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Back in college I had a friend teach me a different way to play a solitaire-like game. It was played in-hand which meant you could play it while standing in line or any time you were bored and had a deck of cards handy. Here's the rough idea of what I remember of the rules:

  • Cards held face down in a stack.
  • 4 cards drawn from the bottom of the deck, flipped and put on top
  • Goal was to match the outside 2 of the top 4 cards (cards 1 and 4 if you number them from the top)
  • Matching may have been based on suit or card number
  • Might have been matched as all 4 of the same suit or outside matching by number, I can't quite remember
  • There were rules I can't remember that let you rearrange the top cards
  • If top 4 cards can't be matched then you draw from the bottom until you can match
  • When a match was made it was moved to the bottom of the face-up cards to get it out of the way

One nice feature of the game was that it always stayed in a stack other than fanning out the top cards. If you have to stop playing you just collapse the fanned cards, put the deck back in the box. Later on you can pull out the deck and start right where you left off. It was a fun way to burn time while waiting for something.

Does this sound familiar to anyone? I've looked for the rules but I have no idea what the game is called and I haven't been able to find anything similar.

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

It sounds like you're describing One-Handed Solitaire, or a variant of it. Here's a second description of the rules. It's actually possible to play several solitaire games in this way, where you use the top of the deck as a kind of compressed tableau, and store the discards in the draw deck itself.

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Yeah, I remember that game. A good puzzle is to flip the entire deck face up and try to find a way through the cards to get them all discarded. I am fairly confident most shuffles are unbeatable but I never bothered trying to figure out how many. – MrHen Mar 4 '11 at 20:27
Thank you! That looks very much like the rules I remember. – Steve Hiner Mar 9 '11 at 19:57

We always called that game Idiot's Delight or Idiot's Solitaire. Wikipedia seems to think that's maybe not the appropriate name.

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We played in threes rather than four, if the two outer cards were same value or suit then the middle card is discarded. If all three are same suit or value, all three are discarded. Continue to discard as long as is nessessary before drawing another card from the bottom. Never knew the name, but its my favorite game to play alone. Have actually won several times but have been playing it since 8th grade- i'm 54 now!

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I remember learning that from a book of 50 solitaire games and I believe it was called Pirates Booty

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