A fairly simple trick-taking game which implies lots of strategy and uses the ability to play your cards right quite often. Contributed by Drew Brokke (DrewDaMan8@aol.com)

Players and Cards

3-5 Players (but 4 is the best). For a 3 player game, take out the three of a non-trump suit, and two non-trump threes if it is a five player game.

The Object

The object of Yacht is to be the first to 500 points (or 1000 for a longer game) by getting as close as you can to a target number.

Before the Deal

Draw a card from the middle of the deck. The suit that turns up is the trump suit.

The Deal

The dealer deals out all the cards, one by one in a clockwise rotation, to everyone including himself. Pulling out cards for three and five player games evens up the number of cards to each player.

The Bid

The bid is when you choose a number which you start at and a number which you want to end up at. The way the numbers work is that you start at the start number, and for each trick you take, you go up one, and for each trick you don't, you go down a number, thus at the end of all the tricks, you want to be as close to your goal number as possible. Also, you can bid dangerously and bid Thirteen Under, which means you don't want to take any tricks, or you can bid Lucky Thirteen Under, which is the same thing as above, except a bigger payoff for success and a bigger penalty for failure.

The Play

Whoever has the two of clubs (or diamonds if the clubs are trump) leads first. You must follow suit if you can. The highest card in the suit takes the trick, unless a trump is played. A trump can only be played when a player does not have the lead suit, so he can play either a trump card or another which he wants to throw away. If he decides to play trump, then they are now "broken", and they can be led now, whereas, they couldn't be led before they were broken. Trump beats all, even the Ace of the suit that was led, except for a higher trump card.


Scoring depends on how close you are to your goal number:

Lucky Thirteen Under: 100 points+50 goal points+200 L.T.U. bonus points
Failure: no points and -200
Thirteen Under: 100 points+50 goal points+100 T.U. bonus points
Failure: no points and -100
0-away (from goal number): 100 points
1: 90 points
2: 80 points
3: 70 points
4: 60 points
and so on...( no negatives except for special bid penalties)

Three Tips

Here are three things to keep in mind when playing Yacht:

  1. The number of overall tricks in a hand changes with the number of players. With three players, there are 17 tricks, with four players there are 13 tricks, and with five players there are only 10 tricks, so bid accordingly.
  2. It is much easier to lose tricks than to gain them, so it is usually a bad idea to have your start number under your goal number, unless you have really high non-trumps and lots of trumps.
  3. Get rid of one of your non-trump suits as soon as you can so that you can trump in for at least one suit (you don't want to go over over your goal number).
Last updated: 13th September 1999