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The History Of The Idiot's Array In The Mandalorian Chapter 10

The Star Wars universe was always going to need a sabacc.

If you introduce a gambler like Lando Calrissian, and if you give Han Solo the line "Your ship? Hey, remember you lost her to me, fair and square," in The Empire Strikes Back, then the logical next question is: How did Lando lose the Millennium Falcon? Surely it wasn't just a coin flip? If the dejarik game Chewbacca and C-3PO play in A New Hope is a rough chess analogue, then what sort of gambling game would be so enticing that a player might be willing to win or lose an entire ship on it?

The answer would come to be sabacc, the blackjack-poker hybrid glimpsed briefly in chapter 10 of the Mandalorian, when Mando (Pedro Pascal) finds hangermaster Peli Motto (Amy Sedaris) in the middle of a game with the ant-like Dr. Mandible. Mando agrees to stake Mandible in exchange for information that may lead him to more Mandalorians, and the pair lose their bet when Motto reveals she's holding the highest-possible hand in the game, an Idiot's Array.

What is an Idiot's Array?

There are a lot of ways to play sabacc, but the goal of most variants is to obtain a combination of positive or negative cards closest to but not exceeding an absolute value of 23, a number that when hit exactly is known as a pure sabacc. The only hand that can beat a pure sabacc is the Idiot's Array, which is made up of the special card The Idiot, which has a value of zero points, a two, and a three: 023.

Given not just his reputation but also what audiences learned about Lando's sabacc-playing style in Solo: A Star Wars Story –– namely, he cheats –– it's perhaps not a surprise that the only hand guaranteed to win is often associated with Lando. The Idiot's Array debuted in Legends canon way back in 1983 in the novel Lando Calrissian and the Mindharp of Sharu. It was revived for the current canon by the show Star Wars Rebels, which did an episode in its first season called "Idiot's Array."

In the episode, none other than Lando uses the array to take a hand against Ghost crewmember Zeb, winning the ship's droid Chopper in the process. In exchange for the return of the droid, Lando asks the crew to assist him in a dangerous smuggling scheme. As in The Mandalorian, the hand launches the heroes of Rebels on a new adventure. 

All of which begs another question: Did Peli Motto just get lucky? Or does she know a few gambler's tricks of the sort Lando has used throughout his career?