Contributed by Florent Barraco

Nil is an trick avoidance game whose goal is to be the first player to make a nil (lose every trick).

Equipment: a deck of 52 standard playing cards.

Number of players: four


At the beginning of the game every player has 0 points

The game is played clockwise. The dealer deals 13 cards to each player.

The player to the dealer's left leads to the first trick. There are no trumps in this game, and classic trick taking rules apply: aces are high, twos are low, players must follow suit if they can, the highest card of the suit led wins the trick, the winner leads to the next trick.

The goal of of every player is to make a nil. Play continues until every player has taken at least one trick or until all the cards are played.

The play ends as soon as the last player who did not previously have a trick takes one. In this case no one has a nil, and everyone has to pay one point to the pool for each trick that they won. Then the cards are shuffled, the turn to deal passes to the left, and the cards are dealt again.

If all the cards are played and exactly one player has made a nil (taken no tricks in that hand), this collects all the points from the pool - the points that were paid for tricks in previous hands.

If three players made nils that mean that the fourth player made a slam. In that case it's the player that made a slam who win all the points from the pool.

If two players made nils, they split the pool between them, or if this is not possible, there is a new deal to all four players and the winner is whichever of these two players is not first to take a trick.

The loser of the game is the player with the lowest number of points at the end of the game. He has to crawl under the table.

If a player wins with a nil or a slam in the first hand, he achieved a perfect game and the 3 other players all have to crawl under the table.

Last updated: 16th March 2010