Pot Black

Contributed by Rob Rutherford

Partnership Game

This game is best for 4 players in fixed partnerships, partners sitting opposite each other. A standard 52-card pack is used and each player begins with 30 chips.

At the start of each deal, each player places an ante of 2 chips in the main pot.

13 cards are dealt to each player.

The cards are played in tricks, using basic whist rules. That is: play in turn, must follow suit if possible, if unable to follow may play any card, highest card of the led suit takes the trick unless trumped. Cards in each suit rank from Ace (high) down to 2 (low).

Trumps change with each deal in a cycle as follows:

  • 1st deal Hearts, 
  • 2nd deal Clubs, 
  • 3rd Diamonds, 
  • 4th Spades, 
  • 5th  No Trumps, 
  • 6th Hearts etc..

Any player taking a trick containing a black ten must pay 3 chips to a side pot for each black ten taken. This is the same whether the black ten is trumps or not.

The team that takes the most tricks takes the main pot and shares it equally between them. Tricks containing black tens do not count towards the team's total.

If the team that took most tricks took no black tens, they also take the side pot and share it between them. However, if the winning team took any trick containing a black ten, the side pot is not won but rolls over to the next deal.

If the two teams tie for the most tricks then both pots roll over to the next deal, and all players place another ante to the main pot as usual.

The game continues until a team runs out of chips, and their opponents are then the winners.

Individual Game

It is possible for four players to play as individuals. The game play, 2 point ante per player and the 3 point penalty per black ten remain the same. The player with most tricks wins the main pot, and the side pot is split equally between the two or three players who did not take black tens in their tricks.

Three players can play by the same rules using a 39 card pack created by removing the 2's, 3's and 4's of all suits plus the 5 of Clubs.