Rikken

This page is based mostly on a contribution from Bart Kampers.


Introduction

Rikken is a plain trick game with trumps and bidding. It has some similarities with Solo Whist. Rikken is played in the southern Netherlands mainly in the province of Noord Brabant. The game is also played in competitions.


Players and cards

There are four players, each ultimately playing for themselves, though they form temporary alliances - one against three or two against two - for each hand.

A standard 52 card pack is used, the cards in each suit ranking from high to low: A K Q J 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2.


The deal

The deal, bidding and play are clockwise. The cards are cut by the player to dealer's right. Cards must never be shuffled. The dealer then deals out all the cards so that everyone has 13. The cards are usually dealt in two packets of six and seven cards or three packets of four and five cards. The turn to deal passes to the left after each hand.


The bidding

Beginning with the player to dealer's left, each player may pass or bid a contract. The possible bids in ascending order are as follows:

ContractDescriptionBasic scoreOvertricks
RikThe bidder undertakes to win at least 8 tricks, playing in partnership with another player yet to be determined by calling an ace. Trump suit is chosen by the bidder.11
Rik beterThe same contract as Rik, but with hearts as trumps.11
8 alleen
(Solo 8)
The bidder undertakes to win at least 8 tricks, playing alone. Trump suit is chosen by the bidder.11
MisèreThe bidder undertakes to lose every trick, playing alone with no trumps.5-
PiekThe bidder undertakes to win exactly one trick, playing alone with no trumps.5-
9 alleen
(Solo 9)
The bidder undertakes to win at least 9 tricks, playing alone. The trump suit is chosen by the bidder.11
10 alleen
(Solo 10)
The bidder undertakes to win at least 10 tricks playing alone. The trump suit is chosen by the bidder.11
11 alleen
(Solo 11)
The bidder undertakes to win at least 11 tricks playing alone. The trump suit is chosen by the bidder.11
12 alleen
(Solo 12)
The bidder undertakes to win at least 12 tricks playing alone. The trump suit is chosen by the bidder.11
Open misèreThe bidder undertakes to lose every trick, playing alone with no trumps. The bidder's hand is placed face up on the table after the first trick is complete.10-
Open piekThe bidder undertakes to win exactly one trick, playing alone with no trumps. The bidder's hand is placed face up on the table after the first trick is complete.10-
Troela
(triple ace)
The bidder has got three aces and undertakes to win at least 8 tricks, playing in partnership with the player who has got the fourth ace. The trump suit is chosen by the player with the single ace.21
Open misère met een praatje
(with discussion)
The bidder undertakes to lose every trick, playing alone with no trumps. All player's cards are placed face up on the table after the first trick is complete. Opponents are allowed to discuss which cards to play.15-
Open piek met een praatje
(with discussion)
The bidder undertakes to win exactly one trick, playing alone with no trumps. All player's cards are placed face up on the table after the first trick is complete. Opponents are allowed to discuss which cards to play.15-
13 alleen
(Solo 13)
The bidder undertakes to win all 13 tricks playing alone. The trump suit is chosen by the bidder.15-
Open 13 alleen
(Open solo 13)
The bidder undertakes to win all 13 tricks, playing alone. The trump suit is chosen by the bidder. The bidder's hand is placed face up on the table after the first trick is complete.20-

If all four players pass, then the cards are thrown in and next dealer deals.

If someone bids, then subsequent players can either pass or bid higher. A player who has passed is not allowed to bid again in the auction. The bidding continues around the table as many times as necessary for all players who have not yet passed. The contract is settled when three players have passed. This makes the player with the last and highest bid the declarer.

Misère and piek are equal bids. It is possible for two or more players undertake one of these bids in the same deal. For instance two players bid piek or one bids misère and another bids piek. This is therefore an exception to the rule that the bidding only finishes when three players have passed. If the most recent bids by all the players who have not yet passed are equal, the bidding ends and all the equal contracts are played simultaneously.

In the same way open misère and open piek are equal bids and open misère + praatje and open piek + praatje are equal.

The trump suit, if any, is not included as part of the bid (except implicitly, when rik beter is bid) but is announced by the declarer immediately before the first lead. Any of the four suits can be chosen as trumps except that

  • in rik beter hearts must be trumps
  • in rik and rik beter the trump suit cannot be the same as the suit of the called ace
  • in troela the trump suit cannot be the same as the suit of the single ace.

Calling an ace

In a rik or rik beter contract the partnerships are determined by the declarer calling an ace, the holder of which becomes declarer's partner. The ace is called before the first lead, at the same time that trumps are announced - for example the declarer says "hearts are trumps and the ace of spades is my partner". The player who hold of the called ace must not say anything to give away who they are - the partnerships will become clear only during the play - for example when the called ace is played to a trick.

The called ace must if possible be in a suit of which the declarer holds at least one card. If the declarer has no suit without the ace, then the declarer can call the ace of a void suit, but must announce that the ace is being called "blind".

The called ace cannot be the ace of trumps.

If the bidder of rik or rik beter holds four aces, a king can be called. All rules referring to the called ace also apply to the called king.

If you hold three aces you must bid troela or higher if no one has already bid higher before your first turn to bid. Before the first lead the declarer announces the suit of the missing ace, and the holder of this single ace announces the trump suit.


The play

The player to the dealer's left leads to the first trick. Any card may be led to a trick. The other three players must follow suit if possible. A player with no card of the led suit may play any card.

If any trumps are played to a trick, it is won by the highest trump played. If there are no trumps in a trick, it is won by the highest card played in the suit that was led. The winner of a trick leads to the next.

The holder of the called ace must not be announced until the suit of the called ace is led. To this trick the called ace must be played even if another player has already trumped it. The player who holds the called ace is allowed to lead a different card of this suit. In this case, since the called ace will not appear on the trick, it is clear that the player who led holds the called ace and is the declarer's partner. The same restrictions apply to the play of the single ace in a troela contract.

If an ace was called "blind", the declarer can, when leading the trick, play a card face down. The other players must then follow with the suit of the called ace if possible, and the called ace must be played to the trick. When the trick is complete, the led card is placed face up. This trick is won by the called ace, or by the highest trump if any are played. The declarer can lead in this way only once, and only if the single ace has not yet been played.


Scoring

Players generally settle up in money after each hand.

In rik or rik beter if the bidder and partner make the 8 tricks or more, each receives 1 unit plus 1 unit for each overtrick. Each of the opponents pays this same amount to one of the players of the winning team. If the bidder and partner fail they each pay 1 unit plus 1 per undertrick. Each opponent then receives this amount. For example: when bidder and partner make 8 tricks they each receive 1 unit. They receive 2 units when they make 9 tricks  but each pay 2 units when they make only 7 tricks. In troela the payment is one unit more, so 2 units for eight tricks, 3 for nine etc., and you pay 3 units when you only make seven tricks.

In a solo contract, except for solo 13, the bidder receives 1 unit plus 1 per overtrick from each of the opponents when making the number of tricks in the contract. The bidder pays 1 unit plus 1 per undertrick to each of the opponents when failing. This means that there is no advantage in bidding solo 9, 10, 11 or 12 except to overcall another bidder. You win less or lose more than you would by playing solo 8 and making the same number of tricks.

In all contracts with partners and solo contracts up to 12, you win an extra point if your team takes all 13 tricks. So winning all the tricks in a rik is worth 7 units (1 for the game plus 5 for overtricks plus an extra one); in solo 12 it would be worth 3 units from each opponent.

In an misère or piek contract, the bidder receives 5 units from each opponent for making the contract and pays 5 units to each opponent when failing. If more than one of these contracts are played, all the payments are made. For example if one player plays misère and another plays piek, both succeeding, they will each receive 10 units (15-5) and the other players will each pay 10 (5+5). If one succeeds and the other fails the loser will pay the winner 20, and the other players neither pay nor receive anything.

The payments for the higher contracts are given in the bidding table above. In each case the declarer pays or receives a fixed amount to or from each of the three opponents. In the case of simultaneous contracts, both are paid for.


Variations

Rules above are the most common basis of the game but there are lots of variations and additional rules. Rules can differ in the order of the contracts and amounts scored for them. In fact each family or club has its own house rules.

Here are some variations that are frequently played.

Some play that the "better" trump suit for the rik beter contract is determined by cutting a card before each deal, rather than having hearts as the better suit all the time. Many play that all the solo bids can also be played in the "better" trump suit, so "solo 8 beter" is a bid ranking just above "solo 8" but scoring the same. Some, on the other hand, do not allow any of the "beter" bids.

Many players do not allow any of the piek bids.

Some play that the partner of a rik bidder does not have to pay if the contract fails. The declarer pays double instead. However, the partner does get paid when the contract succeeds. Some play that if the contract fails, the partner has to pay if he or she wins fewer than two tricks, but if the partner wins two or more tricks and the contract fails the declarer pays both opponents.

Some play that solo bids cannot be the first bid in a hand. This means that rik, one the misère variants, one of the piek variants or triple ace must have been bid before anyone is allowed to bid a solo contract.

Some play that if everyone passes a special game is played. Some possibilities are listed below. They are all played without trumps.

Schuppen mie (queen of spades)
The object is to avoid taking the queen of spades in a trick and to avoid winning the last trick. The two losers each pay 10 units and the other players each receive 10. If one player takes the queen of spades and loses the last trick, that player pays for 30 and the others receive 10 each.
Mie-en (queens)
The object is to avoid winning tricks containing queens, or to try to win all four queens in tricks. The losers have to pay 5 units for each queen taken and the 20 units are given to the player or divided between the two players who took no queens.
1-5-11
try to win exactly 1, exactly 5 or exactly 11 tricks. Anyone who wins 1, 5 or 11 tricks wins; the other players lose. If there are two losers each pays 10 units to one of the winners. If there are three losers (or winners) they each pay 10 to (or receive 10 from) the fourth player. If everyone loses there are no payements. Another version of this game is 1-3-5, with similar rules.

Some play that if the first three players pass, the dealer is not allowed to pass, but must bid.

Some play with an additional bid of solo 7, which is a bid higher than rik beter and lower than solo 8.

There are several variations regarding the troela (triple ace) bid:

  • Some play that a player who has three aces is not forced to bid troela .
  • Some players do not allow the troela bid at all.
  • Some play that when troela is bid, the suit of the single ace is allowed to be chosen for trump.
  • Some play that the bidder chooses trumps in troela.
  • Some play that the partner of the bidder does not announce trumps until the single ace is played. Up to this point there are no trumps and the partnerships are not known.

There are numerous alternative bidding and scoring schedules. Many of these have different positions for piek, misère and troela in the ranking of bids. It is also common for the scores to increase for higher solos. In some schedules a solo is worth more if you bid it over a previous call of misère or piek.

Rikken for five players: The dealer cuts and deals but gets no cards and sits out for one hand, taking no part in the play or payments.

Rikken for three players: Cards are dealt as if there are four players. The fourth player, who is not present, is "the blind man". The three players bid as normal and after the contract is settled, the cards of the blind man are placed face up on the table. The playing continues as normal but the partner(s) of the blind man have to choose which card the blind man plays to each trick.

Other Rikken WWW pages and Software

Here is a link to the computer program Rikken on the Rockx, which allows Rikken to be played over the Internet.

You can play Rikken on line at the Games Square site.