Ace Pit

Contributed by Bill Hurn (

The Principles

The game is named Ace Pit, involves two players (although an even-more-suspect-than-the-original version has been developed for more). In this game, the Ace is the most important card, and is always 'high'.

The players take it turn to deal each hand, initially decided by arguing about who dealt first in the last game. 7 cards are dealt to each player, face down. The players may examine their cards before the commencement of the game. The non-dealer leads the first trick.

The game is 'trick' based. The leading player places one card, of their choice, from their hand. The opposing player plays one of the following sets of cards (with point scoring in parentheses):

  1. 'The Spoon' A single card of the same suit AND of adjacent number to the original card laid (15)
  2. 'The Even Stevens' A single card of the same number as the card laid (20)
  3. 'The Pin' Two cards, of the same suit as each other (but not necessarily of the same suit as the laid card), one of higher number and one of lower number compared to the laid card. (25)
  4. 'The Double Fork' Two cards of the same number as each other (but not necessarily the same number or suit of the laid card). (30)
  5. 'The Ace Pit' An Ace (not necessarily of the same suit as the laid card).
  6. (Only in combination with the previous tricks) 'The Flush' Each card played that is of the same suit as the laid card (this does not apply to straight spoons, see below) (20)
  7. (*) 'The Throw Away' A single card that does not match any of the above (except 6 on its own) - THIS IS MANOEUVRE DOES NOT WIN THE TRICK, unlike 1 to 5. The leader wins the trick and 10 points, but has to lead again.
All of the above trick winning plays can be used in combination (examples later).

The 'Pick-Up' rule: If one of the two card tricks listed is played, that player picks an additional card from the remaining deck so that both players have the same number of remaining cards.

As mentioned above, the non-delaer leads the first trick in a deal. Each subsequent trick, the winner of the previous trick leads. No restriction is placed on the use of the 'Throw Away', so it can be used tactically to preserve more useful cards; it is especially helpful as it forces the other player to lead again.

The Game

The game is played over 11 hands, each of 7 tricks (guaranteed to be 7, due to the pick-up rule). The points are totaled, preferably without the knowledge of the players (this gets complex).

Example Scoring:


  • L) Laid card
  • R) Response
1) 'The Spoon'
L) 8H
R) 9H
15 pts

2) 'The Even Stevens'
L) 6S
R) 6D
20 pts

3) 'The Pin'
L) 5C
R) 3H 9H

4) 'The Double Fork'
L) 8D
R) 3C 3S
30 pts

5) 'The Ace Pit'
L) 9D
50 pts

However, far more points can be scored with combinations:

L) 8H
R) 4H 4S
The Double Fork Flush (30(df) + 20 (fl)= 50 pts)

L) 8H
R) 8S 8C
The Double Fork, Double Even Stevens (30 (df) + 2 * 20 (2 * es) = 70 pts)

L) 8H
R) 4H 10H
The Pin, Double Flush (25 (pin), 2 * 20 (2 * flush) = 65 pts)

L) 8H
R) 7H 10H
The Pin, Double Flush, Spoon (as above + 15 for the spoon = 80 pts)

L) 8H
R) 7H 9H
The Pin, Double Flush, Double Spoon (as above + 15 for another spoon = 95 pts - the most you can get without an ace)

These principals all carry through to using an ace. Therefore:

L) 6H
R) 4H AH
The Ace Pit Pin, double flush (50 (Ace Pit), 25 (pin), 2 * 20 (double flush) = 115 pts)

The Ace Pit Pin, double flush, double spoon (50 (Ace Pit), 25 (pin), 2 * 20 (double flush), 2 * 15 = 145 pts)

L) 6D
The Ace Pit flush (50 + 20 = 70 pts)

The Ace Pit flush spoon (note that the spoon counts - it's not on it's own)

Contentious issues:

What happens when the leading player lays an ace?

We've generally taken it as the player who laid the ace wins an ace pit unless the returning player can play something better then a flush (i.e. Ace pit, double fork, Even Stevens, you can't play a pin).

There are many more, which you will discover if try playing.


The content of this game is the invention of Matthew Maunder and Matthew Stublefield, with the scoring and game structure guessed at by James Candy and Bill Hurn.

This game has been extensively play tested - by some very bored people so it probably doesn't count - and the best hand score is 360 pts and the best game score is 2440.

By the way, the entire game is the result of one very drunk individual attempting to say 'Ice Skate'

Last updated: 12th September 1999