Contributed by Matthew Allen
Although this game has a similar mechanism to Chase the Ace (or Cuckoo), the different structure in which everyone plays and bets against the dealer makes it quite different from that game.
You can play with 4-52 people, and a normal 52-card deck without Jokers is used. The cards rank from high to low K-Q-J-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-A. One player is chosen as the matador - a dangerous but highly rewarding position to be in. Normally, the arranger of the competition is the first matador, in order to show the others gratitude for joining them.
The cards are shuffled and one card is dealt to each player. The matador is the last player to receive a card. If you are betting, all bets are placed after the cards have been dealt and everyone has looked at their card.
Players place their bets in clockwise order around the table, beginning with the player to the matador's left. All bets are placed against the matador, predicting whether the matador will be knocked out or will go through to the next round of the game. There is no minimum or maximum bet, but each bet in turn must be agreed by both the matador and the better: if either of them is not happy, the bet must be rearranged.
When all bets have been agreed, the person to the left of the matador must decide whether to keep his card or exchange it with the player to his left. If he chooses to swap, the player to the left must swap cards with him. Then the second player, who now either has the first player's original card if the first player decided to swap, or still has his own card if the first player kept his card, must decide whether to swap with the following player. This continues around the table. Each player in turn has just one decision: either to swap with the next player or to keep the card he has.
Play continues clockwise until everybody but the matador has played. The matador takes no turn. He is at the complete mercy of the other players - if the player to the right of the matador chooses to swap, the matador gets the card that player gives him; if not the matador has to keep the card he was originally dealt.
Then the following things happen:
- The matador places his card face up on the table.
- If anyone has a card that is lower than (not equal to) the matador's card, they must place it face up on the table.
- If there are any Aces faces up on the table, anyone who has a card of the same suit as a face up Ace must place their card face up on the table.
- If any player other than the matador has put down a card those players are eliminated from the next round, while the matador survives and collects all bets (including the bets of those who did not put down a card).
- If no player other than the matador puts down a card, the matador is knocked out and must pay all bets. All other players survive for the next round.
Example: the players' final cards are
- player A (matador): A
- player B: 9
- player C: A
- player D: 7
The matador lays down the Ace of clubs. No one has a lower card, but because of A's Ace, B has to lay down the 9 of clubs. B is knocked out and everyone else survives and player A collects all bets. Player A survives because another player (B) was knocked out. Player C survives because his Ace is equal to (not lower than) A's Ace, and therefore D survives because C did not lay down his Ace. If A's card had been the Two of clubs instead of the Ace, C and D would have been knocked out and A and B would have survived. If A's card had been the Ace of diamonds instead of clubs, no one other than A would have put down a card: the matador A would therefore have been knocked out while everyone else survived.
Irrespective of whether the matador survives or not, for the next round the turn to be matador passes to the nearest surviving player to the right of the previous matador.
Further rounds are played, with only the survivors from each round taking part in the next, until there is only one player left in the game.