## A Conversation for How to Win a Pint by Using Binary Arithmetic

### Overly complicated?

Baron Grim Started conversation Jan 20, 2004

I've played a variant of this at the pub for a few years.

Your example seems overly complicated. Sure I guess binary theory helps, but all I've ever needed was to know the difference between odd and even.

In the variant I've played the rows are 3 / 5 / 7. Also, any player can remove as many matches from any one row they desire. (This probably only speeds up play, I don't see any major diffence it will have in the outcome if one player knows the strategy).

My strategy is only to keep the total number of matches even after my go and to leave at least two columns.

If the other player removes the penultimate row, I can simply remove the last. (With the restricted version you have, you only have to leave an even number in a the row larger than the maximum 'turn' to winnow down the last row or remove them all if it's less).

My normal last moves are: once it's down to two rows leave one match in one of the rows. If my opponent doesn't take that single match, I leave only one match in the other... They can't take both, I win.

I've seen versions with 5/7/11 and other varients. As long as there are at least two rows I don't think that the totals change the strategy. And by limiting the maximum number of matches that can be pulled one is only drawing the game out (which does help make the other player, aka 'mark' feel they are actually 'playing').

Anyway, it is a fun game if you know how to play... It's also a fun game to watch whether you do or not, especially if the players have only a rudimentary understanding of it.

Of course I can't say I 'Like' this article as this publicity could cost me a few pints in the pub now.

I'll have to go back to betting that someone can't guess three of the eight digits in a US$ bill's serial number. (It's an odds game and since most people don't automatically think about repeated digits lowering their odds nor do they realise I might have a bill with only two different numbers {45545445 for instance} I'm bound to win in the end.)

CZ

### Overly complicated?

Gromi Posted Jan 20, 2004

I got lost right after the article started using a series of numbers to represent something or other. Being a visual person, I have no idea what the 3,6,7 stuff means. I understand the three rows with varying numbers of matches. But how the numbers relate to them is a blur in my head. Oh how I wish there were more diagrams on H2G2. The odd and even description CountZero gives sure seems simpler.

Key: Complain about this post

### More Conversations for How to Win a Pint by Using Binary Arithmetic

### Write an Entry

"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a wholly remarkable book. It has been compiled and recompiled many times and under many different editorships. It contains contributions from countless numbers of travellers and researchers."