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Three 21 Card Game

This game is a game of chance and skill. It is also very similar to the ending game played on The Game Show Network’s; “Catch 21”. The show is hosted by Alfonso Ribeiro; with cards turned up by Mikki Padilla.

All you need is a regular deck of 52 cards without the Jokers and a playing space big enough to lay 3 columns of cards. There is a discard pile that needs a little space as well, but just a little.

After shuffling, lay down the top three cards one by one next to each other with a little space between them. The object of the game will be to see if you can score a 21 on all three rows.

Turn up cards in the deck one by one. If you can put it on the cards in play, that is great! You want to get a 21 in all columns. With this game there is no such thing as “getting close” to a 21 as there is no “house” to beat.

Now, to your advantage, you can take three of those upturned cards and place them on a discard pile, never to be used again in this game. You cannot go back to the discard pile once you lay a card on it.

With the discard pile, you only get three chances to discard a useless card. Once you find you need to discard a fourth card, the game is over.

Let’s run through a pretend game to see how it might play out. Your decisions may not be the same as mine.

The first card turned up is an Ace, the second is a King and the third is a 5. You cannot take the Ace and play it on the King. The first three cards you turn up are the cards that begin your columns.

Now, let’s say you turn up a Jack. Play that on the Ace and you have your first 21. Turn those cards over, but leave them in their same position on the board.

Now you turn over a 2. Your choice is to play it on the 5 or the King or it can be discarded. Remember, if discarded; it can not be used throughout the remainder of the game. Let’s say you put the 2 on the 5 making a total of 7 in that column. Now, you need to get a value of 14 in cards to make that column a 21.

The next card you turn over is an 8. You decide to throw that in the discard pile because you are not comfortable with putting it on the King making an 18; nor are you happy with the prospect of a 15 in the third column.

A 3 shows up with the next turn over. If you had put the 8 on the King, you would have had an 18 and this 3 would have made a 21. But, you cannot take back the 8. Place the 3 on the 5 and 2 making another 10 on the board.

The next card up is an Ace. Let's place that with the King. Turn those cards over as you have another 21.

The next card up is a Queen. Since you already have had two Aces in play and there are four total in a deck, your chances are smaller of getting another Ace that you could use. Discard the Queen.

Lo and behold, another 3 pops up. Even though this would make a 21 in the discard pile with the 8 and Queen already being there, it does not count. Place the 3 on the last column of cards that you have.

Now with a 5, 2, 3, and another 3, you have a total of 13 in the last column. You are now hoping for an eight. There is an untouchable 8 in the discard pile and that is exactly where it stays.

The next turnover gives you a 6. You decide to discard that as well. Remember, this is your last discard for this game.

Lady Luck must be on your side. The next card up is another 8. Place that on your third column and that is another 21! You win.

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