3-2-5

This page is based on information from Anwar Mustafa, David Nijjar, Alan Trangmar and several web pages.

Introduction

The card game 3-2-5 (Teen Do Panch), also sometimes known as 2-3-5 or 5-3-2 is played in India, Pakistan and Nepal using a pack of 30 cards. The three players have quotas of 3, 2 and 5 tricks, and those who win more than their quota have the advantage in the next deal of stealing or 'pulling' cards from those who were short of their quota. 3-2-5 is closely related to the 52-card game Sergeant Major, which is also known as 3-5-8 or 8-5-3.

Note on terminology. As in many South Asian games, in 3-2-5 the word "hand" is often used to mean what Western card players call a "trick" - i.e. a set of cards, one card played by each player in succession, which is won by the best card played. This can be confusing as the word "hand" has other meanings - it can also refer to the set of cards held by one player or the period of play from one deal to the next. Therefore on this page I use Western term "trick" rather than "hand" for a set of cards, one played by each player.

Players, Cards and Objective

There are three players. Deal and play are usually counter-clockwise.

A 30-card pack is used, made from a standard 52-card pack by throwing out all the cards from 2 to 6 and two of the Sevens. Usually it is the Sevens of hearts and spades that are kept in the pack. The cards in each suit rank from high to low A-K-Q-J-10-9-8-(7).

Each player has a quota of tricks. The dealer tries to win at least 2 tricks, the player to dealer's right, who plays first and chooses trumps, tries to win at least 5 tricks and the third player, to dealer's left, tries to win at least 3.

Deal

The first dealer is chosen by any convenient method. One neat idea is to take a 5, a 3 and a 2 from the discarded part of the pack, mix them face down and let each player draw one. Whoever gets the 2 is the dealer, the player with the 5 sits to dealer's right and the player with the 3 sits to left, so that their initial trick quotas correspond to the cards they drew. Subsequently the turn to deal passes to the right for each new deal.

The dealer shuffles, the player to dealer's right cuts, and the dealer deals a batch of 5 cards to each player, first to the right, then to the left, then to dealer. The player to dealer's right chooses and announces the trump suit. After this the dealer deals a batch of three cards to each player in the same order and then a batch of two to each, so that each player has 10 cards.

Pulling Cards

In the second and subsequent deals of a session, players who took more than their quota of tricks in the previous deal can try to improve their hands by taking cards from players who took fewer tricks than their quota.

In the very first deal of a session or if everyone made exactly their quota of tricks in the previous deal there is no pulling of cards: everyone plays with the 10 cards they were dealt.

In the second and subsequent deals, players who made more than their quota of tricks in the previous deal are entitled to steal cards from opponents who were under quota. One card is stolen for each trick above quota and one card must be given up for each trick under quota.

The player who was under quota fans out their hand of 10 cards face down and the over quota player chooses a card (without knowing what it is) and takes it without showing it to the third player. The over quota player then selects an unwanted card to give back face down to the under quota player. There are two restrictions:

  • the over quota player cannot returned the same card that they just took,
  • the over quota player must retain at least two cards in the suit of the returned card - in other words the returned card must come from a suit of three cards or more.

This process is repeated until everyone has over quota has stolen a card for each trick that they were over quota, and each player who was under quota has had a card stolen for each trick that they were short of the quota.

If there are two players over quota, the player to dealer's right has the first chance to steal, then the player to dealer's left, and finally the dealer. If they are two players under quota the over quota player steals first from the dealer if under quota, then from the player to dealer's left and last from the player to dealer's right.

It is said to be part of the fun of the game for a player whose card is to be stolen to rearrange their cards before offering them face down and to offer misleading advice about which cards are best.

Play

The player to dealer's right leads to the first trick. Each trick is won by the highest trump in it, or if it contains no trumps by the highest card of the suit that was led. The winner of each trick leads to the next.

Any card may be led. Subsequent players must follow suit, playing a card of the suit that was led if they can. A player who has no card of the suit led may play any card - either a trump or a card of another suit.

There is no obligation to beat cards previously played to the trick.

Players keep the tricks they have won face down, neatly arranged to that everyone can see how many tricks each player has won.

Scoring

Each player scores 1 point for each trick that they have taken.

Variations

Some people play the whole game clockwise, so that the player to dealer's left chooses trump, has a quota of 5 tricks and leads to the first trick and the player to dealer's right has a quota of 3.

Some play that instead of announcing a trump suit the 5-trick player may specify that the 7th card (i.e. the middle card of the second batch of three dealt to this player) will be turned up and its suit will be trumps. Others allow the 5-trick player to choose trump to be the suit of the highest card in the next batch of three, while yet others use a randomly drawn card from the remainder of the trump maker's hand.

Some only require a player who has stolen a card to retain one card in the suit that is returned.

Some play that the Sevens are permanent trumps. The heart7 is the highest trump followed by the spade7 and then the remaining cards of the chosen trump suit. So for example if clubs are trumps the trump suit in descending order is heart7-spade7-clubA-clubK-clubQ-clubJ-club10-club9-club8. The Sevens count for all purposes as members of the trump suit. In the example if a club is led you may play any club or any 7: if you have no other trumps you must play a 7 if you have one. Likewise if a 7 is led you can play any club or the other 7 and must play one of these cards if you have one. If a hearts is led you cannot play the heart7 (which is a trump) unless you have no ordinary hearts: if you have no ordinary hearts you may play any card. This rule is also found in the related two-player children's game 7-8 (Sath-Aath) played with the same 30-card pack.

Some award an extra 5 points (total 15) to a player who manages to win all 10 tricks.

Some allow a player who was below quota in the previous deal, instead of allowing a card to be stolen, simply to transfer a trick to the player who was above quota.

Some play that the loser (the player who is most below quota). If everyone takes their quota of tricks the deal rotates (to the next player to the right if playing anticlockwise.) If there are two equal losers presumably the deal passes to the loser who is next in rotation.

Other Websites, Software and Online Games

Cats at Cards has a description of 3-2-5 and some of its variants, also 7-8 and some related games.

You can play 325 online at cardzmania.

This page is maintained by John McLeod, john@pagat.com   © John McLeod, 2020. Last updated: 30th April 2020

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