OBJECT OF LAUS: The object of Laus is to not be the first player to reach the set number of points.

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 3 or 4 players. 

MATERIALS: A modified deck of 52 cards, a way to keep score, and a flat surface.

TYPE OF GAME: Trick-taking Card Game



Laus is a trick-taking card game for 3 or 4 players. The goal of the game is to avoid winning tricks containing cards worth points. the first player to score at or over the set point total loses.

The point total should be set before the game, a suggested total would be 1500.


First the deck needs to be modified. You will remove all cards 6 and lower from the deck. This will leave you with a 32-card deck.

The first dealer is chosen randomly and then passes to the left for each new deal. The dealer will shuffle the deck and deal out hands based on number of players. In a 4-player game all the cards are dealt out in batches of 3, 2, then 3 again. In a 3-player game the dealer deals each player a hand in batches of 3, 4, then 3 again. There is also a skat dealt after the first batch of three, 2 cards to the center of the table face down.

In a 3-player game after hands are dealt the skat is dealt with. Starting with the player left of the dealer, they may choose to look at the skat. If they do, they may choose any two cards to put back facedown on the table, except queens or jacks, which are illegal to choose. The next person may do the same, and finally the dealer may as well. If a player chooses to pass on looking at the skat the scores for the round will be doubled.

Card Ranking and Values

In Laus trumps are Jacks. There are also two rankings. One for trumps, and the other for the other cards of each suit. The trumps ranking is Jack of clubs (high), jack of spades, Jack of hearts, Jack of diamonds.

The other suits are ranked Ace (high), 10, King, Queen, 9, 8, and 7 (low).

Cards also have values attached to them. Jacks are worth 2 points each, Aces are worth 11 points, 10s are worth 10 points, Kings are worth 4 points, and Queens are worth 3.  All other cards have no points attached to them.

Queens also have additional points acquired with them when you take them in a trick. The Queen of clubs is worth 300 points, the Queen of spades is worth 200 points, the Queen of hearts is worth 100 points, and if you take the Queen of diamonds it nullifies any other queens’ additional points you would take. For example, if you took the queen of hearts and spades you would score 306 points for your queens alone, but if you also take the queen of diamonds you only score 9 points.


The play starts with the player to the dealer’s left and passes clockwise around the table. The first player leads any card to a trick. Remember jacks are of the trump suit and not the suit printed on them. Following players must follow suit if able, and if not may play any card they wish.

Tricks are won by the player who played the highest ranked jack if applicable. If not, the trick is won by the highest card of the suit first led. The winner of the trick takes all cards and adds then to their score pile. They will also lead to the next trick.

The player to win the last trick in a 3-player game also takes the skat into their score pile.


After all tricks are won by players the scoring can begin. Players score all their cards and penalties associated with then, do not forget the special circumstances of the queens as well.

Also do not forget to double the scores for each time the skat was passed in a 3-player game. 

The scores are also doubled if a player took no tricks during the round, and doubled twice if two players score no tricks in a 4-player game.

If a player manages to win all the tricks, however, that player will subtract 120 points from their score. Which is doubled by passing the skat.

Scores are kept cumulative throughout the game.


The game ends when a player reaches or exceeds the set total. This player is the loser of the game.

Amber Crook
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