Sab’at Al-Deemin

Introduction

The Saudi game Sab’at Al-Deemin (سعبة الديمن), meaning '7 of diamonds' is related to the Anglo-American game known as Fan Tan or Sevens, but is played as a partnership game with enhanced scoring and using a 32-card pack in which Sevens are the lowest cards. The object is to get rid of all one's cards by playing them to a layout, with each suit played in an ascending pile beginning with the Seven and ending with the Ace.

This page is based on information from Fahid Alharbie, passed on to me by Sultan Ratrout.

Players and Cards

The game is for four players in fixed partnerships, each player sitting opposite their partner and between their two opponents.

A 32-card pack is used, made by removing all the 2's, 3's, 4's, 5's, 6's and Jokers from a standard international deck. The cards in each suit rank A-K-Q-J-10-9-8-7.

Deal and play are anticlockwise.

Deal, Doubling and Trebling

Any player may deal first, and the turn to deal passes to the right after each hand. The dealer shuffles thoroughly and the player to dealer's right may cut. The dealer deals all the cards, anticlockwise one card at a time or in batches of two or more cards at a time as the dealer wishes, starting with the player to dealer's right.

After the players have looked at their cards, and before the play begins, the following actions are possible.

  1. Any player who has three Kings or three Aces has the right to demand a redeal. The player may consult their partner before exercising this right.
  2. A player may announce 'double' in which case all the scores for the hand are doubled.
  3. If a player has announced 'double', either of their opponents may respond by announcing 'treble', in which case the score for the hand is trebled instead of doubled.

Play

After checking that anyone who wants to demand a redeal or double or treble the scores has had an opportunity to do so, the player who holds the 7 of diamonds begins the play by placing this card face up on the table.

The play continues anticlockwise. Each player in turn must if possible play one card to the layout. This must either be:

  • the next higher card of a suit that is already on the table, played on top of the pile for that suit - for example the 8 of diamonds can be played on the 7, then a later player can play the 9 on the 8 and so on, or
  • the 7 of a new suit, played on the table to begin the pile for that suit.

In this way four piles are built, one for each suit, with the cards in ascending order.

A player who has no card that can be played must pass, which may be done by knocking on the table. The turn passes to the next player. Note that it is illegal to pass when holding a card that could have been played.

A player who has only one card remaining in hand must warn the other players immediately after playing their second to last card.

Scoring

As soon as a player plays their last card to the layout, their team wins the hand. The play ends immediately and the winning team scores as follows.

  • For each Ace remaining in the hands of the losing team: 20 points.
  • For each King, Queen and Jack remaining in the hands of the losing team: 10 points.
  • If the winner ended the play by playing a 7 as their last card: 200 points.

If any player announced 'double', the above scores are doubled: 40 for an Ace, 20 for a court card, 400 for ending with a 7.

If any player announced 'double' and one of their opponents replied 'treble', the scores are trebled. A: 60, K Q J: 30, ending with a 7: 600.

Note that there is no score for any unplayed 10's, 9's, 8's or 7's, and no score for any unplayed cards held by the winner's partner.

Penalties

If a player breaks the rules and this is pointed out before the hand is scored, the opposing team immediately scores a fixed penalty of 100 points (not affected by doubling or trebling). This penalty is scored if:

  • a player passes while holding a card that could have been played;
  • a player plays a card of the wrong suit to a pile - for example the 10 of clubs on the 9 of spades;
  • a player plays a card to a pile that is not the next in sequence - for example the 9 of hearts on the 7 of hearts;
  • a player plays a card out of turn;
  • a player with only one card fails to warn the other players before the next player has had their turn;
  • a player makes any comment or gesture indicating to their partner a card that they hold or suggesting which card they would like partner to play.

The error must be corrected if possible and the play continues. If an error is not noticed until after the hand has been scored, there is no penalty.

Winning

The first team whose cumulative score reaches 500 or more points wins the game.

This page is maintained by John McLeod, john@pagat.com   © John McLeod, 2021. Last updated: 10th May 2021

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