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 (Felső), under (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, also known as Tartli - a two-player Jass game using a trick and draw mechanism.
  • Snapszli, also known as Snapszer - similar to Austrian Schnapsen
  • Alsós, also called Vannak, an elaborate game of the Jass family, which 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.

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: 5th May 2020

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