OBJECTIVE OF LA POULE: The objective of La Poule is to be the first team to 200 or more points.
NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 4 Players
MATERIALS: A modified 52-card deck, a way to keep score, and a flat surface.
TYPE OF GAME: Trick-Taking Card Game
OVERVIEW OF LA POULE
La Poule is a trick-taking game for 4 players. The goal of the game is for your partnership to reach 200 or more points first and win the game.
There will be two teams of two where partners will sit across from each other.
To modify the deck, you will remove all cards 6 and lower from the deck. This leaves you with a 32-card deck.
The first dealer will be random and then pass to the left at the start of each new round.
Once the deck is sorted, the dealer will shuffle the cards and deal hands to each player clockwise. The players will receive hands of 8 cards. Players should check their hands immediately because if a player ever receives all four 7s in their hand in one deal they automatically win the entire game.
Card Rankings and Values
Cards are ranked as follows. 10 (high), 9, Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 8, and 7 (low). There are no trumps in La Poule.
Certain cards have scoring values attached to them. Aces score 1 point, and 10s, 9s, Kings, Queens, and Jacks all score 1/3rd of a point. 8s and 7s are worth nothing, and the last trick scores 1 point.
There is a total of 11 full points in each round and all fractional points are ignored.
The gameplay is very simple for La Poule. Like every other trick-taking game it is a matter of leading and following tricks. The game starts with the player to the dealer’s left and continues clockwise.
The first player will lead the trick and all other players must follow suit if able. If not able, they may play any card they wish.
The player who plays the highest-ranked card of the leading suit wins the trick. They will also lead the next trick.
If a trick was worth less than a full point, the winner of the trick must lead their lowest valued card to the next trick.
There is a special point bonus that can be won in a round. If a player has three highest-ranked cards of the same suit and manages to win 3 consecutive tricks with them, their team scores an additional 11 points this round. To score this bonus a player must declare their intention the first card of the trick is led to the trick you plan to play your first card. This bonus is called a Politaine.
Once all tricks are played players will tally their scores from cards won in tricks. The fraction of points are dropped from the teams’ scores and the two teams’ scores should always sum 11. The scores of each round are kept cumulatively and the round where a team or both teams reaches or exceeds 200 points ends the game.
END OF GAME
The game ends once 200 points have been matched or exceeded by a team. If just this team reaches 200 then they win, but if both teams exceed 200 the team with the higher total wins. If there is a tie and an additional round is played to find a winner.
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