tripoli rules title

OBJECTIVE OF TRIPOLI: Have the most chips after 3 rounds!

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 4-7 players

MATERIALS: Poker chips, board to mark and receive the stakes

NUMBER OF CARDS: standard 52 card deck

RANK OF CARDS: A (high), K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2

TYPE OF GAME: Gambling



Tripoli, or as it is also often referred to, Three in One, is a contemporary version of the 500-year-old European game Poch. The game can be bought in store in North America under the card games names TRIPOLEY, Rummoli, Michigan Rummy, and Royal Rummy. However, in German, people can still purchase the original version- Poch (Le Poque).

The game consists of three stages. The first stage, players who have certain cards in hand collect their stakes. In the second stage, players play in a similar manner to Poker, and the last stage is reminiscent of Michigan or Boodle. 

The game uses a board, or cloth, as depicted below in order to mark and receive different stakes.

tripoli board layout

The game also utilizes chips to bet.


Prior to dealing out the cards, players are required to place nine chips on the board. One chip goes to each of the spaces labeled: 8-9-10, King-Queen of Hearts, the Kitty, Ten of Hearts, Jack of Hearts, Queen of Hearts, King of Hearts, Ace of Hearts, and Pot. Some spots may have unclaimed chips from bets from previous games, simply add yours to these.

Once the stakes are placed, the dealer passes each player one card at a time, face-down. The dealer also deals out a spare hand at the same time. Some players may have more cards than others.

The dealer may, if they don’t like their hand, exchange it with the spare hand. They are not allowed to examine the hand prior to swapping. The dealer’s original hand becomes the new spare hand. Hands may not be combined.

The dealer may also auction the spare hand to the highest bidder. The hand remains unseen in the scenario as well. The player who buys it discards their hand and pays the dealer in chips for the spare. If no one wishes to buy the hand during an auction, the dealer can still swap their hand for it. The dealer can also auction their hand to the bidder after trading it for the spare.

Once a hand is exchanged or auctioned, it may not go back.

Players keep the same hand for all three parts of the game.


Players who hold the same suit of Ace, King, Queen, Jack, or Ten of hearts takes the chips from the corresponding space.

If a player has both the Queen and King of Hearts, they take chips from both the King and Queen spaces as well as the King-Queen space.

The chips on 8-9-10 can be taken by players with an 8-9-10 in sequence from any one suit (it is not required to be hearts). If two or more players satisfy this, they share the chips equally.

Remaining chips are left for future hands so that someone may claim them.


In the middle of the game is a poker round. Each player creates a 5 card hand and separates it from the rest of their cards. You do not have to make this the best hand possible if you wish to save some cards from being revealed for later in the game. If you are unfamiliar with poker hand combinations, refer to our poker hand rankings page.


Bets are placed in the pot space on the layout.

During gameplay in poker, when it is your turn to bet you have three options:

  • Call. You may call by betting the amount wagered by a previous player. For example, if you bet 5 cents and another player raises the bet amount to a dime (raises 5 cents), you may call on your turn by paying the pot 5 cents, thus matching the 10 cent bet amount.
  • Raise. You may raise by first betting the amount equal to the current wager and then bet more. This increases the wager or bet amount on the hand which other players must match if they wish to remain in the game.
  • Fold. You may fold by laying down your cards and not betting. You do not have to put money in the pot but you do sit out on that hand. You forfeit any money wagered and have no opportunity to win the pot.

Betting rounds continue until all players have called, folded, raised/have placed equal stakes. If a player raises, once the raise has been called by all remaining players, and there was no other raise, the betting round ends.


Once all players have put in equal stakes the showdown occurs. The player with the highest ranking hand takes the pot. If two or more players have highest ranking hands that are equal, the pot is split between them evenly.

Typically, the game has a betting limit that is mutually agreed upon before starting.

PART THREE – Michigan

After the poker phase concludes, players pick up their whole hands and play some Michigan. The winner of the poker pot starts the next game by leading a card. In the even there was a tie, the winner sitting closest to the left of the dealer starts or the dealer starts. The leading card may be of any suit the player chooses, however, it must be the lowest ranking card form that suit they have in hand.

The player who holds the next card in sequence form that suit must play it, placing it face-up on the table. This continues until players finish the sequence with an Ace or can no longer continue. A card that cannot be followed is called a stop card. 

Once a stop card is reached, or an Ace, the player who played either the Ace or the Stop card starts again. They may play a card from any suit but the one previously player. The same rules apply as with the first round.

Play continues in this manner until someone runs out of cards. Once this happens, the game stops immediately. The player who played their whole hand wins all the chips in the Kitt on the board. Also, they win from each player the number of chips equal to the cards in their personal hand.

If a player cannot lead after playing an Ace or a Stop card, the turn to lead passes to the player sitting to their left. If that player can also not lead, this continues passing to the left until someone can play.


The game can be continued on until players wish to stop. When they do, there will probably be some unclaimed chips. These chips are typically played for with an extra round of poker. The winner takes all the extra chips. The player with the most chips is the winner of the game!

Nakoa Davis

23 thoughts on “TRIPOLI CARD GAME RULES”

    • Once all players have put in equal stakes the showdown occurs. The player with
      the highest ranking hand takes the pot. If two or more players have highest
      ranking hands that are equal, the pot is split between them evenly.

    • Hi Mark, cards are not played out of hand in stage one. Players just collect chips in regards to what they are holding in their hands. To answer your question more thoroughly though, all cards in hand will be available to you through all three rounds.

  1. A very contentious issue arose in our game tonight that nearly prompted my ousting from the family, and at a minimum may cause me to sleep on the couch for a week. The issue is……must one play a card during Michigan Rummy or can they choose to not play that card? It seems that if they must play, then there is no strategy to this part of the game and it’s all left to chance. I must say my way of thinking was less than popular.

    Any clarification would be appreciated!

    • Hi Keith, sorry to hear about your near ousting, but unfortunately your family was correct. You must play the card. I hope this helps!

  2. My family has played this game for years over generations. However we have never automatically given the chips on the board to the person holding the corresponding cards, they must be played during Michigan in order to receive the chips. If someone plays all their cards before you get a chance to play your, say Ace of Hearts or KQ of hearts, you don’t get those chips, and they grow for the next round.

    • Hi Larrysue, you must have 9 chips in order to play a round of Tripoli. You will need to purchase more chips if your group allows.

  3. My family (6 total) play every Saturday night. Several comments and questions. First is that you only collect pay cards in the rummy hand which in turn can build the pots for each higher. I notice everywhere you look there is no layout showing cards played by each player which brings to issue the problem of NOT playing a card as a strategy. Unfortunately, you MUST play cards in sequence and use lowest card of that suit. I think that the board in front of each player not only show what cards were played but offset the lead card so that if a player misplays or doesn’t play properly, then they must match the kitty. But wouldn’t a redeal at that point take place? What should happen and what if money was taken for a pay card? ANY help or suggestions

    • Hi Brian, I am having a little trouble with your comment, any further clarification would be wonderful. As for what to do during a misplay, it really depends on the group, as there is no hard-fast rule. Might I suggest the offending player paying an additional stake into the pot, or possibly a complete reset of the board and payouts for this round. I hope this helps. Let me know if I can be of any further assistance. Thank you.

  4. Hey Amber. The situation was a player played 10 of diamonds instead of playing the 7 and then no other player played the jack because the player who had the 10 had the jack also. Don’t know how to explain that in rummy you have to play by the rules unlike poker you ARE allowed to bluff. right? I was thinking the cards that are played in rummy be lined up in front of you as you play and then when you lead with a card THAT card be offset from the other cards so the other players can see what cards you played AND see what ones you lead with so that they are the lost card in a suit. We also play for nickels so it can be a little heated between family members. but very fun!!!

    • Hi Brian, so during the Michigan phase you are not allowed to bluff and must play cards in order. if a player played cards out of turn or lied about having a card that is a misplay. As far as playing with cards in front of you, this may be a valid change of rules to prevent this in the future.

  5. We have added an additional rule — when playing the Michigan Rummy, after a stop card is played, the next play has to be the opposite colored suit. So if diamonds were played and stopped, the next play must be the low card in a black suit. This causes some shake up toward the end of the round!

    • Hello! I would not call myself a Tripoli savant but I can give you a few quick tips. For the first round of play, the hearts round, this pretty much comes down to luck. You either have the cards or you don’t. The second round is when things start to be influenced. For the poker round you want to build the best hand you can make but make sure not to use all your good cards here. Think of the stradgy to build a hand that just barely beats all the others. This can take time to master and still relies a lot on the luck of the deal. For the final round, you want to see how well your cards can play off each other. You want to use your low cards to end suits and start new ones with your higher cards. As with all things practice is your best teacher. I hope this helps!

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