OBJECTIVE OF BLUKE: Be the player with the most points at the end of the game
NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 3 or 4 players
NUMBER OF CARDS: 52 card deck and two jokers
RANK OF CARDS: 2 (low) – Ace , Trump Suit 2 – Ace, then Low Joker – High Joker (high)
TYPE OF GAME: Trick taking
INTRODUCTION OF BLUKE
Bluke is a trick taking game which finds its origins in the United States. This game involves trick taking, random trump suits, scoring similar to Spades, and the use of the jokers. The best part about Bluke is that it does not require teams in order to be played, and it is enjoyable with 2, 3, or 4 players.
THE CARDS & THE DEAL
Bluke uses a standard 52 card deck as well as two jokers. In this game, jokers are called Blukes.
This game takes place over a total of twenty five hands. On the first hand, the dealer will give each player thirteen cards, twelve cards on the second hand, eleven cards on the third hand and so on all the way down to a single card hand. Then, the deals work their way back up with two cards, then three, then four and so on. The final deal will have each player receiving thirteen cards again.
To decide who deals first, have each player draw a single card from the deck. Whoever draws the highest card goes first. Whoever draws the lowest card must be the scorekeeper for the whole game. The score keeper is responsible for keeping track of which deal it is, each player’s bids, and the score.
Now that the first dealer and the scorekeeper has been decided, it is time to deal out the cards. The dealer should shuffle the cards thoroughly and deal out the correct number of cards one at a time to each player.
The remaining cards are then offered to the player left of the dealer. They may either cut the deck or tap the top card. Tapping the top card signals that they do not want to cut. The dealer flips over the top card, and it’s suit becomes the trump suit for the hand. If a Bluke is turned up, there is no trump suit for the hand.
As with most trick taking games that involve a trump suit, the suit that becomes trump is the highest ranking set of cards for the hand (aside from the jokers). For example, if hearts become trump then the 2 of hearts is higher than any other suit’s ace. The only cards that rank higher than the trump suited cards are the two jokers.
Once the cards have been dealt, and the trump suit has been determined, it is time for each player to make a bid. The player to the left of the dealer bids first. Continuing left, each player will make a bid ranging from one to the total number of cards dealt. The bid is how many tricks that player believes they can take. Players do not have to overbid each other. It is possible for more than one player to have the same bid.
The scorekeeper should write down each player’s bid for the round.
In this game, the jokers are called Blukes. The Low Bluke is higher than the trump suited ace, and the High Bluke is the highest ranked card in the game.
Before the game begins, players should understand which of the Blukes are high and which one is low. Typically, in a deck of cards there is a colored joker and a monotone joker. The colored joker is best used as a High Bluke, and the monotone joker is best as the Low Bluke.
As you will see below, players must follow suit if able. This does not apply to Blukes. On a player’s turn, they can choose to play a Bluke instead of following suit.
Now that the cards have been dealt, the trump suit has been determined, and the bids have been made, it is time to begin the game. The player on the dealer’s left may go first. They choose one card from their hand and play it face up to the center of the table. Moving clockwise, the rest of the players at the table also choose one card to play. Players must follow suit if they can. If the player cannot follow suit, they may play any card from their hand. Blukes are special! If a player chooses, they may play a Bluke instead of following suit.
All the cards played form what is called a trick. The player who played the highest ranked card takes the trick. Whoever takes the trick leads next.
Play like this continues until all of the tricks have been played. Once the final trick is played, it is time to tally up the score for the round.
After the score has been totaled up, deal passes to the left. The game continues until all twenty five hands have been played.
If a player meets their bid, they earn 10 points for each trick. Any tricks taken beyond the bid are called overtricks, and they are worth 1 point each. For example, if a player bids 6 and takes 8, they would earn 62 points for the hand.
If a player fails to take at least as many tricks as they bid, they have been set. They lose 10 points for each trick they bid. For example, if a player bids 5 and only takes 3 tricks, they lose 50 points from their score. It does not matter how many tricks they managed to take.
The player with the highest total at the end of the game wins.