# News You Can Bruise for 2003September6 (entry 0)

I Was Tech Support For James Gosling
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Attack Poker: I went to Sumana's party last night, and learned how to play poker (more precisely, I learned why playing poker is fun). More of that anon. Right now I want to tell you about a game that Angel and I made up, which we call Attack Poker (possible alternate title: "Wittgenstein's Poker". I would rather come up with a different game for that name, though.)

Angel and I were the only ones who played, but the game would be fun for more than two players. Each player is dealt a five-card poker hand face up in front of them. All remaining cards are put face down in the draw pile in the middle. There is also a discard pile which is initially empty. The goal is to improve your poker hand while ruining the hands of your opponents.

A player's turn consists of drawing a card, from either the draw pile or the discard pile, and playing it. You always have the option of playing the card you drew face up onto the discard pile. You also always have the option of playing the card you drew face up on top of one of the cards in your hand. This changes your hand (hopefully for the better) and the card underneath the card you played is effectively removed from play.

If you draw a card and you have a card of the same rank in your hand, you also have the option of playing the card you drew on top of an opponent's hand, hopefully reducing the quality of their hand.

If you draw a card and an opponent has a card of the same rank in their hand, you have the option of taking one of their cards and replacing it with the card you drew. You can then play the card you stole onto your hand, or discard it.

Once the draw pile is empty, the game is over and the player with the best poker hand wins.

Those are the rules. Here's an example:

I have 4H 4C 5H 9D AH. My opponent has 6C 8C 4C 9C 7C. I draw 9H. My viable options are:

• Discard it
• Play it over AH or 5S to get two pair.
• Play it over 9D to work on a flush.
• I already have 9D, so I can play 9H on my opponent's hand. Playing it on 7C would ruin their flush and make it harder for them to get a straight.
• My opponent has 9C, so I can swap 9H for a card in my opponent's hand. Swapping it for 4C would ruin their flush and then I could get three of a kind by playing 4C on 5H or 9D.

I was surprised at how replayable this game is. There are actually two strategies: go for of-a-kind hands (these make it more difficult for opponents to steal your cards, but also make it difficult to attack other players), or go for straights and flushes (these give you lots of opportunities to destroy opposing hands, but also give your opponents lots of opportunities to destroy yours). Neither strategy is obviously better. Sometimes you have to sabotage your own hand so that an opponent won't get a card that would help them a lot. Emergent behavior: nice!

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