Dehla Pakad

This page is based on a contribution from Ankit Bhageria.

Introduction

"Dehla Pakad" (Hindi for "Collect the tens") is a trick-taking card game widely played in India, especially in the north.

Players and Cards

A standard 52 card pack is used, the cards in each suit ranking from high to low A-K-Q-J-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2. There are four players, in two fixed partnerships of two, partners sitting opposite each other. Deal and play are anticlockwise.

Objective

The aim of the game is to win "Kots" by collecting as many tens as possible in tricks. If a team takes four tens they win a "Kot" (or "Coat"). Also the team that takes the majority of tens wins the hand, and if neither side takes all the tens, it is also possible to win a Kot by winning seven consecutive hands.

Deal and Play

For the first hand the dealer is selected by some random method. For subsequent hand the dealer depends on the result of the previous hand - see Winning Kots. The dealer shuffles the deck and deals a batch of 5 cards to each of the four players including himself. After trumps have been determined (see Trump Selection below), he deals all the remaining cards in batches of four - eight more cards to each player.

The player to the right of the dealer leads any card from his hand to the first trick. Players must follow suit if able to; players unable to follow suit may play any card. If any trumps are played, the highest trump wins the trick. Otherwise the trick is won by the highest card of the suit that was led. The winner of the trick does not gather in the cards of that trick (see Taking Tricks below) but does lead to the next trick.

Trump Selection

There are two alternative methods of determining the trump suit, and the players must agree at the start of the session which method they will use.

Method 1. The play begins with each player having just five cards and continues without trumps until some player is unable to follow suit to a lead. When that happens, the suit played by the player who could not follow suit becomes trump for the hand. At the end of the trick in which the trump suit was determined, the dealer deals the remaining cards and play continues.

The trick in which trumps are selected may be won by the player who made trumps, or could be won by some later player who is also unable to follow suit to the lead and plays a higher trump.

In the very rare case where all players follow suit to all five tricks, a card is drawn at random from the played tricks and this determines the trump suit. The dealer then completes the deal and play continues.

Method 1 requires the players to be honest about following suit. If a player were to cheat by making trumps when he could have followed suit, this would be obscured by the subsequent deal of eight cards and could not be proved. Therefore, if the players are not prepared to trust each other, method 2 below must be used.

Method 2. After the first part of the deal, the player to dealer's right selects and announces the trump suit on the basis of his five cards. The remaining cards are then dealt and the trump maker leads any of his thirteen cards to the first trick.

Taking Tricks

A player who wins a  trick does not gather in the cards, but turns the cards of the trick face down in the centre of the table. Cards are only gathered in when the same player wins two consecutive tricks. Until then the cards pile up in centre.

When a player does win two consecutive tricks, that player takes all the cards from the centre (the trick just won and the pile of previous tricks), adds them to his team's face down trick pile, and leads to the next trick.

After a player has won two consecutive tricks and gathered in the cards, the following trick is left in the centre to begin a new pile. So if a player who has just won two consecutive tricks and taken the pile wins the next trick as well, he does not automatically take in the cards from this third trick. He would be able to do so if he also won the following trick.

The player who wins the 13th and last trick takes in this and any cards that have accumulated in the centre, even if he did not win the 12th trick.

Note that it is not possible to  pick up the cards in the centre if two consecutive tricks are won by two different players of a partnership. For example if AC and BD  are two partnerships, 16 Cards (from 4 tricks) are lying in the centre, "Player A" wins a trick and the next trick is won by "Player C", then they can't pick up the 24 cards. But if the next trick is also won by Player C, then he'll  pick up all the 28 cards and team AC will get 7 tricks in their pile.

Winning Kots

The object of the game is to win Kots, and the result of each hand depends on how many of the four tens each team took in their tricks.

  • If a team takes all 4 tens in a hand, they win one Kot. The turn to deal passes to the right if the dealing team won and to the dealer's partner if the non-dealing team won.
  • If non dealer's team takes 2 or 3 tens, they win the hand and the same dealer deals again.
  • If the dealer's team took 3 tens, they win the hand and the turn to deal passes to the right.

The concept of winning the hand is important not only for deciding who deals next, but also because if the same team wins seven consecutive hands they win one Kot.

If a Kot is won by taking all four tens, the number of consecutive hands won is reset to zero.

The players can agree to play for a fixed time duration at the end of which the team with more Kots wins, or they can agree to end the game when either team has won a pre-agreed number of Kots.