OBJECTIVE OF TOMATE: Be the player with the most chips at the end of the game
NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 2 – 13
NUMBER OF CARDS: 40 cards
RANK OF CARDS: (low) 2,4,5,6,7,J,Q,K,3,A (high)
TYPE OF GAME: Trick Taking Card Game
Tomate is a Spanish trick taker similar to Bourre. In this game, players will do their best to collect one, two, or all three of the tricks per round. Anyone who stays in and fails to capture at least one trick will contribute to the pot. A simple and popular game, Tomate can easily be played for money. Of course, gambling is not necessary to enjoy this game.
Tomate is played with a 40 card deck. Although it is typically played with a Spanish suited deck, it is easily played with a modified 52 card pack.
To set up for the game, give each player an agreed upon number of chips. Remove the 8’s, 9’s, and 10’s from the pack. For this game, cards rank (low) 2,4,5,6,7,J,Q,K,3,A (high). The first dealer is determined by cutting the deck. Whoever cuts the lowest card deals first. From that point on, deal passes left each round.
Add three chips to the pot from the bank. This is the Tomate payment amount.
The dealer shuffles and deals three cards to each player. The rest of the cards are placed face down as the stock. Turn the top card over to decide trump for the round.
Before looking at their hand, the dealer may declare “I’m taking it” and pick up the trump card. They must exchange it with one card from their hand. That card is discarded face down. If the dealer chooses to do this, they must play. They cannot pass.
Continuing left from the dealer, each player declares whether they will pass or play. If a player passes, they discard their cards face down. Players who stay in must win one trick or else pay the Tomate penalty. If the dealer chooses to pick up the trump card, they must capture two tricks to avoid the Tomate penalty.
Of the players still in the round, the player who is seated left of the dealer leads the first trick. Following players must follow suit if they can. First, they must play a higher card in the lead suit. If they cannot, they must play a lower card in the same suit. If they cannot do that, they must trump the trick. If they cannot trump the trick, they can play any card.
The next player must do the same. If the trick is trumped, the next player must play a higher trump card if they can. If they cannot, they may play any card. Essentially, a player must beat the highest played card at that point if they are able to.
The highest card in the suit that is led or the highest ranking trump card takes the trick. The trick-winner leads the next one, and play continues until all three tricks are complete.
After scoring the round, deal passes left. Continue play until one player is out of chips or for an agreed upon number of rounds.
At the end of the round, any player who did not capture at least one trick (or two for picking up the trump card) must pay the Tomate penalty into the pot. In this case, each player would pay three chips.
The pot is then divided into thirds (one third for each trick). Players win one third for each trick they capture.
The player with the most chips at the end of the game wins.