Illustrated Hungarian Tarokk: Example Deal 4

contributed by Révész Gábor

The XXI caught from behind




Card distribution after the exchange

The discard

A: III, VI, VIII, XVII, XIX, skíz, club10, K, diamondAdiamondC
B: IIII, VII, XI, XV, XVI, XVIII, XXI, diamondK, heartKclubJ, diamondQ (declarer)
C: I, II, XII, XIV, clubC, Q, heartC, spade10, CdiamondJ, heartQ
D: V, IX, X, XIII, XX, heartJ, spadeJ, Q, KheartA


    B: Hívom a XX-ast, passz(I call the XX, pass)
    C, D, A: Passz(Pass)

The play



  1. A picked up the skíz from the talon. Before the bidding C had two tarokks. He bid in order to get two cards from the talon instead of one. This hand was played under the variant rule that after discarding tarokks a player can still annul the hand with a singleton pagát; C would have been able to do this if he had drawn at least one suit card from the talon. In any case it is fairly safe for C to bid in this position, as B will have to hold unless he is able to yield the game.
  2. Since there was no sign of it from the bidding, the players did not expect a XXI-catch.
  3. B had a strong hand, so he decided to outlast the skíz by drawing tarokks. His partner, D cooperated with this plan as he was expected to, and led a tarokk to trick 3. He keeps back his lowest tarokk, the V, trying unsuccessfully to avoid winning a trick later with his last tarokk, and being forced to lead a suit.
  4. A decided to try to make B believe that C held the skíz. By leading suit cards, A was not only trying to preserve his own tarokks, but also C's. If C runs out of tarokks too soon, the situation will become clear to B and the XXI will comfortably walk away. C reinforced the illusion that he held the skíz, for example by playing the XII under his partner's XIX instead of saving his pagát. As a result of the deception B dared not play the XXI on any of the tricks (1, 3, 4, 7) when he could actually have saved it.


Value of cards taken by declarer's team: 47 points

      Lost game (two): -2 points
      Silent XXI-catch: -21 points
      Total: -23 points


Could not B have suspected that the player after him was really a bluffing pagát? The answer is yes, because if C had had the skíz during the bidding, he would have probably bid "one". However it was still possible that C could have picked up the skíz from the talon, just as A did.

Anyway, for such a bluff quick judgement and a poker face are necessary. If the player who is pretending to have the skíz thinks too long before putting his card under the XXI's tarokk, the always wary XXI can smell which way the wind is blowing.

This page is maintained by John McLeod (   © John McLeod, 1998. Last updated: 16th October 1998

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