SWEDISH CHICAGO



OBJECTIVE OF SWEDISH CHICAGO: Be the first player to reach 52 points or more

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 2 – 4 players

NUMBER OF CARDS: 52 card deck

RANK OF CARDS: (low) 2 – Ace (high)

TYPE OF GAME: Trick taking

AUDIENCE: Adults


INTRODUCTION OF SWEDISH CHICAGO

Swedish Chicago, simply known as Chicago in Sweden, is a game that combines both hand building and trick taking.  Each round, players work through three phases trying to build the best poker hand possible.  On the third phase, players use the cards they have in their hand to play tricks.  Whoever takes the final trick earns points. 

THE CARDS & THE DEAL

Swedish Chicago is played with a standard 52 card deck.  In order to determine the first dealer and scorekeeper, each player should take a card from the deck.  Whoever has the lowest card will be the first dealer and the scorekeeper.

Shuffle the cards and deal five cards to each player.

THE PLAY

A round of Swedish Chicago has three phases.  During these phases, players are trying to build the best poker hand possible.  During the third phase, players are also trying to take tricks. 

PHASE ONE

After dealing five cards to each player, go around the circle and allow players to exchange as many cards as they wish one time.  For example, Player 1 exchanges three of their cards for three new ones.  The dealer takes the cards and forms a discard pile face down and gives Player 1 three new cards.  A player does not have to exchange any cards if they do not want to.  They can simply say pass.

Once each player has had to the opportunity to exchange cards, it is time to find out who has the best hand.  Again, starting with the player on the left side of the dealer, each player may declare the poker hand they have built as long as it is a higher hand then the previously declared one.  For example, player 1 might say, “two pairs.”  Player 2 must have two pairs or better in order to declare their hand.  In the event of a tie, each player would declare which cards their hands are made of one at a time.  For example, if two players both have flushes, they would have to compare their flushes one card at a time to decide who has the highest flush.  If Player 1 had a flush with a 9 being the highest card, and Player 2 had a flush with the Queen being the highest card, Player 2 would win the points. If two or more players have the exact same hand, no points are earned for this phase.  If no one has a poker hand to declare, no points are earned for this phase.

If a player has not made a poker hand, they simply say pass.

Whoever has the highest ranking poker hand at the end of phase one earns the appropriate amount of points for that hand.  The game then continues to phase two.

PHASE TWO

Using the same cards they had at the end of the phase one, players get another opportunity to exchange cards with the draw pile.  If a player who won points during phase one wishes to exchange some cards, they must show their hand before doing so in order to prevent any cheating.

When everyone has had a chance to exchange cards, it is time to find out who has the highest hand again.  Just like in phase one, each player declares the poker hand they have built as long as it is the same or higher ranked than the one declared before it.  These poker hands do not have to be higher ranked than the winning hand from the previous phase. 

The player with the highest ranked hand wins the appropriate amount of points, and the game moves on to phase three.

PHASE THREE

Once again, players have the opportunity to exchange cards from their hand if they choose.  At this point, if the draw pile runs out of cards, the previously discarded ones are shuffled back up and used for the exchange phase. 

Once each player has had the opportunity to exchange cards, a trick taking round is played.  The player on the left of the dealer begins by playing a card of their choice to the table in front of them.  Following players must play the same suit if they can.  If they cannot follow suit, they may play any card that they wish.   The final trick is the only trick that earns points, so strategy should account for that.  The player who takes the final trick earns 5 points.

After the trick taking phase is complete, players once again compare their hands.  The player with the highest hand earns the appropriate amount of points for it.

If a player thinks they can take all five tricks during the trick taking phase, they can declare a Chicago.  If they successfully take all five tricks, they earn 15 points instead of 5.  As soon as a different player takes a trick, the trick taking phase is over, and the declaring player loses 15 points.  No points are earned for taking the final trick.  Please note that a player’s score may never go below zero points, so it is illegal for a player to attempt a Chicago until they have at least 15 points.

SCORING

During each phase, points are earned for the highest poker hand.  Once the points are earned, they should immediately be documented by the scorekeeper.

Poker HandPoints
One Pair1
Two Pairs2
Three of a Kind3
Straight4
Flush5
Full House6
Four of a Kind7
Straight Flush8
Royal Flush52

5 points are earned for taking the final trick.  15 points are earned for taking all five tricks after declaring a Chicago.  15 points are lost for failing to complete the Chicago.

WINNING

The first player to earn 52 points or more wins the game.  In the event of a tie, a tie breaking round should occur between the players with the same score.

Mark Ball
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