Pazaak Game Strategy
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
Obviously, the rules of Pazaak are that you get as close to a score of 20 without going over. You can keep getting cards as much as you like, one at a time, and stand any time. You can use one of the four randomly drawn cards from your 10-card side deck (which you put together before hand) at any time to increase or decrease your current hand. If you go over 20 and have a negative card to play (from 1 through 6), it's possible to bring your total back to, or under 20. You must win three of five games, and you always go first (just happens this way in KotOR). All things being equal, that gives you a slight disadvantage, as you'll end up choosing when to stand more often than your opponent and they can then play to an exact number.
- The Pazaak side deck you get at the beginning has the worst possible selection of cards (all +1 through +5), so you'll want to upgrade them if you plan on making consistent money with this game.
- The best cards have both a positive and negative value (+/-) that you can change at will and can either be bought off of various merchants (usually at the very end of their inventory), off of some fallen enemies, or often inside of containers. It's your choice how you want to get them, but I've found plenty to make a good deck via just enemies and containers.
- Even purely negative cards are better than the positive cards, as you can play for a score close to 20 and still go back if you go over - something that frequently happens to good players.
- Cards you can get range from +/- 1 through +/- 6. The lower the value, the better it is. You'll want to eventually make a side deck with all +/- cards for obvious reasons. It's up to you how you want to arrange your side deck, but I'd advise at least two +/- 1 through two +/- 4 cards, filling up 8 of your 10 side deck cards. The remaining two cards are up to you, but I'll give some general strategy next. Personally, I'd make the remaining two one +/- 5 and one +/- 6.
The less often you have to play your side deck, the better your chances are for winning. The opposite is also true - if you have more side deck cards left than your opponent, and are tied or winning, your chances are better. For this reason, hold on to them as long as possible.
If you can reach 20 with a side deck card +/- 4 or less early in the game, do so. If you can reach 20 with a side deck card of +/- 5 or +/- 6 late in the game, do so. The reason is this. Early in the game, if you're at 15, generally you'll have a 50