Card Games/All Fours

From Wikibooks, open books for an open world
Jump to: navigation, search
This game, usually played by two or four persons with a complete pack of 52 cards, derives its name from the four chances therein, for each of which a point is scored, namely High, the best trump out; Low, the smallest trump dealt; Jack, the Knave of trumps; Game, the majority of pips reckoned from such of the following cards as the respective players have in their tricks, viz.: every Ace is counted as 4; King 3; Queen 2; Knave 1; and Ten for 10. Low is always scored by the person to whom it was dealt; but Jack is the property of whoever can win or save it. In playing, you must either follow suit, or trump, on penalty of your adversary's adding one point to his game.
After cutting for deal, 6 cards are to be given to each player, and the next turned up for trump; then if the eldest does not like his cards, he may, for once in a hand, say I beg, when the dealer must either give a point or 3 more cards to each, and turn up the next for trump; but if that should prove of the same suit as the first turned up, then 3 cards more are to be given, and so on till a different suit occurs. The cards rank as at whist.

—after various editions of "Hoyle"

Basic game variants[edit]


Basic All Fours Players: 2–8 or 2×2 Cards: 52
Deal: 6 (3+3) Trumps: Random suit Trick-play rule: Follow suit or trump
Pips
Rank A K Q J 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2
Value 4 3 2 1 10 0
Scoring points
Name Description Points Receiver
High highest trump out 1 original owner =
eventual owner
Low lowest trump out 1 original owner
Jack Jack of trumps 1 eventual owner
Game most pips in tricks 1 eventual owner

The players may play individually or in equal-sized teams, seated alternatingly. Default play rotation is clockwise in most areas. Players cut for first deal. Cards rank as in Whist and have certain numerical values called pips as shown in the table. In each deal up to 4 scoring points are distributed among the parties. The first party to reach 11 scoring points over several deals wins the game.

The dealer shuffles and the player sitting before the dealer cuts. The dealer hands out 6 cards to each player in batches of 3, then turns up the next card to determine the trump suit.

Eldest hand leads to the first trick, and the winner of each trick leads to the next. Standard trick-play rules are in effect with the exception that a player who can follow suit to a plain suit lead is nevertheless allowed to play a trump.

At the end of the deal scoring points are awarded as described in the table. The Jack point is not awarded if no player held the Jack of trumps. The Game point is only awarded if one party has won more pips in tricks than any other. The scoring points accrue strictly in the order given in the table, preventing ties in case more than one team reaches 11 points at the end of the deal.

Minor variations:

  • In America, played for 7 scoring points (Seven Up).


Pitch Players: 2–8 or 2×2 Cards: 52
Deal: 6 (3+3) Trumps: First card played Trick-play rule: Follow suit or trump

Like Basic All Fours, but the trump suit is not decided by cutting but as the suit of the first card that is played in trick-play. This gives eldest hand a major advantage.


Free-Style Pitch Players: 2–8 or 2×2 Cards: 52
Deal: 6 (3+3) Trumps: First card played Trick-play rule: Follow suit or trump

Like Pitch, but eldest hand may sell the privilege of pitching for scoring points to any opposing player. The scoring points change owners immediately. No negative scores.

Classical variants[edit]


All-Fours (Cotton 1674) Players: 2 Cards: 52
Deal: 6 (3+3) Trumps: Turn-up card Trick-play rule: Follow suit or trump

Like Basic All Fours, but with the following extensions. The dealer receives 1 scoring point in case a Jack is turned up. Elder hand may beg the dealer to change the trump suit. If the dealer refuses, elder hand receives one scoring point and the deal is abandoned. Otherwise the dealer runs the cards: Each player receives 3 more cards, and a new card is turned up for trumps. If the new card is of the same suit, the process is repeated as often as necessary.

It is unclear what happens if a Jack is turned up while running the cards, especially if it is of the same suit as the originally turned up card. It is unclear what happens if running the cards depletes the stock. It appears that after running the cards more tricks are played, although that is not made explicit.

Variation:

  • Running All Fours. The dealer also receives 2 scoring points for turning up a Queen, 3 for a King and 4 for an Ace. The game is played for 31 scoring points.


All-Fours (Pocket Hoyle 1807) Players: 2 Cards: 52
Deal: 6 (3+3 or 1+1+1+1+1+1) Trumps: Turn-up card Trick-play rule: Follow suit or trump

As described by Cotton, but with the following modifications. Clarifies that eldest hand may not beg more than once. Upon playing one's highest or lowest trump one may ask the opponent whether it is the highest or lowest trump in play. (In an 1814 Hoyle it is mentioned that 4 can also play. An 1845 Hoyle says that 2×2 can play and that after running the cards, cards are discarded down to six.)


All-Fours (Dick 1868) Players: 2 or 2×2 Cards: 52
Deal: 6 (3+3) Trumps: Turn-up card Trick-play rule: Follow suit or trump

As described by Cotton, but with the following modifications. If eldest hand begs and the dealer refuses, each opposing party scores 1 point for the gift, but the game is continued with the original trump suit. If running the cards cannot be continued because the stock is depleted, the deal is abandoned and the same dealer deals again. If more than two play, only the dealer and eldest hand may look at their cards before the trump suit is settled. This prevents the flow of information. In a tie for Game, eldest hand scores 1 point for Game. The game is played for 7 scoring points.

Variations:

  • The game can be played by three players. If one player wins and the other two continue, the player who goes out deals before leaving the game.
  • All-Fives. The Five of trumps is worth 5 pips, all other pip values are as usual. The winner of a trick immediately scores the pips of any trump cards it contains as scoring points. The game is played for 61 scoring points.


All Fours (Foster 1894) Players: 2–3 or 2×2 Cards: 52
Deal: 6 (3+3) Trumps: Turn-up card Trick-play rule: Follow suit or trump

As described by Cotton, but with the following modifications. If eldest hand begs and the dealer refuses, each opposing party scores 1 point, but the game is continued with the original trump suit. The point for turning up a Jack is awarded to the dealer each time the card is eligible for making trumps, i.e. it is awarded if the first card turned up is a Jack, and also if the final card turned up in running the cards is a Jack. If running the cards cannot be continued because the stock is depleted, the deal is abandoned and the same dealer deals again. If more than two play, only the dealer and eldest hand may look at their cards before the trump suit is settled. This prevents the flow of information. If the cards were run, all players discard as many as necessary to get down to 6 cards. The game is played for 7 points.

Minor variant:

  • Players only discard down to 9 cards in case they hold more than that.


Shasta Sam (Foster 1894) Players: 2 Cards: 52
Deal: 6 (3+3) Trumps: Random Trick-play rule: (Follow suit or trump)

Like Basic All Fours but the trump suit is determined by cutting before the dealer shuffles again and deals. While the stock lasts, players draw a new card each after every trick (winner of the trick first). Before the stock is empty there is no obligation to follow suit. The point for Low is awarded to the player who wins the lowest trump (always Two of trumps in this game) in a trick. Played for 7 scoring points.


California Jack (Foster 1894) Players: 2 Cards: 52
Deal: 6 (3+3) Trumps: Random Trick-play rule: (Follow suit or trump)

Like Shasta Sam, but the stock is placed on the table face up.


Commercial Pitch (Foster 1894) Players: 4–7 Cards: 52
Deal: 6 (3+3) Trumps: Auction Trick-play rule: Follow suit or trump

Like Pitch, but eldest hand must offer to sell the privilege of pitching, and it comes with an obligation to win a certain number of scoring points. Starting with the player who sits after eldest hand, the players in turn get one chance to bid 1–4 points for the privilege of pitching, or pass. Each bid must be higher than the previous one. Eldest hand immediately scores the amount of the bid. A highest bidder who does not win at least as many points as bid is set back by the amount of the bid instead of scoring any points won. A player can be in the hole, i.e. have a negative score. Eldest hand may refuse to sell the right to pitch to the highest bidder, in which case eldest takes over the obligation to win as many points as bid. Bidder goes out first, i.e. any points won by the highest bidder accrue out of order, before any points won by another party. A bidder is not allowed to bid so high that it would allow eldest hand to win the game.


Auction Pitch (Foster 1909) Players: 4–7 Cards: 52
Deal: 6 (3+3) Trumps: Auction Trick-play rule: Follow suit or trump

Like Pitch, but players bid for the privilege of pitching. Starting with eldest hand, the players in turn get one chance to bid 1–4 points for the privilege of pitching, or pass. Each bid must be higher than the previous one. The highest bidder pitches, i.e. leads to the first trick and thereby establishes the trump suit. A highest bidder who does not win at least as many points as bid is set back by the amount of the bid instead of scoring any points won. A player can be in the hole, i.e. have a negative score. Bidder goes out first, i.e. any points won by the highest bidder accrue out of order, before any points won by another party.

Minor variations:

  • A player who is not in the hole, bids 4 points, and wins them, immediately wins the entire game.

Modern variants[edit]


All Fours (Trinidad) Players: 2×2 Cards: 52
Deal: 6 (3+3) Trumps: Random Trick-play rule: Follow suit or trump

Like Basic All Fours, but with the following extensions. The game-rotation is counter-clockwise. Elder hand may beg the dealer to change the trump suit. If the dealer refuses, elder hand receives one scoring point and the original trump suit stays. Otherwise the dealer runs the cards: Each player receives 3 more cards, and a new card is turned up for trumps. If the new card is of the same suit, the process is repeated as often as necessary. All cards that were dealt are used in trick-play. The dealer immediately wins scoring points each time an Ace (1 point), Six (2 points) or Jack (3 points) is turned up. If running the cards exhausts the stock, the deal is abandoned and the same dealer deals again, the dealer's party keeping all points won for turn-up cards. A party winning the Jack of trumps from the opponents scores 3 points for Jack rather than just 1 point. The game is played for 14 points.

Minor variations:

  • In Tobago, the dealer receives 2 points for turning up a Two, rather than a Six.


All Fours (England) Players: 2×2 Cards: 52
Deal: 6 Trumps: First card played Trick-play rule: Follow suit or trump

Like Basic Pitch. Dealing happens in three rounds rather than three batches. Side payments are made for winning all four points in a single hand.

Minor variations:

  • A player who has no more trumps or counting cards may signal this to his or her partner by exposing the remaining cards and dropping out of the game.
  • The point for Low is awarded to the eventual owner of the lowest trump.

Glossary[edit]

All Fours
The first reported member of the All Fours family.
Auction Pitch
The modern form of Pitch, in which the right to pitch is auctioned by the bank.
Cinch
A version of Pedro, also known as Double Pedro.
Commercial Pitch
An earlier form of Auction Pitch in which the right to pitch is auctioned by eldest hand.
eldest hand
The player who sits after the dealer in game rotation.
eventual owner
The party in whose possession a card is after trick-play.
highest trump out
After trick-play, the highest-ranking trump in any trick.
lowest trump out
After trick-play, the lowest-ranking trump in any trick.
Off-Pedro
The Five of the non-trump suit that is of the same colour as the trump suit.
original owner
The party in whose possession a card is right before trick-play starts.
party
A single player if all players play individually. Otherwise one of the teams.
Pedro
The Five of trumps.
pitch
Play out the first card in games in which it determines the trump suit.
Pitch
A game in the All Fours family in which the first card played out fixes the trump suit.
pone
The player who is seated before the dealer in game rotation. This is the player who cuts before dealing.
Setback
A game in the All Fours family in which the right to choose the trump suit is auctioned, a highest bidder who fails to win the number of points bid being set back by the amount of the bid.
shoot the moon
See smudge.
smudge
The highest bid. In some games this is a higher bid than just winning all regular bids and involves additional tasks such as winning all tricks. May come with drastic scoring rules.
Smudge
A game in the All Fours family.