OBJECTIVE OF BIERKOPF: The first team to earn 21 Game Points wins



RANK OF CARDS: (low)King, 10, Ace, Trump Suit (high)

TYPE OF GAME: Trick taking



Bierkopf is a German card game played in pubs.  Traditionally, it is played with a German suited deck, but it can be played just as easily with a standard 52 card pack.  Using a stripped deck of 20 cards and played in teams, Bierkopf challenges players to collect as many card points as possible during the round.  Each round victory earns the team Game Points.  The first team to earn 21 Game Points wins!


 In Bierkopf, there is a set group of cards that act as the trump suit.  Non-trump suits are formed with the remaining cards.

Trump Suit: (low) K♥, 10♥, A♥, J♦, J♥, J♠, J♣, Q♦, Q♥, Q♠, Q♣ (high)

Clubs: (low) King, 10, Ace (high)

Spades: (low) King, 10, Ace (high)

Diamonds: (low) King, 10, Ace (high)

To determine partners as well as the first dealer for the game, shuffle the cards and begin dealing them one at a time.  The first two players to receive an Ace are on a team and should sit across from each other at the table.  The other two players are also on a team.  Whoever was dealt the first Ace collects the cards and becomes the first dealer for the game.

Shuffle and deal five cards to each player in packets of two and three.  This means that each player is first dealt two cards at a time.  Then, they are dealt three cards at a time.


Before play begins, and throughout the round, bidding occurs. 


Before the first card is played, the player sitting left of the dealer may table talk with their partner.  The two players are not allowed to give any details about which cards they have, but they may say things like “I have a strong hand” or “I have a weak hand”.  If the player seated left of the dealer wishes, they may double the stakes for the game by announcing so.

If a double is not announced, the opposite team may table talk about their hands in the same manner, and they may double the stakes if they wish.  The bid continues around with the third player given the option to double.  If bidding reaches the fourth player, no doubling may occur.  The game is played for normal points.

If either team doubles the stakes, the opposite team may double them again after the second card of the game is played.  The stakes may continue to be doubled throughout the game.


The player sitting to the left of the dealer leads the first card to the trick.  Everyone else at the table must follow suit if they can.  Remember, all of the trump cards are collectively considered part of the trump suit and not part of the suit on their card.  So, if a Jack of Diamonds is led, other cards from the trump suit must be played if possible and not necessarily another Diamond. 

If players cannot follow suit, they must trump the trick if they can.  If the player cannot follow or trump, they can play any card.

During play, each player may look at the tricks they collect.  They may only look at the most previous trick from their partner’s collection.


During each round, there are 120 card points available for capture. 

Aces = 11 points each

10’s = 10 points each

Kings = 4 points each

Queens = 3 points each

Jacks = 2 points each

The team that collects 61 card points or more wins the round and earns 1 Game Point.  If the team earns 91 points or more they earn 2 Game Points.  Game Points earned are doubled according to the bidding.  For example, if a team earns 1 Game Point, but the stakes were doubled twice during the game, that team actually earns 4 Game Points (1x2x2).


The first team to earn 21 Game Points wins the game.

Mark Ball
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