Perevodnoy Durak

Players: 2–4

This is a version of the popular Russian card game Durak in which instead of beating an attack, the defender can transfer it to the next player by playing an equal card. This game works well with 2 players.

Class: Beating games

Related games: Durak (Podkidnoy), Prostoy Durak

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Region: Russia, Ukraine, Belarus


Perevodnoy Durak (Переводной Дурак) is a popular variant of the Russian game Podkidnoy Durak. The name means something like 'transfer fool', and refers to the fact that a defender can transfer an attack to the next player by matching the rank of the attacking card(s).

Players and Cards

Perevodnoy Durak can be played by 2 to 6 players. It works well as a two-player game. The players always play as individuals, not in partnerships, even when there are 4 or 6 players.

A standard French-suited 36-card pack is used, the cards ranking from high to low A-K-Q-J-10-9-8-7-6 in each suit.

Objective, Deal and Play

As in Podkidnoy Durak, the aim is to get rid of cards and the last player holding cards at the end of the game is the loser, otherwise known as the Durak (Fool).

The basics of the deal and play are the same as in Podkidnoy Durak, without the complications of the sequence of play in the end game. Since there are no partners the game just continues clockwise, skipping players who have run out of cards. Please refer to the Podkidnoy Durak page for these rules.

The only difference is that in Perevodnoy Durak the defender has an additional possibility. If the defender has a card of the same rank as the first attack card, the attack can be transferred. The defender plays this equal card and becomes the attacker, attacking the next player in turn with the two equal cards. The new defender in turn can add another equal card and transfer the attack (now of three cards) to the next player, who in turn could add the fourth card and transfer the attack again.

Instead of transferring the attack, defenders always have the option of beating the attack card(s) or picking them up. If you have a trump equal in rank to the attack card it will often be better to use this trump to beat the attack rather than to pass it on. Once an attack card has been beaten, that attack can no longer be transferred: further cards can be thrown in and the defender must continue defending, eventually either beating off the attack or picking up the cards.

It is possible to begin an attack by leading two or more cards of the same rank. The defender can still transfer it to the next player by playing just one more card of that rank.

Also, when transferring an attack, more than one card of the original rank can be added to the attack.

Note, however, that you cannot transfer an attack in such a way that the new defender does not hold sufficient cards to beat it off. Here are two examples:

  1. There are two players: A has two cards and B has five, and the talon is exhausted. A attacks with one card. B cannot transfer the attack with a matching card, because A now has only one card left to defend against this two-card attack.
  2. Again A and B are the two players, this time with three cards each. Hearts are trumps; A has club9, spade9, diamondQ, and B has heart9, spadeQ and diamondA. If A leads one nine, B can transfer the attack and A cannot transfer it again as B now has only two cards, so A must pick up the two nines and B will win. On the other hand A can win by leading both nines at once. B cannot transfer the attack because A has only one card left, and if B beats the two nines with the heart9 and spadeQ, A will win by continuing the attack with the diamondQ.

After a transferred attack, when replenishing the hands the original attacker draws first, then the other attackers in clockwise order, and finally the defender (unless the defender started out as an attacker – sometimes it happens that the attack is passed all the way around the table and the original attacker becomes the defender).


Chris Gillespie learned the following variation in Kiev, Ukraine in 2005. The rules are as above, but after beating the first card(s) of the attack, if further cards are thrown in the defender can transfer those new cards to the next player by playing equal cards. The cards that are already beaten stay beaten, and the maximum number of attack cards is still six, including any already beaten cards.

Example 1. Player A attacks player B with the club9 and the heart9. Player B beats these with the clubJ and the heartK. Player A throws in a Jack and a King. If player B has another jack and another King, B can now play those cards to transfer the attack to the next player C. There are now six cards in the attack (9, 9, J, J, K, K), so no more cards can be thrown in and the attack cannot be transferred further. However, two of the attack cards (the two Nines) have already been beaten, so C has four more cards to beat: two Jacks and two Kings. If C is unable or unwilling to beat these four cards, the alternative is to pick up the eight cards on the table: the four unbeaten attack cards along with the four cards of 'baggage' (the two 9's and the cards that beat them).

Example 2. Player A attacks player B with diamond7 and player B beats it with the diamond10. Other players throw in two more 10's. Player B has the fourth 10 and uses it to transfer the attack to player C. Player C now has three 10's to beat.

Example 3. Player A attacks player B with two 6's which player B beats withan 8 and a 9. Player A throws in a 9 and player B plays a 9 to transfer the attack to C. Player C plays the fourth 9 to transfer the attack to the fourth player D.

Pass Card

In this variation, known in Russian as Perevodnoy durak s proyezdnym (transfer fool with a pass card), if the defender holds a trump of equal rank to the first attack card, the attack can be transferred to the next player by simply showing the trump. The trump does not have to be played: the defender keeps it.

This page is maintained by John McLeod,   © John McLeod, 2018. Last updated: 1st April 2024