by JERRY WHITE
Poker Solitaire is a computerized card game for one to four players. The program requires 16K RAM cassette and 24K RAM with DOS. It runs on all Atari computers.
This month, instead of the usual tutorial or utility program, let's play some poker. Poker Solitaire actually can be played by more than one player. It has been a favorite among my family and friends, and I hope you'll find it to be as much fun as we do.
We begin by answering a few questions. The program will ask you if you wish to use the time penalty. Until you get used to the game, type "N" for No. There is no need to press [RETURN] after any single-key response. When you use the timer penalty, one point will be deducted from your score for each second you require to complete your turn.
Point values for each type of poker hand will be displayed on the screen. Naturally, better hands are worth the most points. You may want to write down these values, then press the [START] button to continue.
Next, specify the number of players by typing a number from one to four. Finally, you must enter a name for each player. You may use up to seven letters for each name. A complete game consists of three rounds for each player. The program randomly selects 25 cards from a standard deck, then deals them one at a time. Using the arrow keys (or the joystick), position the cursor in whichever of the 25 boxes you wish to place the card, then confirm your choice by pressing the space bar or the joystick trigger button. Once you have our placed the card in a box, you may not change your decision or put any other card in the box.
The object of the game is to create the ten best possible poker hands, five running horizontally, and five running vertically on the screen. I'll leave it up to you to find the best strategy.
Once you have placed all 25 cards on the screen, the program calculates a score for each hand. During each calculation, arrows will point to the hand being evaluated, then the score for that hand will be displayed. A running total will be displayed near the top of the screen. When all players have completed a round, totals for all players will be displayed. The combined total of three rounds is your final score.
What's a good score? My personal high round is 3,590, with a three-round total of 8,460. In general, a round of less than 1,000 is poor, about 1,500 seems to be average, over 2,000 is quite good, and over 3,000 is excellent.
Once you get used to this game, you may wish it would deal the cards and calculate a bit faster. The version that I play is much faster. I compiled this program using the ABC BASIC Compiler from Monarch Data Systems, and it made quite a difference. If you have ABC, by all means compile this progrim. It will compile perfectly with no changes to the BASIC program. If you want a copy of my compiled version an disk, which requires 24K, send $10 to me at 18 Hickory Lane, Levittown, NY 11756.
Listing: POKER.BAS Download