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Brucie's Play Your Cards Right Tennis

Contributed by Tom Hawkey , who invented while on holiday in Benidorm, plus a variant contributed by Dominik Lubinski .

Deck: Ordinary 52 card deck

Number of people: 2 or 4 (see "Doubles" below)


  1. Remove all four aces
  2. Deal remaining 48 cards into two piles
  3. Shuffle Two aces into one pile and the other two in the second pile.

Scoring: As with tennis, e.g. love---15---30---40---(deuce)---game

Play: Both players cut their deck for first serve. Highest card serves first.

  1. On a player's serve, they turn the top card of their deck over. If it is an ace, then an Ace has been served and a point is scored. The ace is the placed on the bottom of the server's pile. If any other card is "served", play continues.
  2. The receiver then looks at the card that has been "served" and guesses whether their card will be higher or lower, before turning it over (NB: Keep the respective piles separate, don't play on top of each others cards!). If the guess was correct, the server then makes the same guess, and so on until a point is scored.
  3. If the card turned over is the same as the previous card, (e.g. the server turns a king, the receiver calls lower but turns over another king) then the ball is "up in the air". The opponent then turns over two cards. If the total of the two cards is even (e.g. a two and a ten giving 12) then the ball is smashed back and the point won. If the total is odd (e.g. a seven and a ten giving 17) then the ball is smashed into the Net and the point is lost. (NB: Jacks worth 11, Queens 12, kings 13 and aces 14)
  4. When a point has been played, both players gather up their own pile of face up cards and places them on the bottom of their piles.
  5. After each "game" (in the tennis sense of the word) both players shuffle their decks and serve passes to the next player.
  6. In tennis, the players change ends after the first game, and then every two games afterwards. In "Brucie's play your cards right Tennis", this is achieved by swapping piles after the first game and then every subsequent two games.

Example game:

Player 1 cuts a queen, Player 2 cuts a king, and so player two serves first.

Player two serves a 7, player 1 calls higher and turns over a 6. As player 1 was wrong, player two wins the point. 15--Love

Player two turns an ace, and automatically wins the point. 30--Love

Player two serves a six, player 1 call higher and turns a six also. The ball is up in the air. Player two turns two cards, an Ace and a ten (giving 24) as this is even, player 1 has smashed the ball back and wins the point. 30--15

Player 2 serves a four. Player 1 calls higher, and turns an Ace. Player two calls lower, and turns a king. Player 1 calls lower, and turns a ten. Player two calls lower, and turns a jack. Player 1 wins the point, 30--30

Player two serves an 8, player 1 calls higher and turns another 8. Player 2 turns two cards, a 7 and a 4 giving 11. As this is odd, player 2 has smashed the ball into the net and loses the point. 30--40

Player two serves a queen, player one calls lower and turns a 6. Player two calls higher but turns a 4. Player 1 wins the game. The players then swap piles, shuffle, and it is player 1's service.


(for four players in two teams of two)

As above, but deal four piles and put one ace in each. Play is the same except alternating players return, e.g.:

Players 1 & 2 play players 3 & 4.

1 serves, 3 returns, then 2, then 4, then 1, then 3 etc., etc.


Dominik Lubinski suggests the following improvements.

(Rule a). When serving, a player who does not like the first card drawn may reject it and take a second serve. In this case they must accept the second card.

(Rule b). When returning the ball a player always has two options

  1. Pushing the ball through.  Guessing whether the card is higher or lower as described above.
  2. Go for the winning shot. They player must not only guess whether the card will be higher or lower, but also the suit of the next card. If they guess correctly they score a point immediately and opponent cant respond. If they don’t guess the suit, but the high/low is correct and the colour (red or black) is correct - for example they said Hearts, while Diamonds appeared - play continues as if the ball was pushed through. If the colour is incorrect or the high/low is incorrect, the ball lands in the net and player loses a point.

(New rule g). Three times in each set, each player may call for a challenge if they don’t agree with chair umpire’s decision. Simply, if a player reveals a card and would lose the call of higher/lower, they call for a challenge and may reveal one more card. If they are incorrect again, they lose a point. If they are correct with the second card, there is no point awarded to anyone and play resumes.

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Last updated: 10th March 2016