On Winning Percentages at Klondike Solitaire

Some time ago I wrote about lucky runs in Microsoft's Klondike solitaire, a game that is my fallback brain-draining exercise. I recently checked my statistics over the last few weeks, and I noticed that my winning percentage topped the 10 percent mark over an extended sampling of over 350 games.

Typically I rack up winning percentages in the range of 7 to 8 percent in the three-card draw, three passes through the pile version of this classic card game. I am not sure if the higher winning percentage indicates that my skill level is improving or if this is just an extended hot streak.

Unfortunately, there is a lack of consensus among researchers about the probabilities of winning at Klondike solitaire. One mathematician suggests that between 82% and 91.44% of Klondike Solitaire games have winning solutions,while another study indicates that 2.5 to 10 percent of all Klondike games are unsolvable. Yet another group of researchers shrugged their shoulders and admitted that "one of the embarrassments of applied mathematics that we cannot determine the odds of winning the common game of solitaire."

Feel free to weigh in on the debate in the Comments section, as well as to offer your experiences with winning percentages at Klondike solitaire.

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