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13 : The Ultimate Trump Card

500 or Five Hundred is a trick-taking game developed in the United States from Euchre.[1] Euchre was extended to a 10 card game with bidding and a Misere contract similar to Russian Preference, producing a good cut-throat three player game like Preference[2] and a four player game played in partnerships like Whist which is the most popular modern form, although with special packs it can be played by up to six players. It arose in America before 1900 and was promoted by the US Playing Card Company, who copyrighted and marketed a deck with a set of rules in 1904.[3] In 1906 the US Playing Card Company released the improved Avondale scoring table to remove bidding irregularities. 500 is a social card game and was highly popular in the United States until around 1920 when first auction bridge and then contract bridge drove it from favour.[4] It continues to be popular in Ohio and Pennsylvania, where it has been taught through six generations community-wide, and in other countries: Australia, New Zealand, Canada (especially Ontario and Quebec) and Shetland. Despite its American origin, 500 is the national card game of Australia.[5]

13 : The Ultimate Trump Card

Of the many variants to 500, the standard deck contains 43 playing cards: a joker is included (sometimes two, in which case the black joker beats the red one), and the 2s, 3s, and two 4s are removed. Either the two black 4s are removed,[6] or the 4 of spades and 4 of diamonds are removed, in which case the 4 that matches the trump colour is also considered trump, so that there are always 13 trump cards (14 when using two jokers). Cards are dealt to each of the four players and three (four with two jokers) are dealt face down on the table to form the kitty (also known as the widow, the blind or the hole card). Alternatively, a 45-card deck can be used (46 with two jokers), in which case the 4s are not removed. Each player still receives a hand of 10 cards, but the kitty is increased to five cards (six with two jokers).

Players play in pairs, usually opposite each other. Traditionally, a bundle of three cards is dealt to each player, one to the kitty, a bundle of four to each player, one to the kitty, a bundle of three to each player, one to the kitty or with a 45-card deck: the deal is performed by dealing three cards to each player, then placing three cards in the kitty, four cards each and two to the kitty, and then three. In some versions, if a player does not receive a face card this is considered a misdeal and a redeal may be required.

As in euchre, in non-trump suits, the order of cards from highest to lowest is ace, king, queen, (jack), 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, (4). In the trump suit, the highest card is the joker, sometimes known as best bower in reference to the trump jacks, followed by the jack of the trump suit called right bower, and then the jack of the suit of the same colour as the trump suit called left bower, which is considered part of the trump suit, followed by the ace, king, queen, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, (4).

In American play, there is only one round of bidding, with each player getting one chance, in turn, to either bid or pass. The player making the successful bid then collects the kitty. This player sorts through their hand and discards the least-useful three (or five in the case of a 45-card deck) cards (possibly including cards picked up from the kitty), and places them face down; the discarded cards playing no further part in the hand.

If nobody makes a bid, there are multiple variations. Most commonly, the hand is declared dead and a reshuffle and redeal is made. This can be repeated only twice, after which the deal passes to the next player. Alternatively, the game is played where no bids mean the round is played as no-trump, and scoring is ten points per trick. Other variations include that the deal passes to the next player (no reshuffle); or that if no one else makes a bid, the dealer is required to make a bid.

The game focuses on tricks. The lead starts with the player who won the bidding. In some variations, the player to the dealer's left leads first regardless of who won the bid. Players must follow suit if they can (this includes the left bower or any other card that is considered a trump, if trump is led). If a player no longer has any cards of the suit that is led, they may play any card in their hand. After all four players have played a card, the highest trump takes the trick. If no trump is played, the highest card of the lead suit wins the trick. The winner of the trick leads on the next trick. Once all ten tricks have been played, the hand is scored. The player to the left of the previous dealer deals for the next hand, so that the deal moves clockwise around the table.[8]

Double nullo may be called by one partner even if the other partner passes. In this instance the player who calls nullo draws in his/her partner and both must play and not take any tricks. The person who calls double nullo picks up the kitty and gives the five cards he/she wants to discard to their partner. Their partner then must take those five cards and pick the ones he/she wants to keep and discard the rest.

Variations exist, with appropriate additions or deductions to the deck for playing three, five or six-handed 500. Three-handed uses no teams, five-handed teams rotate and each player takes a turn without a partner, six-handed can be played as either three teams of two or two teams of three. Six-handed 500 requires a special deck with 63 cards.

Two-handed 500 is played with a deck of 43 cards as per the standard game. Whereas in the standard game which includes partners, in the Two-handed game each player plays both the hand that is dealt to them and their partner's which is dealt to the table. The deal is the same as the standard game, except that the partners hands are dealt to the table so that they have 5 cards face down, each covered by a face up card (to give a total of 10 cards). Bidding is the same as the standard game except Misère is generally not allowed. The kitty is used with the player's hand only and no cards can be swapped between the hands. Order of play is as per the standard game. After each trick any exposed face down cards from the partner's hands are turned up and revealed. Play then continues with the lead from the hand that won the last trick.

An alternative version is played with the standard 52 card deck. Each player is dealt ten cards and then 8 more cards are exposed on the table. Each player chooses one of these cards to be added to the kitty. No dummies are used and the bidding is standard. After the bid is won the defending player adds one of the remaining exposed cards to their hand and discards an unwanted card. The remaining exposed cards are added to the dead card pile.

One additional variant is to use a standard game deck of 45 (or 43) cards and have players alternate in drawing cards from the central deck. The kitty is set aside in advance, and in turn, players draw a card, choose to keep or discard it, and then either discard or keep the next card, taking the opposite action as with the previous card.

Three-handed 500 is played with a deck of 33 cards (a joker plus a "Piquet pack", i.e. 2s, 3s, 4s, 5s and 6s removed from the standard 52 cards[9]). Dealing, scoring and game play are as for the standard game. The common variant is in bidding, where misère may be bid before a bid for seven tricks. This variant is permitted due to the relative rarity of seven-trick bids outside of team play. Open misère may be bid in a similar fashion. Alternatively, the game may be played with the standard deck (45 or 43 cards) with one hand dealt face down, which remains untouched during the game (a so-called "dead hand"). The common strategy is that the two players who are unsuccessful in bidding form a temporary alliance in an attempt to force the other player to lose their bid.

The attacking player takes the kitty and discards six cards of their choice, and no other player may see them. The bidding goes accordingly with the other variation, and Misère ("Nulot") may be allowed. The "petite" misère is equal to 500 points and can only be outbid by 8NT while "la grosse" or open misère is worth 1000 points and can only be outbid by 10NT (the latter is distinguished in that all cards are placed face-up on the table).

Bids are typically made with the consideration that one will be receiving cards from the kitty and playing with a partner (except for misère and open misère) who hopefully will also be able to win a certain number of tricks. While the number of tricks one feel one's partner will be able to win will vary in each situation, one should bid based on that assumption and not only on the cards in one's hand.

A simple strategy to bidding is to attempt to predict how the unaccounted-for trump cards (the ones one don't actually hold in one's hand) would be distributed among the remaining players, excluding the kitty, with all things being equal. In other words, if one hold seven cards of one suit it can be helpful to assume that the remaining six trump cards are distributed evenly among the remaining three players (two each and none in the kitty). Doing so can provide a basic idea of how many times one's opponents will be able to follow suit in each of the four suits.

If one are successful at bidding a suited contract and are awarded the kitty, a basic strategy of discarding is to eliminate as many non-trump suits from one's hand as possible, thus giving the most opportunity to use trump cards. However, discarding as many suits as possible is only a basic strategy, and should be met with some qualifications.

First, in most contract bids it is beneficial to keep an ace of any non-trump suit, as with all things being equal each player will with high probability have at least two cards of any given non-trump suit, making the ace of that suit a winning card.

Sometimes called flushing or bleeding trump, leading the trump suit immediately can often be (but isn't always) an effective strategy. This is typically done in the following situations. 041b061a72


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