FAQ - questions about playing the cards and the computer program

Playing cards in the Pidro game

About playing off-suit

I really like your program, I was wondering if you were planning on making a version where you can play the off cards?

When playing, I took the third round of trumps which left me with the only trump left in my hand which was the pedro. I wanted to lead back offsuit as I didn't think that my partner had a high card left. The game would not let me offsuit, forcing me to play the pedro which was taken by the bidder with high card. Is this intentional that you cannot lead back offsuit, or is this just the way this variation is played? To give you an idea, the variation that we played, you could lead back offsuit, if you took the prior trick, even though you may have had trump left in your hand. This enabled the weaker pair to block someone laying a pedro and maximizing the trump of the weaker pair.

This is exactly how the Pidro variant is played, only trumps count in the playing phase - offsuit cards are just "fillers" in your hand not giving away how many trumps you have. On your turn, when you have no trumps left, you shall lay down the rest of your hand. One slight variation of the rules would mean that the artificial intelligence would have to be rewritten. The current AI is optimized for the trump-only rules (around 300 million deals computer simulated) and still it has flaws that the initiated player can detect. Inntroducing the non trump cards into play would probably scrap most of the current AI. Without personal experience of how to play with the off-cards we would not be able to create a decent program any time soon. Short answer: no we don't have the plan to include the off-color cards in the play phase, sorry.

Here’s an example of the AI I was complaining about. An opponent had 3,6,7,9,5,5 of clubs —an awful hand— and he bid 10!

In Pidro you can not lead with off suit, only trump are played. Thus two fives at the end of a 6 card hand are pretty safe - no opponent is likely to have 5 trumps. This means that you can take both fives yourself = 10.

Why does the computer play like this

Can you tell me why the computer will start the round off with a low trump when it has the Ace in hand?

According to the statistical simulations we have done, as bidder leading first, it usually is a bad idea to start with A with less than 4 trumps unless you have the K. Trump distribution matters, of course. If you have good reasons to believe that either of the opponents has only one trump then A is a good choice. This could happen for instance when either opponent changed the full six cards.

If you have a short hand (4 or less trumps) with A and a five - then the outcome is pretty random wahtever you play unless you and your partner both have 4 trump. In this case you should not play the five. When the bidder starts low then the opponent to his left usually plays a five if he has less than 4 trump. Most often this is his only chance to get a five "across" since the bidder is likely to sit with the A. The bidder's partner, as a general rule, always blocks this attempt with as high a card as possible. The only exception to this rule is blocking with a 10 or a J when the bid was 9, or in some cases 8 and this one point would mean taking the bid or losing it.
So back to your question, as bidder it is usually best to start low when you have a lone A on a 4 or less than 4 trump hand
without a five. The aim is either to survive a round without any fives being played and not having to lead the next round or to draw out a five and possibly get it by your partner's highest card

Love the game. But... Seems to me that the score is not always being kept correctly. For example, my team took all the tricks because I had like A-J and the five bid 14 because I knew I was going to take them all. I did. But the scorce was 13 to -1. It's hard to keep track of the points while playing but it seems like sometimes the score is wrong. Any thoughts?

The Pidro rules have the peculiarity that the 2 of trump, i.e the low trump can not be taken, i.e. the team that plays the 2 gets the point. I'm sure this is where your 13-1 observation comes from. If you see some weird play (or any other bug for that matter) pls take a screenshot and mail it to us (zipped) - I would love to catch a bug red handed.

have downloaded it, where is the start button?

It starts automatically, the cards are dealt immediately for the first biddig round.

Release History

Version 1.0 was released in January 2005. It was only distributed locally.
Version 2.0. First global release 11.2.2006
Version 2.1. Correction release 1.5.2006
Version 2.2. Update 4.11.2006
Version 2.3. Update 1.9.2007
Version 2.3.1 Update 6.6.2008
Version 2.3.2 Update 10.3.2009
Version 2.3.3 Update 18.11.2009 - Vista compatibility
Version 2.5.0 Update 21.1.2016 - Windows 10 version

What has changed from 2.0 to 2.1, How to upgrade.

The new release 2.1 is functionally the same as 2.0. The installation mechanism has been streamlined to enable easier patching and upgrading of the artificial intelligence. In addition, interaction problems with the registry and some undisclosed bugs were fixed. When you upgrade from 2.0 to 2.1 you will have to run the installation sequence twice - once for uninstalling and the second time for installing the new version. In future upgrades from 2.1 this will not be needed anymore.

What is new in 2.2

The release 2.2 has a new in-game help feature and improved artificial intelligence. The new version is a treat for those who want to explore the intricacy of the game. In addition, the user interface has been slightly modified for better clarity and playability. The help function can be turned on/off with the "?" button next to your cards.

What is new in 2.3

The release 2.3 has further improved the in-game help feature and added text based help suited to the context. The artificial intelligence has again been improved both in bidding and playing.

NB! Pidro Challenge 2.2/2.3 and Windows Vista
Version 2.2/2.3 does not run on Windows Vista but it installs normally. There is, however, a workaround. Copy cards.dll from a Windows XP to the \WINDOWS\system32 directory. Then the program will run.

What is new in 2.3.x

The release 2.3.1 is an update of the artificial intelligence only

The release 2.3.2 is an update of the artificial intelligence only

The release 2.3.3 is an update for Windows Vista compatibility. The program runs in Vista and Windows 7 in the XP compatibility mode. The artificial intelligence was also upgraded.
The 32 bit cards.dll is needed since it is not a part of the 64-bit Windows installation. Download it here>>

What is new in 2.5.x

The release 2.5.0 is an update for Windows 10. The artificial intelligence was also upgraded. Some installations of Windows 10 lack the Visual Basic msvbvm50.dll. If this is your case you can download it here and save it in the C:\Windows\SysWOW64\ directory. Install then Pidro Challenge again.