Empat Satu (41)

This page is based on information from Riza Purwo Nugroho.

Introduction

In this Indonesian draw and discard game, the aim is to collect four cards of the same suit with as high a point value as possible, 41 being the maximum that can be achieved.

Players, Cards and Deal

This game is normally played by from 2 to 4 players, though it would be possible for more to take part. A standard international 52-card pack is used. Aces count 11 points, pictures (kings, queens and jacks) and tens count 10 points each, and cards from 2 to 9 count face value.

The first dealer is chosen at random, and subsequently the loser of each hand deals the next. The dealer deals four cards to each player, clockwise, one at a time. The remaining cards are placed face down in the centre of the table to form a drawing stock.

Play

In the first deal, the dealer plays first; subsequently the winner of the each deal plays first in the next. The turn to play passes clockwise.

At your turn, you draw either the top card of the stock or the card just discarded by the previous player, add this card to your hand, and discard one card face up.

On the first turn of the game, the first player can draw only from the stock, since no cards have yet been discarded.

In some groups, the discards are kept in a single face-up pile next to the stock pile. In other groups, players keep their own discards in a face up pile in front of themselves. Either way, the only discard that can be taken is the card just discarded by the player before you.

It is illegal to pick up the previous player's discard and then discard the same card again. However, if you draw a card from the stock and do not want it, you are free to discard it.

If at the start of your turn you have four cards of the same suit, you can stop the game. The play ends immediately and everyone shows their cards. It is possible to stop the game on your first turn if you are lucky enough to be dealt four cards of the same suit, so some of the other players may not get a turn to exchange a card.

If after drawing and discarding you have four cards of one suit, you cannot stop the game at that point - you must wait until the start of your next turn.

If there are no cards left in the drawing stock and the player whose turn it is does not want the previous player's discard, the play ends and the hands are scored as described below.

Scoring

When the game is stopped (either by a player or because the stock has run out), all players show their cards and count their scores. Each player can only count cards of one suit as positive, and cards of other suits have a negative value. Example: spadeK-spade3-heart9-heart8 counts 4: 9+8-10-3; clubA-diamond2-diamond3-diamond5 counts 1: 11-2-3-5 for the club. Scores for hands with three or four suits can be negative: club7-heart9-spade10-spade2 counts -4: 10+2-9-7.

The perfect score is 41, for a hand containing (for example) A-K-J-10 of one suit. Note that it is possible to win a hand without having four cards of the same suit - for example a player stops the game with K-6-5-4 of clubs (25 points) but you have A-Q-10 of spades and 4 of diamonds and win with 27 points.

The player with the highest score is the winner and the one with the lowest score is the loser. Usually no running score is kept: the loser deals and the winner starts the next hand

If there is a tie, the players' worst cards are used to decide who wins or loses. For example J-10-7-6 of a suit beats A-K-7-5 of another suit: both score 33 and the 6 is better than the 5. J-10-7 of hearts plus 4 of clubs beats A-K-8 of spades plus 6 of diamonds: both are worth 23 but the 6 of diamonds is worse than the 4 of clubs, both counting as negative.