The game consists of four players on two teams with 32 cards in 4 suits: 7, 8, 9, 10, J, Q, K, A. To determine who deals, any player deals one card face up to each player, the high card wins the deal.
Each team starts with 12 points. The first team to reach 0, wins the game.
The dealer deals four cards at a time around the table twice. Each player has eight cards. If there are any mistakes such as three or five cards misdealt, the deal pases to the opponent to the left.
BIDDING: The player to the left of the dealer has the first bid. Players may bid only once. Bidding starts at 100 or more and can be increased by 10 or more by the next bidder. Bidding is done according to the meld and strength of the plaing hand. In order for meld to count, that team must have been the highest bidder and the partner's meld may also be added on. The first card played is ALWAYS trump - even if by mistake. When the bidder leads and the trick is taken in, turned face down and the second card is played, then meld MUST be shown. If shown after that, it will not be counted.
MELD VALUE: King & queen of trump, 20 points; three cards of the same suit in sequence, 20 points; four card run, 50 points; 5 card run, 100 points; six card run has the same value as 5 card run. If any of the runs contain the king and queen of trump, add an additional 20 points . Four aces, kings or queens of trump, count 100 points. Four jacks were worth 200 points, (Four 10s, 9s, 8s, or 7s have no value) You may use a card only once when counting meld. Example: If you had 4 jacks and the jack, queen and king, you cannot count the jack as part of the run. Any card that is melded in a meld spread can be counted only once, EXCEPT the king and queen of trump - they may be used twice. If the king or queen is first played on a trick, you must say "marriage" when it is played in order to count it.
PONDER: If a player has all eight trump, when it is his turn to bid he may say, "LAYDOWN PONDER". It counts as 7 points. If a player can reasonably expect to take all 8 tricks, he may say PONDER. If he is successful, it is worth 6 points. If the bidder loses a trick, he is set and 6 points are added to his score and 6 points are deducted from the opponents score.
If the bidder is set, that amount is added to their score (according to the table above) and the opponents have the same number removed from their score.
When one team reaches 0, the game is over and the winners score 12 points, The opponents receive points according to their score. The points are figured by subtracting the remaining points from 12. The difference is the score. Example: 0 - 4 = 12 & 8. Four games are usually played in tournaments.
PLAYING: The highest card is the jack of trump followed by the nine of trump. Next is the ace, king, etc. The high non-trump cards are ace, king, etc. When TRUMP is played, you must follow suit. IMPORTANT: You do not have to follow suit when anouther suit is played and may trump it - even if you have a card of that suit in your hand. However, you may NOT under-trump your opponents trick. When playing a card on a trick that will almost surely be your team's trick, try to lay on a point card like a ten, to increase your team's point total when the cards are counted at the end of the hand. Try to give your opponent a few points as possible. Sometimes you may even play an ace on the trick.
POINT CARDS: The jack of trump - 20 points, the nine of trump 14, ace 11, king 3 and the queen 2. Non-trump point value: aces - 11, tens - 10, kings - 3, queens - 2 and jacks are 1. There are total of 141 points and 60 of these are trump points. The 9, 8, and 7 have no point value.
Helpful hints: A bid of 130 means your partner has 50 meld, a bid of 140 means 100 meld. A bid of 240 usually means your partner has all 4 jacks.