Card games in Hungary

Card games in Hungary

Most games use the 32 card German suited pack with picture cards showing characters from the William Tell legend, and the aces depicting seasons of the year. A similar design is used in neighbouring countries, but in Hungary they are known as Magyar Kartya (Hungarian Cards). The suits are hearts (Piros), bells (Tök), acorns (Makk) and leaves (Zöld), and the cards in each suit are ace (Ász), king (Király), over-knave (Felső), under-knave (Alsó), 10, 9, 8, 7. Games with these cards include

  • Ulti - the most popular card game in Hungary. It is related to the Czech game Mariáš
  • Zsírozás (related to the Czech Sedma),
  • Preferánsz (related to Austrian Preference)
  • Lórum - a compendium game with a fixed sequence of contracts
  • Felsős (short for Felsős Kaláber), also known as Tartli, is a Jass game in which the over-knave (Felső) is the highest trump. It is best known as a two-player game using a trick and draw mechanism. A four-player version is played under the name Kláber in the Hungarian town Doroszló in northern Serbia, and as Tátli in Taksony near Budapest.
  • Snapszli, also known as Snapszer - similar to Austrian Schnapsen
  • Alsós (short for Alsós Kaláber) and also known as Vannak, is an elaborate Jass game in which the under-knave (Alsó) is the highest trump. It incorporates some features of Tarokk and was very popular in the first half of the 20th century but seems unfortunately to have died out.
  • Ferbli - an elaborate gambling game in which the players bet on who has the best 4-card hand.
  • Ramsli - trick-taking game with four-card hands in which players who stay in but fail to take a trick have to double the pot.
  • Filkó - a game of the Schafkopf group in which the four Overs are permanent highest trumps.

The French-suited 52-card pack is used for various international games, including versions of Rummy, Hűbéres - the local version of President, and the interesting beating game NLK. In the past there was a Hungarian version of Casino, which is perhaps no longer played. A 36-card French suited pack without the cards 2-5 is used for Asszorti, a relatively straightforward three-player game based on Preferánz but incorporating some ideas from Tarokk.

Tarokk is played in Hungary using a 42 card French suited pack consisting of

  • 22 trumps: Skíz, XXI - I;
  • king, queen, cavalier, jack, ten of the black suits
  • king, queen, cavalier, jack, ace of the red suits

These packs are usually sold with 54 cards, each suit having three additional numeral cards, which are not used. The basic Hungarian Tarokk game is sometimes known as Paskievics or XXas-hívásos Tarokk (call the XX Tarokk). Some more elaborate versions have been devised, such as Illustrated Tarokk (sometimes known as Palatinusz Tarokk).

This page is maintained by John McLeod (john@pagat.com).   © John McLeod, 2000, 2010, 2020. Last updated: 4th June 2021

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