The goal of Wall Street is to win the most points by gaining Investors, gathering Preferred Stock, and Common Stock, and by making "Takeovers."
Players and Cards
Wall Street may be played by 2, 3, or 4 players. Each player plays individually, i.e., there are no partnerships. The play goes clockwise around the table. A standard pack of cards is used, with the 7s, Jacks, Queens, and Jokers removed, leaving 40 cards. Each card is worth its face value during the play, except for the kings which are called "Investors" and which are worth 7 during the play. The diamond cards (excluding the diamond Investor) are called "Preferred Stock." The rest of the cards (excluding the 4 Investors) are called "Common Stock."
Choose a dealer, who then shuffles the cards. The dealer's left hand opponent then cuts the deck. The Dealer deals three cards face down to each player, moving clockwise around the table. The Dealer then deals four cards, face up, onto the middle of the table. If there are more than two 10's in the middle, the cards are thrown in and a new deal takes place.
The player to the dealer's left plays first, and the turn to play passes clockwise, until all of the cards in the players' hands have been played. A turn consists of playing one card face up to the table, which may capture one or more table cards. In the event of a capture, both the played card and the captured card(s) are taken and stored face down next to the player in his "Fund." If there is no capture, the played card remains face up on the table. In either case, the turn then passes to the next player.
If the value of the card played matches that of the table card, then the table card is captured and put into the player's Fund. If the card played matches more than one table card, then only one of the matching table cards is captured and placed in the Fund, and the player must choose which. If the card played does not match any table card, but its capture value is equal to the sum of the captured cards' values, then the set of cards is captured and placed in the Fund. If the capture value of the card played does not match any table card or sum of table cards, then there is no capture and the played card remains face up on the table.
There is no obligation to play a card which makes a capture. If a player has more than one card in his hand, he may choose to play a card which does not capture anything and simply add that card to the table. If the played card does make a capture, the captured cards must be taken. If a card matches both a single card and a sum of cards, the single card must be taken, not the group.
After each player has played all 3 cards in his hand, that round is over, and the dealer deals three more cards to each player. In the final round, after all the cards from the players' hands have been played, the last player who made a capture also takes any face up cards remaining on the table.
There are three points available to be won on each deal:
- The Investors. A point is won by whichever player takes the plurality of the 4 Investors (i.e. more investors than any other single player). If there is no plurality (two or more players tie for most investors), this point is not awarded.
- The Preferred Stock. A point is won by whichever player takes the plurality of the Preferred Stock (the diamonds, excluding the diamond Investor, which leaves 9 cards). If there is no plurality, this point is not awarded.
- The Common Stock. A point is won by whichever player takes the plurality of the 27 Common Stock cards. If there is no plurality, this point is not awarded.
In addition to the points mentioned above, you also win a point for each Takeover. You score a Takeover when you play a card which captures all of the table cards, leaving the table empty. The capturing card is placed face up in the Fund, so that the number of Takeovers can easily be seen when the scoring is done at the end of the play. Taking the last cards from the table at the end of a hand never counts as a Takeover, even if the last card played by the dealer does actually capture all the remaining table cards.
Winning the Game
The first player to win 10 or more points at the end of a hand wins. If two or more players win 10 points in the same hand, the player with the most points wins. If they are equal, those two players play another hand to determine the winner (and the other player(s) do not play in this extra round).
Although the game is similar to Scopa, the point system changes the strategy needed to win. A player should count the investors and preferred/diamond stock and common stock as they are taken. Once a majority of any category is taken, there is no value in trying to capture those cards during the play. Thus, a savvy player will be aware once 5 diamond cards have been taken, and focus on capturing common cards or investors, allowing the less skilled player to take the remaining diamonds. As such, remembering which cards have been captured is much more important than in Scopa, where cards count toward different points (i.e., capturing the 7 of diamonds in Scopa counts as a point by itself, and contributes toward getting the prime point, the diamonds point, and the point for most cards). In Wall Street, there is no point for gaining the diamond Investor, so no single card has pre-eminent value, thus reducing slightly the extent to which luck affects the game.