Michigan

Introduction

This game is also known as Boodle, Stops or (in Britain) Newmarket and is suitable for about 3 to 8 players. It is a fairly simple stops game in which the aim is to get rid of your cards first, and to win stakes by playing particular cards.

There is a variation called Three in One in which before the stops part, each player selects 5 cards from their hand and plays a game of Poker with them. That version is also known as Michigan Rummy, though according the books "Michigan Rum" is actually rummy game - a version of 500 Rum.

Cards and Layout

A standard 52 card deck is used. The cards in each suit rank from lowest to highest: 2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-J-Q-K-A.

During the game stakes are placed on a layout. This can be a board or cloth, or can be made by laying out cards from a second deck on which the stakes are placed. The layout consists of areas representing the following cards:

ace of hearts king of clubs queen of diamonds jack of spades

These are sometimes called the pay cards or boodle cards.

Placing Stakes and Dealing

Before the deal, the dealer places two chips on each boodle card and the other players put one chip on each.

The deal is clockwise, and the turn to deal passes to the left after each hand. The dealer deals one hand to each player and one spare hand. All of the cards are dealt out one at a time; some players will have one card more than others, but this does not matter. The players look at their cards, and the spare hand is left face down and not used in the game.

The Play

All plays are made by placing a card face up on the table in front of you. The different players' cards are not mixed together but are kept in front of the person who played them until the end of the play.

The person to the left of the dealer begins. They can play any suit, but must play the lowest card they hold in that suit. Whoever has the next higher card of the same suit must now play it, followed by the holder of the card after that, and so on until either the ace is reached or no one can play because no one holds the next higher card of the suit (it might be in the spare hand or have been played earlier). A card which no one can follow, because no one has the next higher card in that suit, is called a stop card.

The last person who played a card (the ace or the stop card) now starts again. Again they can play any suit but must play the lowest card they hold in that suit.

During the play, anyone who manages to play a card which matches one of the boodle cards takes all the chips on that card.

As soon as any player runs out of cards, the play ends. All the other players must pay one chip for each card remaining in their hand. The player who ran out of cards collects all of these chips.

Any chips remaining on the layout stay there for the next hand.

Variations

Free placement of chips
Some play that at the start of the hand you must put a fixed number of chips on the layout (say 6), but you can distribute them as you like among the boodle cards. For example you could put all 6 chips on one card if you wanted to. As this happens before the deal, there is of course no way of knowing which cards are the best investment.
Dealer exchanges or auctions the spare hand
Some play that if you are the dealer, after you have dealt and looked at your cards, you have the option of exchanging your hand for the face down spare hand. You are not allowed to look at the spare hand before deciding to exchange. Alternatively, if you do not want to exchange, you can auction the unseen spare hand to the highest bidder. The person (if any) who buys the spare hand discards their own original hand face down and pays the dealer in chips the amount bid for the spare hand.
Compulsory change of suit
Some play that when starting again after a stop or and ace, you must if possible play a card of a different suit from the one that was just played. If you can't play a different suit, there are two views as to what happens:
  1. If you have no option, you can play the same suit.
  2. If you have nothing but cards of the suit that was just played, the turn to play passes to the next player to your left. If no one has any other suit the play ends at this point, and there is no payment for the cards players have left in their hands.

Michigan Rummy / Three in One

In this game, after the deal but before the actual Michigan, each player selects five of their cards and plays a round of Poker with them. The stake layout is also somewhat different from the normal Michigan / Boodle layout. See the Three in One page for details.