Slippery Slope

Contributed by Brien Patterson and Vicki Jackson

Players: This is a trick-taking game for three players, each playing for themselves.

Cards: Uses a regular deck of playing cards, however, only ace, 2, 3, 4, jack, queen, king of each suit are used, plus two jokers, big and little, for a total of 30 cards. The jokers must have some difference to distinguish one from the other.

Deal: Determine a dealer. Cards are dealt, each player receiving 10 cards.

Bidding: Bidding is done in secret and needs to be written down. Each player looks at their hand and tries to writes down an estimate of the exact number of tricks they will take.

Play: The person to the left of the dealer begins by leading any card except a joker. Players must follow suit when possible, if they cannot, they can throw off or trump with one of the two jokers. If both jokers are played the big one wins. Jokers are the only cards considered trump and cannot be led unless they are the last cards in your hand.

Object: The object of the game is to be the first player to reach 20 points. There are 10 possible tricks. This is where the strategy comes in: the normal rules of trick taking do not necessarily apply.

  • If a number card is led (2,3,4), the trick is played downhill, meaning that the lowest card of the suit that was led will win the trick - see example 1.
  • If a face card is led (J,Q,K) the trick is played uphill, meaning that the highest card of the suit that was led will win the trick - see example 2.
  • Cards rank from low to high: (A) - 2 - 3 - 4 - J - Q - K - (A). When a face card is led, the ace counts as the highest card of the suit, and when a number card is led it counts as the lowest card.
  • However, if an ace is led, it counts as the worst card of its suit and any other card of that suit will beat it. The only way an ace can take a trick when it has been led, is if there are no other cards of that suit played. Though the ace determines the suit of that trick, the card played next, regardless of suit, determines whether that trick will be played uphill or downhill. See example 3. If a joker is the next card played after an ace it will automatically take the trick so playing uphill or downhill does not need to be determined.

Scoring: Each trick is worth 1 point. The object is to get the exact number of tricks bid. If you make your bid exactly, you add the number of tricks taken to your score. If you do not make your bid, (either over or under), you subtract the difference between tricks bid and tricks taken from your score. The first player to 20 points is the winner. If more than one person reaches 20, the one with the highest score wins.

Example 1

Player 1 leads the 3 of clubs, player 2 plays a Jack of clubs, player 3 plays the 2 of clubs. Since a number card was led, the aim is to go downhill, and the 2 is the winner of this trick. Note: If player 2 or 3 had played the ace of clubs, it would have taken the trick.

Example 2

Player 1 leads the king of clubs, player 2 plays a jack and player 3 plays the two of clubs. Since a face card was lead, the aim is to go uphill and the king will take the trick. Note: If player 2 or 3 had played the ace of clubs, the ace would take the trick.

Example 3

Player 1 leads the ace of clubs, player 2 plays a king of hearts, player 3 plays a 2 of clubs. Player 2's king determines that the play is uphill but cannot win the trick because player 2 did not follow suit. The ace was led, so it cannot take the trick (unless it is the only club played). So the 2 of clubs takes the trick.