OBJECT OF 55: The object of 55 is to be the first player or team to reach the needed number of points to win.
NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 2 to 9 players
MATERIALS: One standard 52-card deck, a way to keep score, and a flat surface.
TYPE OF GAME: Trick-Taking Card Game
OVERVIEW OF 55
55 is a trick-taking card game for 2 to 9 players. It’s closely related to the 25 with a few major differences. There is bidding in 55 and the target score is different in 55. The target score should be discussed before the game and is most often 55, 110, or 220 points or more depending on how long you wish the game to last.
The goal of the game is to earn a target score by winning tricks and completing bids to receive points.
SETUP AND BIDDING
The first dealer is chosen randomly and passes to the left for each new deal. The dealer will shuffle and offer the deck to the player to their right to cut. Then they shall deal each player in clockwise order a hand of 5 cards each. This can be done in batches of 2 and 3 cards if desired. There will also be an additional hand dealt to the center of the table. This is the kitty that will be used for the bidding section of the game.
After the hands are dealt, there is a round of bidding. The winning bidder will be allowed to exchange cards from their hand with the kitty and gets to determine the trump suit. The bidding starts with the player to the left of the dealer. The bidding options are 10, 15, 20, 25, and 60. These determine how many tricks you will contract yourself to win. In clockwise order, players may either pass or increase the bid of the previous player up to a bid of 60. The dealer is the only one who can call a bid. Where they can bid the same amount and be the highest bidder. In this case, if a bid of 60 has not already been called the previous highest bidder can now increase their bid. The dealer may call again or pass or raise the bid. This can continue until a bid of 60 is made and called or passed, or if one of the players passes before then.
The winning bidder picks up the kitty and places any 5 cards from their hand facedown to the center. Then they may declare a trump suit for the round.
Card Ranking and Values
The ranking for the trump suit is based on which suit it is. There are four possible rankings for trumps. All non-trump suits also have their rankings.
If hearts are trumps, they rank 5 (high), jack, ace, king, queen, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 4, 3, and 2 (low).
If diamonds are trumps, they rank 5, jack, ace of hearts, ace of diamonds, king, queen, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 4, 3, and 2 (low)
If clubs are trumps, they rank 5, jack, ace of hearts, ace of clubs, king, queen, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 (low).
If spades are trumps, they rank 5, jack, ace of hearts, ace of spades, king, queen, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 (low).
For non-trumps suits, they rank as follows.
Hearts rank king (high), queen, jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, and 2 (low).
Diamonds rank king (high), queen, jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, and ace (low).
Clubs rank king (high), queen, jack, ace, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 (low).
Spades rank king (high), queen, jack ace, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 (low).
55 is started by the player to the dealer’s left. They may lead any card to the trick.
If it’s a non-trump card following players may either follow suit or play a trump, if they do not have a card to follow suit, they may play a trump or any other card. In 55 you may always play a trump, even if you can follow suit.
If the card led is a trump, following players must play a trump, excluding the 3 highest ranked trumps (5, jack, and ace of hearts). These cards may be played but do not have to be played if they are the only trumps in your hand. The only way you can be forced to play these cards is if another player leads a higher trump than you have in hand. If you do not hold a trump you must play you may play any card.
Remember when following suit, the ace of hearts is not a hearts card, but a trump.
The highest trump, if applicable, wins the trick. If no trumps, the highest card of the suit lead wins the trick. The winner of a trick leads the next. A won trick should be kept in a player’s score pile.
Once the round is over players their scores. Each trick won is worth 5 points, and the player with the highest-ranking trump receives an additional 5 points. all players besides the bidder may score their point to their cumulative score.
The bidder may only score their points if they are equal to or more than the bid they made. If they scored less than they bid, they lose that many points. players can go into negative points.
A bid of 60 means they are bidding to win all the trick of the round. If they succeed, they score 60 points, and if not, they lose 60 points. Winning all the tricks without bidding 60 only scores 30 points.
END OF GAME
The game ends when a player or team reaches the targeted score. The round should be played out to see if the bidder succeeds or not in their contract, though. If multiple players reach the target amount in the same round the first player to reach the needed score in the round wins.