Krypkasino

Introduction

Krypkasino is a variant of Casino in which the objective is reversed. It is a fairly well-known game in Sweden but almost unknown in other countries. The aim is to take as few points as possible, and especially to avoid capturing all the cards from the table, which is known as a tabbe (equivalent to a sweep in Casino). Playing a card which does not capture anything is known as krypa (creeping or crawling) and this gives rise to the name of the game.

My thanks to Martin Sorensson of Bästa Casino Bonus for his help in collecting information about this game and providing the Swedish edition of this page.

Players and Cards

Krypkasino is played by from 2 to 6 players each playing for themselves. With 4 or 6 players it is also possible to play with teams of 2, each player sitting opposite his or her partner, or 6 players could play in two teams of three, each player sitting between two opponents.

Krypkasino uses two standard decks of 52 cards, 104 cards in all, unlike regular Casino which uses only one deck. It is desirable, though not essential, to use two identical decks with the same pattern on the back. Deal and play are clockwise.

For the purpose of capturing, numbered cards have their usual face value. Jacks, Queens and Kings have capture values of 11, 12 and 13 respectively. Aces have a capture value of 14 points when played from a player's hand, but aces on the table have a capture value of 1 point only.

For scoring the important cards are

  • the 10 of diamonds, known as the storan (big one), which is worth 3 points,
  • the 2 of spades, known as the lillan (little one), which is worth 2 points,
  • the aces and the other spades, which are worth 1 point each.

The ace of spades scores 2 points, since it is both an ace and a spade.

All other cards have no scoring value, and the total value of all the cards in the double deck is 42 points. Since the aim is to score as few points as possible, players try to avoid capturing aces, spades and especially the 10 of diamonds.

A player who is forced to capture all the cards from the table scores an extra 5 points penalty points for a sweep (tabbe), but the previous player is rewarded with a balancing score of -5 points for setting up the sweep, so the total number of points in the game is always 42.

Deal

There are various ways to choose the first dealer. For example each player draws a card from the shuffled deck and the player who draws the highest card deals first. As in most kinds of Casino, the cards are dealt in several stages. The dealer shuffles, the cards are cut and a few cards are dealt to the players and some face up to the centre of the table. When the players have played all their cards, more cards are dealt from the remaining deck by the same dealer, and this continues until the whole deck has been used. When all the cards have been dealt and played the game is scored, and the turn to deal passes to the next player to the left.

The number of cards dealt initially varies according to the number of players as follows.

Two players
A batch of three cards is dealt face down to each player and two cards are dealt face up on the table. Then this is repeated so that each player has six cards in hand and there are four cards face up on the table.
Three players
A batch of three cards is dealt to each player, then three cards face up on the table, then a batch of two cards to each player and finally two cards to the table. Each player should have five cards in hand, with five cards face up on the table.
Four players
A batch of three cards is dealt to each player, then two cards face up on the table, then two cards to each player and two cards to the table. All players should have five cards in hand and four cards should be face up on the table.
Five players
A batch of two cards is dealt to each player, then two cards face up on the table. Then this is repeated that each player has four cards in hand and there are four cards face up on the table.
Six players
A batch of three cards are dealt to each player, then two cards face up on the table, then two more cards to each player. Each player should have five cards in hand, and there are just two cards face up on the table.

After all players have played all the cards from their initial hands, the dealer deals each player four more cards: a batch of two each and another batch of two each. No more cards are dealt to the table. After these new cards have been played another four cards each are dealt in the same way. This continues until the whole pack has been used. The number of deals this takes depends on the number of players, as summarised in the following table.

Players Cards in
initial
hand
Table
cards
Cards in
subsequent
hands
Number
of deals
2 6 (3+3) 4 (2+2) 4 (2+2) 12
3 5 (3+2) 5 (3+2) 4 (2+2) 8
4 5 (3+2) 4 (2+2) 4 (2+2) 6
5 4 (2+2) 4 (2+2) 4 (2+2) 5
6 5 (3+2) 2 (2+0) 4 (2+2) 4

Play

Immediately after each deal, all picture cards (jacks, queens and kings) that are face up on the table are put aside. They will be given as a penalty to the player who makes the last capture in the last deal. It is customary to keep these set aside cards in two piles: the spade picture cards (which are worth 1 penalty point each) in one pile and the picture cards of other suits (which do not score) in the other.

After pictures have been removed the play begins. The player to the left of the dealer plays first, and then players take turns in clockwise order around the table. At your turn you must play one card from your hand face up to the table. If the capture value of the played card matches the capture value of any card or set of cards on the table, these cards are captured and placed face down, along with the played card, in front of the player. If the played card does not match anything, it simply remains face up on the table along with the other cards that are there. Playing a card that does not capture anything is called krypa (creeping). Whether the played card makes a capture or not, the turn then passes to the next player.

Unless you are able to clear the table (see tabbe below) you are free to play any of the cards in your hand. Sometimes it is best to creep if possible, but sometimes it can be better to capture some cards, especially if they are worth no points.

If the played card does match a single card or the sum of a set of cards, the player must capture this card or set. If the played card matches more than one card or set of cards, the player must capture all such cards or sets.

Example A. The cards on the table are 8, 9, J. In your hand you have an 8 and a 6. You can creep with the 6, leaving 6, 8, 9, J on the table. If you play your 8 instead, you must capture the 8 from the table. You put the two eights face down in your pile of captured cards and now the table contains only 9 and J.

Example B. The cards on the table are A, 2, 6, 7, 8, 9, J. Again you have 8 and 6 in your hand. Now if you play your 6 you must capture the 6. If you play the 8 you must capture five cards from the table: A, 2, 6, 7, 8 because A+7=8 and 2+6=8 and 8=8. These cards together with the eight you played (six cards in total) go into your capture pile and only the 9 and J remain on the table.

Note that when capturing you may sometimes have several options, in which case you capture whichever cards you consider most advantageous. However, you are not allowed to leave on the table any cards that could have been captured in addition to the cards that you chose to take.

Example C. The cards on the table are 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 10. Suppose you play an ace. An ace played from hand has a capture value of 14 and there are several sets of cards here which add up to 14: 10+4 or 8+4+2 or 5+4+3+2, but since they all involve the 4 you only capture one of them. For example if you choose to capture 10 and 4 that leaves 2, 3, 5, 8 and there is no further combination on the table that adds up to 14. Which set of cards you choose to capture will depend on whether some of the cards are spades and whether the 10 is the storan - you will naturally choose the option that gives you fewest points.

Since an ace has a capture value of 14 in hand and 1 on the table, playing an ace from hand (14) does not capture an ace on the table (1) by itself.

Example D. The cards on the table are A, 4, 6, Q and the cards in your hand are A, 7, J. You could play your 7 capturing the 6+A or your J capturing the 6+4+A but it is better to creep with your ace, which captures nothing at all, since no set of cards adds up to 14. Moreover the cards on the table are now A, A, 4, 6, Q which sets up a tabbe: a queen played by the next player will clear the table.

Tabbe (sweep)

A tabbe (sweep) occurs when a player captures all the cards from the centre of the table, leaving it empty. In Krypkasino, a player who holds a card which can capture everything on the table is obliged to play this card and make the capture. This is known as a tvångstabbe (forced sweep). To keep track of sweeps for the purpose of scoring at the end of the play, the capturing card is put face up in the player's capture pile.

A player who takes a sweep scores extra points, which is good in normal Casino, but bad in Krypkasino. In Krypkasino, there is also a benefit for the player who 'set up' the sweep by leaving the table in a state where all the cards can be captured at once. For each sweep, the player who makes the capture scores +5 points, but the preceding player, the one who set up the sweep, scores -5 points.

It is customary for a player who sets up a sweep to announce it, saying for example 'sweep for a nine' (tabbe på 9) when leaving a just a 5 and a 4 on the table. However if the next player has a 9, he is obliged to play the 9 and take the sweep even if the player who set up the sweep forgot to announce it. Naturally the -5 point bonus for setting up a sweep is awarded only if the sweep actually takes place. If the next player does not have the required card to take the sweep, there is no sweep penalty and no corresponding bonus.

Example E. There is an ace and an eight on the table. The player in turn plays a five and says 'sweep for an ace': since the ace on the table has a capture value of 1, the cards on the table add up to 14 and can all be captured by an ace from the next player.

Example F. There is a two, a six and a five on the table, which is a sweep for a king. The next player does not have a king but does have a three, so creeps with the three and announces 'sweep for an eight'. The following player will have to take these cards (6+2 and 5+3) with an eight if she has one.

Example G. Often a sweep can be set up by capturing cards. On the table you find 3, 5, 9. If you can capture any for these cards you will set up a sweep. Play a 3 to set up a sweep for an ace (9+5), or a 5 to set up a sweep for a queen (9+3) or an 8 to set up a sweep for a nine, or a nine to set up a sweep for an eight, or a queen to set up a sweep for a five, or an ace to set up a sweep for a three. Which you do will depend what cards you have and what you think the next player is most likely to have.

Example H. Occasionally you can set up a sweep that can be taken by either of two different cards. On the table is a jack, a six, a four and a two. If you capture the jack with your jack you can announce 'sweep for a six or a queen', which will succeed if the next player holds either of these cards.

Sometimes the initial deal will set up a sweep: after taking away any picture cards the remaining cards can be captured by playing a single card. In this case the dealer announces the sweep and gets the credit for setting it up if the first player has the appropriate card and is forced to take it.

It can also occasionally happen that all the cards in the initial table layout are picture cards. In this case all are set aside (this does not count as a sweep) and the first player will play to an empty table. In this case the first player will of course hope to set up a sweep by playing a card that the second player can match.

Dubbeltabbe (Double Sweep)

Because Krypkasino is played with a double deck, there are two identical copies of each card. If there is only one card on the table (not an ace) and the next player captures it with the identical card (same number and suit), this counts as a double sweep (dubbeltabbe). The capturing player stores both cards face up and will be penalised 10 points, while the player who set up the double sweep will subtract 10 points when the hand is scored.

Example I. The table contains two cards: heart3 and spade5 - a sweep for an eight. Having no eights, the next player captures the 3 with a 3 and announces 'sweep for a 5'. If the following player has the second spade5 and no other fives in hand, he is forced to take the double sweep. If, on the other hand, the following player has spade5 and diamond5, he can play the diamond instead and suffer only an ordinary sweep.

Capturing a card with an identical card only counts as a double sweep if that was the only card on the table. Clearing the table by capturing an identical card along with other cards is only an ordinary sweep.

Example J. The table contains club4, spade7 and diamondJ (sweep for a jack) and the next player captures these cards with the other diamondJ. Even though the jacks are identical, this is just an ordinary sweep because of the other captured cards. Only one jack is placed face up in the player's capture pile to mark this sweep.

Further Deals and the End of the Play

When all players have played all the cards in their hands, any kings, queens and jacks that are in the centre of the table are removed and added to the pile that will go to the last player who makes a capture, with spades kept separately as in the first deal. Aces and numeral cards that are in the centre of the table remain in place, and the dealer deals four more cards to each player.

Because of the removal of picture cards, it is possible that the table will be empty after the deal even though there was no sweep. It is also possible that removing the picture cards will set up a sweep which must be taken if possible by the next player.

Example K. The cards on the table are 6, 10, jack and king. The dealer plays her last card, which is a 4. Because the jack and king are to be removed when the new cards are dealt, this sets up a sweep for a 10, which the dealer should announce. When the next cards are dealt, if the player to dealer's left is dealt a 10, he will have to take the sweep.

When dealing the final cards from the pack, the dealer should alert the players by saying "last cards" (in Swedish "sistan" - last - or "båt" - boat). When all these final cards have been played, all cards that remain on the table and all the spade picture cards that have been put aside after each deal are added to the capture pile of whichever player was the last to make a capture.

If the dealer's very last card captures all the cards on the table in the normal way it is scored as a sweep. If it captures only some of the table cards no sweep is scored, even though the dealer is also given the remaining table cards for making the last capture.

Scoring

After the last cards have been played, the players' scores are calculated.

It is easiest to begin by scoring the sweeps. Each of the players scores +5 points for each of the face up cards in their captures piles: these cards represent the sweeps that they took. Also each player scores -5 points for each face up card in the capture pile of the player to their left: these cards represent the sweeps they successfully set up.

Example L. There are five players: in clockwise order A, B, C, D and E. A has one captured card face up, B has 3, C has 1 and D and E have none. The scores for sweeps are A: -10 (=+5-15), B: +10 (=+15-5), C: +5, D: 0, E: -5 (for A's sweep).

Note that if everyone has taken a sweep, the scores for them cancel (+5 and -5 for each player). Therefore, to simplify the scoring, if it is noticed during the game that every player has at least one sweep it is customary for everyone to turn one of their sweep cards face down, thus reducing the number of sweeps that have to be counted at the end of the play.

Next each player looks through their captures cards and adds up the value of the scoring cards, which are the diamond10 (3 points), the spade2 and spadeA (2 points each), and all the other spades and aces (1 point each). Each player's points for sweeps and cards is added to their cumulative score. The players' scores for a single game always add up to 42, the sum of all the card values, since the sweep scores exactly balance the set-up scores. This provides a useful check that nothing has been missed.

At the start of a session everyone begins with a score of zero. The players agree how many games to play: this should be a multiple of the number of players so that everyone plays the name number of games as dealer during the session. At the end of the session, the player with the lowest score is the winner, or if playing for money players with more points can pay those with fewer points according to the difference between their scores. Because of the negative score for setting up a sweep, it is possible for a player's score for a game or even her cumulative for the whole session to be negative.

Here is a summary of the scores (where S is the number of sweeps, which varies from game to game):

Item Score Total
diamond10 (storan) 3 6
spade2 (lillan) 2 4
spadeA 2 4
Other spades 1 22
Other aces 1 6
Sweep taken +5 5×S
Sweep set up -5 -5×S
Grand total   42

Tactics

Much of the time it is clearly a good idea to avoid taking in scoring cards by creeping when possible or by capturing cards that do not include aces or spades or the diamond10. Also it is a good idea to get rid of your higher cards (especially aces) early if you can do so cheaply, because when you are down to one or two cards and your play is constrained, these high cards are more likely to capture cards that you do not want, while small cards are more likely to creep. However it is not always best to creep, because scores for sweeps are a crucial part of the game.

Example M. The cards on the table are heart2, club6 and spadeQ. In your hand you have diamond7, spade8, diamondJ, clubK. You could creep with your 7, your jack or your king, but none of these plays achieves anything much. Probably a better idea is to play your eight, capturing the 6 and the 2. You have taken one point, but more importantly you have set up a sweep for a queen. If the next player has a queen the you will get a worthwhile 5-point bonus - maybe even 10 points if he is forced to take it with the other spadeQ.

As in most card games it is good to keep track of what cards have been played, so that you know what cards remain in the pack towards the end of the game and can adjust your play accordingly. It is particularly important to pay attention to the play of your left-hand opponent, so that you can take advantage of the best opportunities to set up a sweep.

Variants

In the two-player game, some prefer to begin by dealing five cards to each player (3+2) and six cards to the table (3+3). There are still 12 deals in each game.

Some players give an extra penalty of one point to the last player who captures cards. In this case the points in each game add up to 43. The reason for playing this variant is that it mirrors the rule on ordinary (Swedish) Casino that the last capture gives a bonus of one point. However, most Krypkasino players consider that the penalty of taking the pile of spade pictures is already enough without the extra point.

Some players increase the penalty of making the last capture by setting aside all the spades from the table after each deal, and giving this pile to the last player who makes a capture. In this variant, pictures in suits other than spades are not set aside but remain on the table after the deal.