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How to Play Bid Whist

  1. PLAYERS OPERATE AS PARTNERS: The person across from you is your partner, and the two of you will work together to win the game.

  2. PLAYERS BID TO DECIDE TRUMP: Check out your hand. Do you have enough cards in the same suit to control the game? By enough, I mean five or more with at least three boss cards. If you do, go ahead and bid. Some folk bid with less, hoping their partner is holding, or the Kitty is good. As a beginner, you may not want to try that. When you bid, you say whether your bid is uptown (high) or downtown (low). A low bid overrides (takes out) a high bid of the same size, and a No Trump bid overrides (takes out) a low bid of the same size. No Trump bids are not recommended for beginners.

  3. BOSS CARDS CAN BE HIGH OR LOW: Boss cards in Bid Whist can be high (Hi Joker, Lo Joker, Ace, King, Queen, etc.) or low (Hi Joker, Lo Joker, Ace, Deuce, Tray, etc.) The Jokers become whatever suit is trump and have no value in a No Trump.

  4. BIDDING: The person to the left of the dealer bids first and bidding goes around the table with the dealer bidding last. You only get one bid per deal, so be careful. The highest bid is seven, and the lowest is three. Within each bid you can select high, low or no. If you select high then the best cards are (Hi Joker, Lo Joker, Ace, King, Queen, etc.). If you select low then the best cards are Hi Joker, Lo Joker, Ace, Deuce, Tray, etc. If you select a four no then is is a "no trump bid". No bids are best dealt with by experienced players. If you win the bid with a high or low bid then you have to select a trump before you get the kitty. If you win with a no bid, then you have to say whether high cards or low cards are the best cards before you get the kitty. Generally speaking unless you are playing with all beginners no winning bid is ever less than a four high. Some people will try to bid say a three high to tell their partner they have a better high hand than low hand.

  5. THE KITTY: There are fifty-four cards in bid whist, thirteen in each suit plus the two Jokers. Each player gets twelve cards and the other six go into the Kitty. The person who gets the bid also gets the Kitty. The cards from the Kitty go into your hand. Now, look carefully at your hand and take out six losing cards. Be sure to keep trumps and boss cards. No matter how many losers you have, you can only remove six cards. The six discarded cards are your first trick or book.

  6. PLAYING THE GAME: Collect trumps first! There is nothing worse than having your opponent slap one of your boss cards in the face with his only small trump.

  7. PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT IS BEING PLAYED: (a) If your opponents are no longer playing trumps, stop collecting them. (b) Do not renege. Each time a card is led, all other players must play a card of the same suit, unless they don't have any. (c) If your partner seems to be discarding a suit, if possible, lead a card to see if she has boss cards in that suit.


  8. KEEPING SCORE: There are thirteen possible books. The six discarded cards in the Kitty are your first book. The other twelve come from playing the hand. Each book counts as one point and seven points wins the game. The first six books, including the book of discards that go into the kitty, are not counted. However, the easiest way to figure your progress is to keep track of the number of books your opponents have. If you bid three, you have to make sure your opponents get no more than four books.
    5 books by your opponents set a bid of 3
    4 books by your opponents set a bid of 4
    3 books by your opponents set a bid of 5
    2 books by your opponents set a bid of 6
    1 book by your opponents sets a bid of 7
    If you don't make your bid, you go under by the number you bid. Go under by seven points and your opponents win the game. Points are doubled on a No Trump bid, but new players should beware of bidding a No Trump.

  9. NO TRUMP: There is also a version of Bid Whist that is played without trumps, but you need to be a whiz at the game to manage that.

  10. TRASH TALKING: Boasting about your own skills and downgrading your opponents' skills is one way to rattle them and get an advantage. However you should always be courteous. Trash talking must not spill over into personal attacks.


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