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500 Card Game

Updated on September 29, 2010

Five Hundred is a card game combining the principles of bridge and euchre. Five hundred was invented in 1904 by the United States Playing Card Company.

Preliminaries

For the three-handed version of the game, all 2's through 6's in a standard pack of cards are discarded, and a joker is added. The joker is the highest card, and the remaining cards rank as in euchre.

The trump cards rank: joker, right bower (jack of the trump suit), left bower (jack of the suit of the same color as the trump suit), A, K, Q, 10, 9, 8, and 7. Cards in the nontrump suits rank: joker, A, K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, and 7. Trump is described below. In bidding, suits rank: hearts (high), diamonds, clubs, and spades.

A player is dealt ten cards in sets of three, four, and three. After the first round of the deal a set of three cards, the widow, is placed facedown on the table.

Object

The object of the game is to score 500 points by winning tricks. A trick is won by the person who plays the highest trump or, if the trick contains no trump, by the highest card of the suit led. As in bridge and other games, a trump is a card in a suit, designated in the bidding, that wins over any card of any other suit. There are a total of ten tricks.

Bidding

In bidding, a player states the highest number of tricks he thinks he can win. The person making the highest bid becomes the contractor, plays against the other two players, and will get a good score if he wins enough' tricks.

A player also names the suit he wants to be trumps if he gets the bid. To bid a suit, a player should have at least five cards in that suit. A no-trump bid means that the bidder wants no suit to be trump and wants the winner of a trick to be the highest card in the suit led.

The minimum bid is six in a suit or six no-trump. The player at the dealer's left bids first, and each bid must be higher than the preceding bid. No-trump is higher in rank than any suit. A player not wishing to bid may pass. If all players pass, the deal is usually abandoned without any score.

The Play

In the play the object of the contractor is to fulfill the contract by winning the number of tricks he bid. If he fails, he goes set. The object of the opponents is to cause the contractor to go set by taking as many tricks as possible themselves.

The play begins by the contractor's taking the widow into his hand without showing it and discarding any three cards facedown. He then leads a card. The other players must follow suit if possible. The leader at any time may lead any card. If a player is unable to follow suit, he may play any other card, including a trump card. The winner of each trick leads to the next. The hand ends when all ten tricks have been taken. Each player takes in and keeps the tricks he wins.

Scoring

Each opponent scores separately, whether the contract is made or defeated, 10 points for every trick he takes. The contractor, if he fulfills the contract, scores according to the following table:

Denomination
Number of Tricks
Number of Tricks
Number of Tricks
Number of Tricks
Number of Tricks
 
6
7
8
9
10
Spades
40
140
240
340
440
Clubs
60
160
260
360
460
Diamonds
80
180
280
380
480
Hearts
100
200
300
400
500
No-Trump
120
220
320
420
520

Tricks taken in excess of the bid do not count unless the contractor takes all ten tricks and the value of his bid was less than 250. In this case he scores 250. When a contractor goes set, the bid value is subtracted from his score. The player who first reaches 500 wins the game.

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