Contributed by Fred Blundun
Players: 2 only.
Cards: A standard 52-card pack plus one joker is used. 13 cards are dealt to each player, and one card is turned up to determine the trump suit and set aside. If it is the joker then the round is played in no trumps. The cards rank from ace (high) to 2 (low). The joker is a trump and its rank is that of the card that was removed to determine the trump suit. For example, if the 8 of hearts is turned up, then hearts are trumps and the joker ranks between the 7 and 9 of hearts.
Play: The object of the game is to take tricks, but to avoid tricks whose cards’ pips total ten. Normal tricks are, at the end of the round, worth one point each; tricks totalling ten are worth -3 points each. Tricks are taken in the normal manner: dealer leads to the first trick. A player must follow suit if he can, and if he does, the higher card wins; otherwise he may discard, and lose the trick, or trump and win it. The winner of a trick leads to the next. In addition to this, after each of the first 13 tricks, each player is dealt a new card from the stock. There are 26 tricks altogether.
A vital aspect of the game is avoiding taking tricks whose two cards total 10, as these tricks carry a penalty of -3 points. For the purpose of this, court cards and jokers count as 0, aces count as 1, and other cards count as their pip value. The two cards need not be of the same suit. The possibilities are:
- 2 and 8
- 3 and 7
- 4 and 6
- 5 and 5 (of different suits, of course)
- 9 and A
- 10 and K
- 10 and Q
- 10 and J
- 10 and joker
9s and 10s, therefore, are powerful cards, as they can prevent your opponent leading an ace or a court card respectively.
If, at the end of the round, both players have the same number of points, the player with fewer tricks totalling 10 wins. If both have the same number, the winner of the last trick wins. Alternatively, several rounds can be played, with game set at 50 points.
As a simpler variant, each player is dealt 17 cards and no new cards are dealt. There are 17 tricks. The strategy for this variant is very different, as the proportion of unknown cards decreases with time instead of increasing.