a ton of '-5' cards. These cards are also much less expensive to buy.

The next strategies have been computer tested with 100,000+ hands each. There are some fine tuning options for tweaking these strategies based on what total your opponent shows, but the basic optimal strategies for the following situations are correct:

... if you are out of sideboard cards:

Play until your total is at least 17 and then stop unless your opponent has 18-20.

...if you only have a +/-4 card in your sideboard:

Play until your total is at least 15, stop taking new cards and then use the +/-4 card if your total is 15, 16 or 21, 22, 23, 24 (unless your opponent already has a total that would beat you, in which case you have to take a new card).

...if you only have a +/-3 card in your sideboard:

Play until your total is at least 16, stop taking new cards and then use the +/-3 card if your total is 16, 17 or 21, 22, 23 (unless your opponent already has a total that would beat you, in which case you have to take a new card).

...if you only have a +/-2 card in your sideboard:

Play until your total is at least 17, stop taking new cards and then use the +/-2 card if your total is 17, 18 or 21, 22 (unless your opponent already has a total that would beat you, in which case you have to take a new card).

...if you only have a +/-1 card in your sideboard:

Play until your total is at least 18, stop taking new cards and then use the +/-1 card if your total is 18, 19 or 21 (unless your opponent already has a total that would beat you, in which case you have to take a new card).

...if you have both a +/-1 card and a +/-2 card in your sideboard:

Play until your total is at least 18 and then stop taking new cards. Use the +/-1 card if your total is 19 or 21. Use the +/-2 card if your total is 18 or 22.

Good luck.

Submitted By: Chance Beaube (California)