OBJECTIVE OF BLIND DON:  Be the player with the highest score after four rounds



RANK OF CARDS: (low) 2’s – Aces (high)

TYPE OF GAME: Trick taking



Blind Don is a two player variant of the very popular Irish game called Nine Card Don.  This is a trick taking game in which players are trying to capture as many point earning cards as possible.  What sets this game apart from other trick taking games is that the score is kept during the round.  After each trick points will be accumulated.  To make keeping score easy, a Cribbage board is often used.  This allows players to quickly move pegs rather than stop and write down points on a sheet of paper.  If you do not have a Cribbage board, a piece of paper and a pencil will work fine.


Blind Don is played with a standard 52 card French deck.  To determine the dealer, each player should take a card from the deck.  The player with the lower card deals first.  Deal alternates each round from this point on.

The dealer collects the cards, shuffles thoroughly, and deals.  36 cards will be dealt in total.  The first 18 are dealt face down in front of each player to form a row.  The second 18 are dealt face up on top of the first row.  The remaining cards are placed to the side.


The non-dealer leads first.  They choose any of the face up cards from their row and play it to the center.  The suit of that card becomes the trump suit for the round.  The opposite player chooses a card from their row to play.  They must follow suit if they can.  If they cannot follow suit they may play any card from their hand.  The player who played the highest card in the suit that was led or the highest trump card wins the trick.  The player who wins the trick leads.

Once a card has been played and the card under it is exposed, that card may be flipped face up.  It is now eligible for play.


There are two sets of points earned during the game.  Points are scored immediately after each trick for capturing certain cards.  Because of this, a cribbage board is typically used, so players don’t have to stop and record points with pen and paper after every trick.  There are also game points earned after all of the tricks have been earned.  These are tallied up at the end of the round.

Points are earned after each trick for capturing the following cards:

Trump Ace = 4 points

Trump King = 3 points

Trump Queen = 2 points

Trump Jack = 1 point

Trump 9 = 9 points

Trump 5 = 10 points

All other 5’s = 5 points each

At the end of the round, players are competing for 8 additional points.  Determine who wins the additional points by tallying up the following:

Aces = 4 points each

Kings = 3 points each

Queens = 2 points each

Jacks = 1 point each

Tens= 10 points each

The player with the most end of round points accumulated earns the additional 8 game points.  If neither player has more, nobody earns the extra 8 points.


The player with the highest score at the end of the final round wins.

Mark Ball
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