Source: Bridge D’Italia May 2000 

The Mercury, Mach 14 2000. Tasmania

King of hearts flies solo to beat 635.000.000.000 -1 odds.

Solo Whist, sometimes known as simply Solo, is a trick-taking card game whose direct ancestor is the 17th century Spanish game Hombre, based on the English Whist. Its major distinctive feature is that one player often plays against the other three. However, players form temporary alliances with two players playing against the other two if «Prop and Cop» is the current bid. It requires four players using a standard 52 card deck with no jokers. Aces are high and the deal, bidding and play are clockwise.

Sr. Pickard and his thirteen hearts

A recent card hand of Hobart’s Barry Pickard has been the talk of the town among competition card players. Mr. Pickard the immediate past president of the Hobart City Heart Business Association was dealt a full hand of hearts.

Mathematically minded friends and associates have assessed the odds of receiving such a hand in a game of solo as being 635.000.000.000, 635 billons to one.

Mr. Pickard was playing at the home of legal fraternity identity Tony Jacobs, against the host and fellow card players  John Blackwood, Joe Imlach y Eddie Moore. For his winning hand, Mr. Pickard won the princely sum of $36 but he said the odds of securing such a hand were many times higher than those of winning Tattslotto.

«Nobody has seen it (before) he said It`s such an unbeliavable thing»

Asked if he expected to ever receive a similar hand again, Mr. Pickard said: «They say lightning never strikes twice. It was such a surprise. I thought Oh, boy, I have the hand that never happens».

Whit his hand he could have prolonged the game but Mr. Pickard simply laid his cards on the table. «The only time you see this is if someone stacked the deck», he said.

Mr. Pickard has been playing solo for 30 years.

University of Tasmania, mathematician David Appleton said he never heard such hand being dealt in a competition card game. Mr. Appleton has represented Tasmania and Australia in bridge.

Another story from Mr. Pickard…in the End of the world.

Complaint against driver
Tourists say they have been scammed in Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego Argentina

Two tourists reported being scammed by a taxi driver who charged them the cost of a trip in dollars, regardless of the current peso-dollar value, billing transfer costing 1-1 shift. Once notified that the trip was charged to a much higher price the tourists reported the incident to the police.

Mr Barry and Kaye Pickard are from the city of Hobart, Tasmania, an island located behind Australia. Barry was president of City Heart Business Association for 7 years in that locality. They arrived at the airport in our city and called a taxi from inside the airship to go to Hosteria Los Fuegos, at the entrance to the city, in the area adjacent to the police station of National Highway No. 3.

According to Kaye, the scoreboard indicated travel cost 13.50 pesos,  and the worker said they had to pay in dollars, so newcomers paid U$S 15, leaving the remaining money as a tip. The price seemed excessive, but they did not realize they had been scammed until they were warned that it was a cost in pesos, not dollars. However, the story does not end there.

Once they were aware of the situation, decided to make the complaint to the police, and were presented at the local headquarters for filing the claim. While reported having been treated cordially, also highlighted the problems for which they had to pass, as no effective knew English. Then they were taken to make the police report at the headquarters of the Investigation Division of the Police, Goleta Street, where they waited for several hours to receive a 17-year-old sister of an officer, who officiate as interpreter, to make a formal complaint. Added to all this the fact that the filing of the complaint cost them a credit of 2 pesos.

Barry Pickard said the city from which they originate has tourism as one of its main activities and receives 31 international cruise ships per year, including the Queen Mary II. «So I know what you’re talking about,» said the visitor. He added that «we know that the priority is to care for the tourist.»