OBJECTIVE OF WHIST: Score points by winning tricks.

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 4 players (play in partnerships)

NUMBER OF CARDS: two 52 card decks 

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

TYPE OF GAME: Trick-Taking



Whist was the most popular card game in the 18th and 19th centuries. Prior to Whist, a game dubbed Ruff and Honours was its predecessor.

Following Whist, Bridge replaced it as the most popular game played among serious card players. Whist gets its name from the 17th century word whist (or wist) which means quiet or silent, and is the root of the contemporary word wistful. 


The player to the left of the dealer shuffles the cards and the player to the right of the dealer cuts the deck. However, the dealer has the authority to shuffle last.

WHIST, WHIST players, shuffler, dealer, cutter of deck

After, the dealer passes each player 13 cards. Cards are dealt one at a time and face-down. The last card, which is the dealers, is the trump card.

The Trump Suit

The suit of the trump card becomes the trump suit. Cards from this suit have the ability to trump cards of other suits in a trick.

A trick is a hand, typically cards played in a trick try to follow the suit of the lead card or the first card played. The highest-ranking card wins the trick, so, a high-ranking trump card has the potential to win any trick.

The game traditionally uses two decks. While each deal takes place, the dealer’s partner shuffles the second deck and sets it off to the right. The next dealer then only needs to pick up the deck and have them cut by the player to their right.


The player to the left of the dealer leads the first trick. They may choose any card to lead with. Play moves clockwise. Each player plays exactly one card per trick, trying to match the suit of the lead card. If the suit cannot be followed, they may play any card. The trick is won by playing the highest value trump card, or if there are no trumps played, the highest-ranking card of the suit led. The player who wins a trick leads on the next.

WHIST, WHIST gameplay, dealer first player
WHIST, WHIST turn example, trumps, winner


After the 13 tricks have been played, the team which won the most tricks gets 1 point per trick won, in excess of six.

The game ends when a team earns a total of 5 points.

Still want more whist content? you can find more at out Whist Master List, and if you’re looking for more classic whist rules, you can find that here.


How do you win Whist?

Traditionally Whist is played to 5 points. The first team to achieve 5 points wins the game.

How many players can play the game of Whist?

Traditional Whist is a four-player game, played with partnerships of two players each.

What does a player do when they cannot follow suit?

If when you play Whist you cannot follow suit, you may play a card of any suit, including the trump suit.

What players are on teams?

The dealer and the player across from the dealer are traditionally a team, while the player to the dealer’s left and right are the other team.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (8 votes, average: 3.00 out of 5)