Bourré (Booray)

OBJECTIVE OF BOURRÉ: Win the most amount of tricks to win the pot.

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 2-8 players, 7 is optimal

NUMBER OF CARDS: 52-card deck

RANK OF CARDS: A,K,Q,J,10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2

TYPE OF GAME: Trick-Taking/Gambling



Bourré is a popular gambling card game in Louisana, USA. The game, as indicated by the name, is of French origins. It is closely related to a game of the same name, played in southwest French, which uses three cards. Both games are likely descendants of the Spanish game “Burro,” which means donkey. In English-speaking countries, the game is often written as Booray, which is the English spelling of how the word is pronounced in French.


Before the deal commences, each player must pay an ante to the pot. This is a forced bet. Depending on the result of the previous hand, some player may be exempt from paying the ante.

Any player may shuffle, however, the deal has rights to shuffle last. Cards are cut by the player to the right of the dealer.

The dealer passes each player five cards, one at a time, face-down. However, the fifth card dealt to the dealer is dealt face-up. The suit of that card is the trump suit.  The deal begins to the left of the dealer and passes clockwise until each player has a full hand.

The deal passes to the left after a hand is completed.


Players may examine their cards but must keep them secret from other players.

Starting to the left of the dealer, and moving clockwise, each player must declare if they wish to pass or play. If the player chooses to play they must also declare how many cards they wish to discard.

If a player chooses to pass, stack your cards in front of you and sit out for the hand. You cannot win the pot or add to it.

If a player chooses to play, discard the declared amount of cards face-down, while announcing that number. The dealer hands you a replacement, equaling the amount discarded, from the remainder of the deck. You may discard all five cards or stand, and discard none of them.

In large games, the dealer may run out of cards in the deck to replace the discards with. In this situation, the dealer collects the discarded cards, shuffles them, and uses those to deal.

If the flipped trump card is an Ace, the dealer has to play. This poses no risk to the dealer because the Ace always trumps in a trick.

If all players but one passes, that player automatically wins all five tricks, and collects the pot. This applies to the dealer as well.

Do not announce play or pass, or the number of cards you wish to discard, before you are permitted. Doing so has a penalty, you forfeit your turn to deal.


Play begins with the first active player directly to the left of the dealer. After, each trick is lead by the winner of the last one.

A card is flipped face-up in the center of the table, this is the lead. Active players must play on that card. When each player plays a single card, that trick is completed. A trick is won by the highest card or the trump card which follows suit.

  1. Players must follow suit if possible, that is play a card that is the same suit as the lead.
  2. If you are unable to follow suit, play a trump card if possible. This is, in theory, the highest ranking card from the trump suit.
  3. If following suit, play a card of higher rank than the one just played.

If you are unable to do the above, play a trump if possible, even if a trump has been played and you cannot out trump it. This, however, is not an obligation. If you have a card in the leading suit you are not allowed to play a card from the trumping suit.

Players may play any card if they cannot follow suit and do not have a trump card, this player will just not win the trick.

A player with 3 sure tricks, no matter how the cards are played, has a cinch. Certain restrictions apply to cinches:

  • If you have a cinch AND it happens to be your turn to lead, you must lead with your highest trump. 
  • If you have a cinch and another player has led, you must play your highest trump if you are able to.
  • If you have a chinch and are the last to play a trick, win the trick if you can, following the guidelines above.

A hand may start as a cinch or become a cinch. For example, if you have high cards in the trump suit, you have started with a cinch. Or if you have won a trick and have two sure tricks, that is also a cinch.

If you are required to play your highest trump, because you have a cinch, you may play the adjacent trump. That is, in Ace-King, playing the King is acceptable.


The player who wins the most tricks wins the whole pot. You must win more tricks than each player- three is typically sufficient.

If most tricks tie, there is no pot winner. For example, if in a game of three players the trick winning ratio is 2:2:1, no one wins the pot. Despite this being known as a “split pot,” the pot is not split out. The pot is carried over to the next deal and the next antes are added to it. Players who tie for the most number of tricks do not pay an ante in the next deal.

If a player takes no tricks, this player has gone “bourré.” They must pay into the pot an amount equal to it. That payment rolls over to the next deal. They do not have to pay an ante in the next deal.

Since the pot has the ability to grow quickly, a limit may be necessary. If the pot exceeds the limit, players who go bourré are only required to pay in the limit.

If any player fails to follow the rules and requirements, such as following suit when possible, this is known as renege. If this is not fixed before the next player plays, the player who failed to follow the rules pays to the pot and amount equal to it or it’s limit, if it exceeds it. You may recall if you discover you have made a mistake and fix it, however, you forfeit the pot and your next turn to deal.


  • Some players play with a double ante, if a player does not pass they must chip in another ante to the pot before play. In this variation, the initial ante is always required, no matter the outcome of the previous hand.
  • Instead of declaring pass or play in rotation, in may be done so simultaneously. Players who wish to play hold a chip in their closed fist, and those who do not have an empty fist. When the dealer says reveal, players open their hands and reveal their decision.
  • Bourré may be played with four cards as opposed to five.









Nakoa Davis

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