Rules of Card Games: Dureń Piątkowy - Warsaw variant

Dureń Piątkowy

Warsaw Go Players' Version


I learned this game from a group of Go players in Warsaw in 1981. They called it Dureń Piątkowy, which means something like "5 card idiot" or "fool five", but several other people have since told me that Dureń Piątkowy is really just the Polish name for the game that in Russia is called Prostoy Durak. This game is a mixture of that and the game known in Poland just as Dureń (idiot) and in Russian as Podkidnoy Durak. It is therefore likely that the game described on this page was invented in Warsaw, maybe by the group of players from which I learned it, by either accidentally or deliberately combining the features of two games. Since then, I have not come across anyone else who knows this version of the game.

Cards and Players

This game is for any number of players. I would say it is best for about 3 - 6. An ordinary 52 card pack is used. If there are a lot of players, two or more identical packs can be shuffled together. Cards rank as usual: A(high) K Q J T 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2(low). The game is played clockwise.


To get rid of all your cards.

Deal and trumps

The dealer deals 5 cards to each player, a batch of 3 cards each and then 2 cards each. The next card determines the trump suit and is placed face up on the table. The remaining undealt cards (stock) are placed face down, crosswise on top of the trump.

The play

The play consists of a series of attacks. During each attack, one player is the principal attacker. The player to the left of the principal attacker is the defender. The remaining players may also help attack the defender. For the first attack, the player to the left of the dealer is the principal attacker. After each attack, the turn to attack rotates clockwise, so that the previous defender becomes the new principal attacker.

Each attack consists of a number of phases. This works as follows:

First phase of an attack:

The principal attacker leads a number of cards, by placing them face up on the table. The number of cards led must be at least one, and cannot be more than the number of cards held by the defender. Any single card may be led. If an even number of cards is led, they must all be pairs (examples of legal leads are: 4 4 7 7 or 5 5 5 5 - which would count as two pairs of 5s). If an odd number of cards is led, they must consist of pairs plus an extra card (for example: 4 4 7 7 6, or 2 2 8, or 9 9 6 6 6 - counting one of the sixes as the extra card - would be legal).

The defender may now try to beat the led cards. To beat each individual non-trump card requires a higher card of the same suit or a trump; if a trump was led it can only be beaten by a higher trump. The defender plays the appropriate cards face up on top of the cards they are beating.

If the defender can beat all the led cards in this way, the defender has won the first phase. If the defender still has one or more unplayed cards, the attack now proceeds to the second phase. If all the defender's cards were used in beating the led cards, the defender has successfully beaten off the attack. All the cards played by the attacker and the defender are set aside and play no further part in the game.

If the defender cannot or does not wish to beat all the led cards, the attacker has won. The cards which were led are to be added to the defender's hand, but are temporarily kept face up on the table in front of the defender.

Second and subsequent phases of an attack:

If the defender has won the previous phase, but is still holding cards, the attack enters a new phase. Starting with the principal attacker, followed by the player to the defender's left, and proceeding clockwise, each player (except the defender) may continue the attack by leading one or more cards. The restriction now is that each card led must be of the same rank as one of those used by the defender to beat the previous phase of the attack. The total number of cards led by the attackers during the phase must not be more than the number of cards remaining in the defender's hand.

If the attackers do not manage to lead any cards to this phase (for example because they do not hold any cards of the ranks the defender used in the previous phase), the defender has beaten off the attack, and all the cards played during the attack are discarded.

Otherwise, when all the other players have had a chance to lead, the defender may now try to beat this phase of the attack, in a similar way to the first phase, beating each card led with a higher card of the same suit or a trump. If the defender beats all the cards led, the defender has won this phase. If the defender has now run out of cards the attack has been beaten off, and all the cards played in it are discarded. If the defender still has cards, the attack proceeds to the next phase.

If the defender cannot or does not wish to beat all the cards led in this phase, the attacker has won. All the cards played by the defender in earlier phases of the attack are taken back and replaced in the defender's hand. Then all the cards led in all phases of the attack are placed face up in front of the defender.

Replenishing hands from the stock

At the end of each attack, if the stock is not exhausted, all players with fewer than 5 cards remaining must draw sufficient cards from the stock to bring their hands up to five cards. The principal attacker draws first; then the defender; then the other players in rotation.

The turned up trump card is the last card of the stock. Once this card has been drawn, no further replenishment is possible, and players continue with whatever number of cards they happen to have.

Beginning a new attack:

The previous defender becomes the new principal attacker. Cards lying in front of the attacker as a result of having lost the previous attack cannot be used as part of the lead in the first phase of the new attack. However, immediately after the lead to the first phase, these cards must be picked up and added to the principal attacker's hand. They may be led in the second and subsequent phases.

Exchanging the turned up trump

If you hold the 2 of trumps, then at your turn to replenish you may swap the 2 of trumps for the turned up trump at the bottom of the stock, provided that:

  • there is at least one other card remaining in the stock, besides the turned up trump, and
  • you have successfully beaten off an attack at some time during the current deal.

Result of the game, and scoring

Play continues until at the end of an attack there is one or more players who have run out of cards and cannot replenish their hands because the stock is exhausted. Each player who still has cards left at the end pays one stake per card held, and this amount is given to the winner, or divided equally between the winners if there is more than one.

This page is maintained by John McLeod (   © John McLeod, 1995, 2000, 2010. Last updated: 18th November 2010