OBJECTIVE OF I PROMISE: Be the first player to reach 100 points or more 

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 2 or more players

NUMBER OF CARDS: 52 card deck

RANK OF CARDS: (low) 2 – Ace (high)

TYPE OF GAME: Trick taking

AUDIENCE: Kids, Families, Adults


I Promise is a simple trick taking game that can be used to teach children the basics of bidding precisely and prepare them for more challenging games such as Spades.

The fact that this game does not require teams and can be played with 2 or more players makes it a great addition to anyone’s game night. 


I Promise is played with a standard 52 card deck.  To decide who must deal first and keep score, each player should take a card from the deck.  The player with the lowest card is the first dealer and scorekeeper.

The dealer should shuffle the cards and dole out the entire deck until there is not enough cards left for each player to have the same amount.  Everyone’s hand should have the same amount of cards to begin the round.  The remaining cards are simply set aside and not used.

The final card that the dealer received should be shown to the rest of the table.  That card determines the trump suit for the round.


After receiving all of their cards and seeing the trump suit for the round, players will take turns bidding on how many tricks they think they can take.  Starting with the player to the left of the dealer, each player will say, “I promise to take…” and declare the number of tricks they will try to take.  The scorekeeper must document the bids each round.

After each player has made their bid, the round may begin.


Starting with the player to the left of the dealer, they choose a card from their hand and play it to the table.  Following players must play a card that matches in suit if they can.  If they cannot follow suit and have a trump card, they must play it.  If they cannot follow suit, and they do not have a trump card, they can play any other card that they wish.

The player who played the highest card in the suit that was led or the highest trump suit takes the trick.  The player who wins the trick gets to lead.

Play like this continues until all of the tricks have been played.  Once this occurs, the round is over, and it’s time to tally up the score.


At the end of each round, players earn points equal to the amount of tricks they took.  If a player takes exactly the amount of tricks they bid, they earn a ten point bonus.  If not, they simply earn one point per trick.  For example, if Player 1 bids 5 and takes 5, they earn 15 points.  If Player 2 bids 6 and takes more or less than that, they only earn one point per trick.

After the score has been totaled, deal passes to the next player, and the game continues.


The first player to earn 100 points or more wins the game. 

Mark Ball
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