# Am I doomed in Shithead end-game?

This end-game puzzle is for Shithead. I am beginner, and was quite surprised this end-game seems lost to me. Is it a mathematical loss? You can treat this as a "perfect knowledge" and "perfect play" puzzle. That is, both players know what cards remain and will play optimally.

The hidden cards (2 and 5) are unknown to the players, but it would clearly be a loss if my opponent had the hidden 2, but the puzzle is if he has the hidden 5, as he did.

Player 1: One hidden card: 2. Cards in hand: 2, 44, 9999, JJJ, QQQQ, AAAA.

Player 2: One hidden card: 5. No cards in hand.

Board: J.

It is player 1s turn to act.

It seems to me that the fact that there are only sets (4 of a kind) left, reset cards plus 44 and 5, means I will always have to hand my opponent either 44 into his 5, or give him a reset card for the sets.

• Is this an end-game you found somewhere, as a puzzle? Or one that occurred in your own play? Rules are important: Wikipedia suggests a few variations in the rules, and we'd need to know either the rules being played by the person who set the puzzle, or you in your own play. If it is a puzzle, and they're playing by different rules than you, that may be why the puzzle-setter thinks it's possible but you don't. Jul 2 '18 at 13:08
• Very important rule: Wikipedia suggests that Player 1 must play 2, QQQQ or AAAA. My own experience (/memory) would suggest that player 1 could play 2, J, JJ, JJJ, Q, QQ, QQQ, QQQQ, A, AA, AAA or AAAA. Even if JJ were down all those would still be allowed (other than JJJ being impossible). Jul 2 '18 at 13:11
• (Although, even with my own rules I've not been able to find a solution.) Jul 2 '18 at 13:12
• @AndyT Thanks for the reply. I see your point! I was not aware that according to the "standard" you HAD to play a set. This rule was not enforced, and you could choose to take the board or play your sets at any time. I will review your suggestion. Also, would it be possible to correct the tag that was added? It should be "shit" not "shift". Jul 2 '18 at 13:39