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Advantage (or Vigoda)

Contributed by J. Brukhman (


Exclusively two.


Standard 52-card deck.


Three cards are dealt face-up, and this is the 'center'. Next, each player is dealt three cards, open hand, (that is, also face up so that each player can see the other's hand.) The rest of the cards are placed face down as stock.

Basic Play

The game goes in rounds, starting with the non-dealer, and consists of 'dropping' cards to the center, trading hands with one another ('switching'), and 'picking' cards from the center.

Example of a round: Player A drops, Player B drops, players switch hands, Player A picks, Player B picks. After and only after both players have picked, they may 'pair' cards for their score.


Each player is required to drop at least one card, but may choose to drop two. Dropping cards to the center follow these rules:

If a player absolutely cannot drop anything from his hand, he may pick ONE card from the stock (i.e. draw the top card of the stock and add it to his hand, without showing it). If he still cannot drop, he must pass.

Also see "Keeping a Hand of Three".


After both players have dropped, they switch hands.


After the switch, each player in proper order, starting with non-dealer can trade in a card from his hand for a pile in the center. The player takes the pile and puts a card from his hand face up in its place. The rules for picking (trading) following similar rules to dropping:

If a player absolutely cannot pick anything up, he may choose to draw ONE card from the top of the stock. If he still cannot pick, he must pass.

A player is free to pass on picking in any or all rounds.


After and only after both players have picked (or passed), they may take pairs of cards of the same rank from their hands and lay them aside to count toward their score. At the end of the game, the person with the greatest number of pairs wins.

Keeping a Hand of Three

Each player can have no less than three cards at any time during the game (except when the stock runs out) and must replenish his cards by drawing replacements from the top of the stock. Hands should be replenished when necessary after dropping cards and after making pairs.

End of the Game

The game ends as soon as someone cannot drop or pick (or runs out of cards) and the stock is depleted. At this point, the opponent may no longer win any pairs



  1. Pairs in the hand by accident. If a player gets a pair in his hand, he may not count that pair toward his score until after he's picked something up. Also, the player is limited to doing this ONCE per round: if the cards that you draw as replenishment after laying out a pair form a new pair in your hand, you cannot immediately lay aside and score the new pair.

  2. Dropping rule. If a player has already dropped one card and his current hand does not allow him to drop more, he cannot draw from the stock and must pass.

  3. Same amount of pairs won. In the event that two players take the same amount of pairs, then the player with the highest four of a kind wins. If no player has four of a kind (unlikely), then the dealer wins if it is an odd date, otherwise the dealer loses.

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Last updated 8th January 2002