Invented by Ali Safaaei . Description revised and clarified according to suggestions from Jonathan Norris.


Nestors is a trick taking card game. There is an auction in which the player who bids most points gains certain advantages in the play, but must score at least this many points to avoid a penalty.


There are four players in two fixed partnerships. Partners sit facing each other and the game is played anticlockwise.


The game uses a 36-card deck, made from a standard 52-card deck by removing all 2s, 3s, 4s, and 5s.

In each deal, either Aces, Jacks or Tens are trump. The cards of each suit are ranked from high to low as follows:

Trump (A, J or 10), (A), K, Q, (J), (10), 9, 8, 7, 6


Some of the cards have point values as follows.

  • Each trump is worth 15 points.
  • If the trump is Aces, each Jack: 10 points, and each Ten: 5 points.
  • If the trump is Jacks, each Ace: 10 points, and each Ten: 5 points.
  • If the trump is Tens, each Ace: 10 points, and each Jack: 5 points.
  • Each trick is worth 5 points.
  • The partnership that takes the majority of the spade cards in tricks scores 10 points.

In this game, although there are four players, each trick consists of only 3 cards. There are 12 tricks, so the total number of points is 190, made up of 120 for the Aces, Jacks and Tens, 60 for the tricks and 10 for the spades.


One of the players flips one card to each player anticlockwise. The first player to receive a 6 becomes the first Dealer. For subsequent hands, the dealer will be the bidder from the previous hand.

The dealer shuffles and the player on the dealer's left has the right to cut the deck.

First, the dealer deals a row of 4 cards to the table; one face down and 3 face up. Then each player is dealt a batch of 5 cards face down.

The player on the dealer's right is the first bidder who has received the first 5 cards. After looking their hands, each player, starting with the player on the dealer's right, bids a number (a multiple of 5) representing the number of points he hopes his team will be able to win. Each bid must be higher than the previous one, and a player who does not wish to bid can pass.

The bidding continues around the table for as many circuits as are needed until three players have passed. A player who has passed cannot bid on a later round.

The highest bidder then declares the trump on the basis of his 5 cards: trump can be Aces or Jacks or Tens. He then adds the one face down card on the table to his hand. He also will be the next dealer.

After this, each player is dealt a further batch of 3 cards, so that the bidder has 9 cards, the other players have 8 cards each and 3 cards remain face up on the table.


The highest bidder leads one of his 9 cards, with which he takes two of the face up cards from the table. These cards make up the first trick, which is automatically won by the bidder.

The second trick is begun by the final face up card on the table, which is treated as though it were led by the bidder. The player to the bidder's right and the bidder's partner play the second and third cards to this trick, and the player to the bidder's left leads to the third trick.

Play continues in rotation in this way, each trick consisting of three cards played by consecutive players, the player of the third card being the partner of the player of the first. The leader for each trick is the player who did not play to the previous trick.

Winning and losing tricks

Each trick is made up of cards from 3 players (player A, player B, and player C).

Player A, the leader, can play any card from his hand and the second player B is also free to play any card. The card played by A's partner C is constrained as follows:

  1. If the suit of A's and B's cards is the same and C has a card of this suit, C must either play a card of this suit or a trump. If C has no cards of the suit played by the first two players, C may play any card.
  2. If the suits of A's and B's cards are different, and C has any cards in other suits two suits, C must either play a third different suit or a trump. If all C's cards are in the suits played by A and B, C may play any card.

Which team wins the which depends partly upon whether C is able to comply with the suit constraint.

  1. If C complies with the suit constraint and any trumps are played, the trick is won by the last trump played to it.
  2. If C complies with the suit constraint and there are no trumps in the trick, the highest-ranked card of any suit wins, an earlier equally-highest-ranked card beating a later.
  3. If C does not comply with the suit constraint, the trick is automatically won by B and D except in two cases:
    1. if the only trumps present were played by the A/C partnership, A and C win the trick;
    2. if B plays a trump and C plays a trump in a different suit from the first two cards of the trick, A and C win the trick (i.e. if the trick goes: plain card, trump of that same suit, second trump, A and C win)

Examples where "Jacks" are the trump:

  • if the first player plays spade10 and the 2nd player plays diamondJ, the 3rd player can only win the trick by playing clubJ or heartJ, but NOT with the spadeJ.
  • if the first player plays spade10 and the second player plays spadeJ, the third player can win by playing any other jack.

After A, B and C have played a trick, the fourth player D now leads to the next trick, becoming in effect the 'A' for that trick.


At the end of the game, if the highest bidder and his partner win at least as many points as were bid, each team scores the points they took in tricks.

If the bidder's team win fewer points than the bid, they lose the number of points they bid and the other team wins the points they took in tricks.

For example: if the highest bidder bids 120 points, and at the end of the current game he and his partner have won 115 points, they receive -120 points; and the other team receives +75 ( 190 - 115 = +75 ) points. If they win 130 points, they receive these 130 points and another team wins the remaining 60 points.

The game continues until one or both teams reach or pass +1000 or -1000 points. The first team to take +1000 points or more becomes the winner. If both teams reach 1000 or more in the same deal, the team that bid on the last deal wins. If either team reaches -1000 points or worse, that team loses.

Last updated: 2nd June 2011