By Erik McLean at

Here's a fun and simple math card game to play with friends or solitaire.

By stevea68 | SteveA | 2 May 2021

Here's a fun and simple card math game you can play with a regular deck of cards. You can play it by yourself or with others:


Take a regular deck of playing cards and remove the Jacks, Queens and Kings, so you have Aces through 10s remaining.


Draw 4 cards and these are the 4 numbers you can use to construct your answer (if you're playing with a group, let everyone see these cards first). Draw 1 more card and this is the resulting value you are suppose to try to create using addition, subtraction, multiplication and division of the other 4 cards.
You can group the cards in any order, but must use each only once and you try to end up with a number equaling the 5th card. (There is only a very small chance it's impossible to solve.
I ran a computer simulation and think it was over a 98% chance a solution was possible.)
Here's an example of play. The 4 cards drawn are:
4, Ace (aces equal 1), 9 and 10, so we have the numbers 4, 1 , 9 and 10 ... and then we draw the next card, which is 3.
So how to combine those numbers together to get 3? Here's a solution: (10-9)=1 and 1/1=1 and 4-1=3. (Alternately we could write 4-(10-9)/1)
Another solution could be 4-10/(9+1) ... so you add the 9 and 1 to get 10, then divide the 10 by 10 to get 1 and subtract it from the 4 to get to 3.


Another solution could be 4-1 =3 and 10-9 = 1 and 3*1=3 etc.


In a group, the first person with an answer says so, and then is suppose to show whether or not they had a solution.

A variation of this is to leave the face cards in the deck and count Jacks = 11, Queens = 12 and Kings = 13, but then the likelihood of finding hands that are impossible to solve increases quite a bit.

Have fun

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