Trick-Taking Games

Introduction To Trick-Taking Games

Trick-taking games are one of the most popular types of card game, meaning there are also a lot of different kinds of them. These are classified as outplay games, which just means all players are given a hand that they then play cards out of. For trick-taking games, they typically fall under one of the three categories including traditional, point, and Quasi.


For traditional trick-taking games, the goal is to win a certain number of tricks or as many as a player possibly can. Of course, this is not always the case and there are a few games that want you to win certain tricks or to lose tricks, but with traditional trick-taking games the goal, relies on the tricks themselves.

Below are some different types of traditional trick-taking games and a little description of how they are played.

  • Whist: These games are played with a traditional deck (52 cards) and traditional ranking (Ace high to 2 low). All cards are dealt out and there is a trump usually but no betting. The goal is to win as many tricks as possible.
  • Non-trump games: The goal is to win tricks and they are won by the highest played card of the original suit leading the trick. There are no trumps.
  • Put: In these games, suit does not matter, and tricks are won by the highest card played. The ranking for these games typically has 3 (high), 2, Ace, King…ect.
  • Taking the Last Trick: The goal for these games are centered around the last trick, whether you are trying to win it, avoid it or play the lowest card in it depends on the game.
  • Trump games: These games have a trump suit and a smaller hand size.
  • Spoil Five: A smaller group of the Trump games where the trump ranking starts with the 5, jack and ace of hearts.
  • Euchre: A smaller group of the Trump games where bidding and larger hands may be incorporated but the trump ranking always has the jack and the other jack of the d=same color as highest two trumps.
  • Rams: A smaller group of the Trump games where players see their hands and decide to either play the round and try to meet a quota or drop till the next round. Unmet quotas mean a penalty.
  • Karnoffel: Older Trump games where there are predetermined trump suit(s) where cards are similar in play to regular trumps with slight differences. The sevens usually are usually unbeatable but only if used to lead a trick.
  • L’Hombre: Bidding games where ranking varies but typically black aces hold the highest and third highest ranking. The second highest ranking can either be a 2 or 7 depending on the game. There is also a “talon” that’s rules depend on the game as well.
  • Boston: These games are like whist, with groupings of either 2 vs 2 or 1 vs 3. Auctions are held to determine this, and the winner gets to decide trump. Bids are how many tricks think you can win or to lose tricks or win only one trick as winning conditions.
  • Auction Whist: a smaller group of whist games where auctions are held, and partnerships are premade before the game. Auctions winners need to get their bid of tricks and get to choose trump.
  • Preference: Three player games with decks of 32 cards. These games are played with 10 card hands with a bidder trying for 6 tricks and the remaining players trying to defend by getting at least 3 tricks a piece.
  • Exact Bidding: The goal of these games is to guess how many tricks you will win, and you get points deducted for each over or under you are.
  • Multi-trick: These games are different because multiple tricks are played at once. A person will lead with several different cards usually in a certain combination and then players follow suit with the same number of cards. The winner overall wins that many tricks.


Point trick-taking games are different because instead of the goal revolving around the tricks you win; these games rely on the actual cards within the tricks. Point trick-taking games have values attached to each card and these values help to determine win conditions. Sometimes the goal is to have the highest amount of points or more than other players, or the lowest amount of points, but there are a few games that require you to get as close as possible to a certain score to win as well.

Below are some different types of point trick-taking games and a little description of how they are played. Some of these games to have some additional elements such as betting but they are most closely related to a trick-taking game.

  • Tarot games: These games contain different cards that are always considered trumps.
  • Manille: These games have a different ranking system the highest varies from the region, being 9 in Spain but 10 in Belgium or France followed by ace, king, queen, and jack. Worth a respectively 5, 4, 3,2, and 1 point(s).
  • Couillon: These games use a traditional ranking of ace (high), 2 (low) but only the first four cards are worth points with 4 points going to aces, 3 to kings, 2 to queens and 1 to jacks.
  • Trappola: These games use a 36-card deck with ranking following Ace (high) to 2 (low). The points are four Aces to jacks being 6, 5,4 and 3 respectively. There are usually extra points for winning the last trick or any trick with the lowest card of a suit.
  • All Fours: The ranking for these games is traditional but the points go as follows: ace is worth 4 points, king 3, queen 2, jack 1 and 10s are worth 10 points.
  • Ace-ten: These games hold value in the Aces (usually worth 11 points) and 10s (usually worth 10 points). Kings, queens, and jacks are typically worth points of 4,3, and 2 value respectively. 10 are usually the second highest ranking card as well.
    • Schafkopf: A smaller group of Ace-ten games where the queens and jacks are always high trumps. The ranking of queens and jacks goes from clubs to spades, hearts then diamonds.
    • Marriage: A smaller group pf ace-ten games where you get points for having in hand a king and queen of the same suit. If its trumps you get 40 points other suites are worth 20 points.
      • Jass: an even smaller group of marriage games where Jacks and nines worth 20 and 14 points respectively are ranked higher than aces.
  • Sedma: a small group of ace tens that varies greatly. These games tricks are won by playing a card of the same ranks as the card the trick was led by. They are part of Ace-ten because the aces and 10s are usually worth more points.
  • Tressette: These games have a ranking that is different. Going 3 (high), 2, ace, king, queen, jack, 7,6,5,4 (low). Aces are worth 1 point, and 3s, 2s, kings, queens, and jacks are worth 1/3rd of a point. All other cards hold no value.
  • King-ten-five: These games have traditional 52 card decks with a ranking of ace (high) 2 (low) but the king and 10s are worth 10 points and the 5s are worth 5 points.
  • Picture: These games only use Ace through 10s each worth 1 point each.
  • Reverse: You want to not win tricks with high-value cards. Lowest score wins.

There are also several more point trick-taking games that do not fit into the above categories.


Quasi trick-taking games are like the other types but have different mechanisms and/or goals that make them very different games. Tricks are still used but maybe only part of the game and these games often use elements of shedding or accumulating cards. So, the goal of these games may have nothing to do with the tricks that are played throughout the game.

Below I have added some subtypes od these kinds of games. These are not quasi trick-taking game-specific games instead are just some sub-types of what quasi trick-taking games may fall under.

  • Inflation Games: These games usually involve players needing to draw cards, whether it’s because they cannot follow suit, or they won the last trick.
  • Climbing Games: These games involve tricks that last multiple rounds usually with teams playing cards that must be beaten by other teams when a card cannot be beaten that team wins the trick.
  • Beating Games: These games involve “beating” the previously played card or you must pick up all the cards that have acquired. These games usually have no winner only a loser who is the last with cards in hand.