OBJECTIVE OF TOEPEN: Win the last trick during each hand.
NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 3-8 players
NUMBER OF CARDS: 32 card deck
RANK OF CARDS: 10 (high), 9, 8, 7, A, K, Q, J
TYPE OF GAME: Trick-taking/Drinking
INTRODUCTION TO TOEPEN
Toepen is a Dutch trick-taking card game which is typically also played as a drinking game. It is suited for 3 to 8 players although the ideal, and typical number of players is 4. In Holland, Toepen is thought of as just a drinking game, but it can be a gambling game as well with the addition of money.
Toepen uses a 32 card pack, this can be made by stripping a standard 52 card pack of: 2s, 3s, 4s, 5s, & 6s in each suit. The cards that remain rank, from high to low: 10, 9, 8, 7, A, K, Q, J.
One player is chosen as the dealer. Players may choose any preferred method of picking a dealer at random (i.e. cutting the deck, by age, etc) unless someone volunteers.
The dealer deals out four cards, one at a time, to each player. Cards should be dealt face-down, only the owner may examine their cards.
Once the deal is completed, the remaining deck of cards is placed face-down in the center of the table. If a player has a hand of only Aces, Kings, Queens, or Jacks, they must discard their hand and the dealer will deal them out a new one. In fact, any player may choose to discard their hand and be dealt a new one. However, this poses a risk: the hand may be challenged by another player by revealing it. If the hand has a 10, 9, 8, or 7, the player who discarded the hand loses a life. But, they still get to keep their new hand. If the hand really does consist of exclusively Aces, Kings, Queens, and Jacks, the challenger loses a life.
After all the cards from the deck are dealt now more hands can be dealt.
The player sitting directly to the left of the dealer leads in the first trick. If possible, players must follow suit. If they are unable to play a card from the same suit led with, they may play any card in hand. The highest ranking card played form the suit led wins (or takes) the trick. The winner of the previous trick leads in the next, and so on, until all four tricks are played.
The winner of the fourth trick deals the next hand and all other players lose a life.
At any point during a hand, after players have picked up their four cards, a player may knock on the table. Doing so elects a toep and increase the value of the hand by 1 life. Once a player knocks, the other players can stay in or fold. If they fold, they lose their stake.
Players must wait for someone else to knock within the same hand before knocking again. Losers lose lives equal to the total number of Knocks + 1. Players who fold on the first knock lose 1 life along with their stake, and those who fold on the second knock lose two lives, and so on.
In the event everyone folds after a player knocks, they win and everyone else loses a life. They deal the next hand.
If a player folds after winning a trick, but before the next one starts, the turn to lead the next trick passes to the player to their left.
THE WAYS TO KNOCK & FOLD
- In tournament and gambling versions of Toepen, when a player knocks the game is paused. All other players, starting to the left of the knocker, must declare if they are staying or folding. Players fold by dropping their cards face-down on the table.
- However, in faster and drinking variations of Toepen, after a knock players fold immediately if they wish.
After a player has lost 10 lives, they lose the game and must buy everyone a round of drinks. The score is reset and a new game may begin. If this causes drinks to be bought excessively, and players can’t keep up with the drinking, the loser instead may put in a few bucks (or more) to the kitty which will be used to buy a round at the player’s drinking pace.
Once a player has lost 9 lives, they cannot knock. Players who have lost eight lives cannot knock twice, only once, and so on.
In addition, there is a fun tradition in Toepen, which is used to intimidate players into folding. Players with certain hands, for example, three 10s or three Jacks, must whistle. If they cannot whistle, they must sing loudly. Players who hold four 10s or four Jacks are required to stand up.