Bourré (Booray)


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

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




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. The French word Bourré means “drunk.” In English-speaking countries, they write the name as “booray”, which is essentially just the English spelling of the word pronounced in French. (Although the pronunciation is a bit different). Let’s go over the rules of how to play this game at your next game night and hopefully win you some money!


Bourré setup

Bourré is an extremely fun game to play with up to eight friends, although seven is optimal. Other than your friends, all you need is a standard deck of 52 cards and either money or poker chips (for those who don’t like gambling for real money).

Players sit around a table or any flat surface.

The ranking for the cards in Bourré is as follows:

  • Ace (High)
  • King
  • Queen
  • Jack
  • 10
  • 9
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 5
  • 4
  • 3
  • 2 (Low)


Before the deal commences, each player must pay an ante to the pot. This is a forced bet commonly seen in poker and other gambling games. Depending on the result of the previous hand, some players may be exempt from paying the ante.

Choose the dealer any way you want. We usually draw cards, and the dealer is the one with the highest or lowest card. Any player may shuffle; however, the dealer has the right to shuffle last—the player to the dealer’s right cuts the cards.


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, or the suit that beats other suits. This can change every game, unlike Spades, where the trump suit is always the same. The deal begins to the left of the dealer and passes clockwise until each player has a full hand.

After each round, the role of the dealer goes to the left.


Players may examine their cards but must keep them secret from other players. Once you look at your cards, you can decide if you want to stay in the game or if you want to give up (“pass”).


pass or play

Starting to the left of the dealer and moving clockwise, each player has two options at the start of the game: they have to declare if they wish to pass or play. 

  • PASS – If you choose to pass, stack your cards in front of you face down and sit out for the round. You cannot win the pot or add to it.
  • PLAY – If you choose to play, you can choose any cards in your hand you want to discard. Say this number aloud while discarding those cards face down. 

The dealer replaces your discarded cards, from the remainder of the deck. For example, if you want to discard three cards, the dealer will hand you three new ones. You may discard all five cards or stand and discard none of them.

In large Bourré 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. 

Now, the real play begins with the tricks.


gameplay in Bourré

Play begins with the first active player directly to the left of the dealer. After that, each trick is led by the winner of the last one. A trick is the played cards on the table, usually of the same suit, rank, or color. If you’ve played other trick taking games such as euchre or whist, then you already get the gist of the gameplay.

The first player chooses a card and flips it 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. For each trick, the players must:

  1. Follow suit if possible; that is, play a card that is the same suit as the lead.
  2. Following suit, play a card higher than the previous card, if possible.
  3. Play a trump card if they can’t follow suit. 
  4. Play any card if they can’t follow suit or Trump.
  5. The highest card wins the trick or the trump card if played.


The player who wins the most tricks in one round wins the whole pot. You must win more tricks than all other players.

If two players tie for the most tricks, 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. The pot is carried over to the next deal, and the next antes are added. The players who tie for the most number of tricks do not pay an ante in the next deal, unlike in Hearts, where the goal is to have the least amount of tricks.


If the round ends and you have taken no tricks, you have gone “bourré.” Now, you must pay an amount equal to what is in the pot. That payment rolls over to the next deal. Also, you 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 only pay the limit.


The game has no official ending. You can end the game with the player who has won the most tricks. Alternatively, the winner is the one who has taken everyone else’s money!


Here are a few of the other rules that are important for gameplay.

  • If you fail to follow the rules and requirements, such as following suit when possible, this is known as reneging. If this is not fixed before the next player plays, then you pay to the pot an amount equal to it or its set limit. 
  • 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.
  • If the flipped trump card is an Ace, the dealer has to play first. 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, and you forfeit your turn to deal.


A player with three sure tricks, no matter how the cards are played, has a cinch. For example, if the trump suit is hearts, and you have an Ace, King, and Queen of hearts you have 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. For example, if you have Ace, King, playing the King is acceptable.


  • Some players play with a double ante. If players do not pass, they must chip in another ante to the pot before playing. 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, it 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.
Alan Lemus
Latest posts by Alan Lemus (see all)

Leave a Comment

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.