OBJECTIVE OF LA PODRIDA: The objective of La Podrida is to reach the target score before the other players.
NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 3-7 players
MATERIALS: A standard 52-card deck, a way to keep score, and a flat surface.
TYPE OF GAME: Trick-Taking Card Game
OVERVIEW OF LA PODRIDA
La Podrida is a trick-taking cards game for 3 to 7 players. The goal is the bid for the exact number of tricks one believes they will make. Taking more or fewer tricks is a loss.
Players should determine before the game begins what target score, they will play to.
The first dealer is chosen at random. The deal passes clockwise.
The cards are shuffled and dealt to each player one at a time until each has the appropriate amount according to the number of players. The following card is flipped face-up, the suit of that card is the trump suit for that hand. This suit will beat all others. The remaining cards are left in a stack with the trump card on top.
La Podrida is played with a series of hands. The number of cards played with in the first hand depends on the number of players:
- 3-5 Players, 10 cards each
- 6 Players, 8 cards each
- 7 Players, 7 cards each
Each hand is played with one less card than the previous one until there is a one-card hand. Cards are then added one at a time until the card amount of the initial hand is met. For example, in a hand of 8 cards, the series is as follows: 8 cards, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. This gives a total of 15 hands per game.
The ranking for La Podrida is traditional. Ace (high), King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, and 2 (low).
Each bidding starts with the player to the left of the dealer and moves clockwise back to the dealer, who bids last. Each player bids a number which indicates the number of tricks they predicate they will take with that hand. All players must bid; however, players may bid zero. If a player bids zero, they plan to take zero tricks. Players may change their bid if the opponent to their left has not yet bid. There is a hook, the dealer is not allowed to bid the number that would cause the total amount of tricks bid to be equal to the number of total tricks available. A hand shall always be and over or underbid. The dealer can change their bid until the first card is played.
The game begins with the player directly to the dealer’s left, this player leads the initial suit. This can be any suit, including the trump suit. Play passes clockwise. The following players must follow suit. If they cannot follow suit, they must play a trump. If they cannot play a trump, then they may play any card to the trick.
The trick is won by the highest-ranked trump played. If there is no trump card played, the highest value card of the leading suit wins the trick. The winner of a trick leads the next one. This continues until all tricks have been played, then the next hand is dealt until all hands have been dealt and all tricks won.
A player or a third party is designated as the scorekeeper before the start of the deal. If the scorekeeper is a player, they have an advantage and must be monitored so that they do not error or cheat. There are several ways to score in La Podrida.
The simplest method of scoring states that a player who wins the exact number of tricks that they bid gets a score of 10 + # of tricks bid. So, if they won and bid 5, their score would total 15 for that hand. The scorer inks out unsuccessful bids and adds a ‘1’ in front of successful ones.
The most common method of scoring is that each player earns 1 point for tricks won + 10 points who win the exact number of tricks bid.