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Barbu Card Game Rules


Barbu is a trick taking game that originated in France where players try to win the most points after 28 rounds. Barbu is played with 4 players.


Play Multiplayer Barbu Online

The Deck and the Deal

Barbu is played with a standard deck of 52 playing cards. Once chosen, the dealer passes out 13 cards to each player.

How to Play

A randomly selected player becomes the first declarer; the dealer position rotates after every round for 28 rounds. At the beginning of each round, the dealer selects which contract will be played for the round.

The Contracts

The contracts are divided into positive and negative contracts, based on the points available.

Negative Contracts

No Last Two: The objective is to avoid winning the last two tricks. The winner of the second-last trick is penalized -10 points. The winner of the last trick is penalized -20 points.

No Tricks: The objective is to avoid winning any tricks. The winner of each trick is penalized -2 points.

No Barbu: The objective is to avoid the Barbu (King of Hearts). Whoever takes the trick with the Barbu is penalized -20 points. Leading with hearts is forbidden until someone has played hearts in a trick.

No Hearts: The objective is to avoid all Hearts cards. Each Hearts card won in a trick has a penalty of -2 points, except the Ace which has a penalty of -6 points.

No Queens: The objective is to avoid all Queen cards. Each Queen taken in a trick has a penalty of -6 points. The round ends when all the Queens have been taken.

Positive Contracts

Trumps: The objective is to win maximum tricks. The declarer chooses the trump suit and play follows standard trick-taking rules. Each trick won is worth 5 points.

Dominoes: The objective is to get rid of your cards quickly and this contract does not involve any trick-taking. The declarer plays a card face up. Cards of the same rank or an adjacent card within the same suit to any card on the table can be played. If a player has no valid cards, they pass their turn.

The first player to get rid of their whole hand scores 45 points. The next player to do so scores 20 points, the third scores 5 points and the last is penalized -5 points.


Players can win or lose additional points by making side-bets with each other. This is done by choosing to 'double' another player after the contract has been chosen for the round.

Whichever player scores more than another player in the round wins their side-bet. As payment, the difference between their scores for the round is added into the winner's score and subtracted from the loser's score.

A player who has been doubled may choose to 'redouble' in response. In this case, double the difference in scores is applied.

The declarer cannot double other players - they can only redouble.

The other players are required to double the declarer twice during every set of seven rounds. It can also be set to 1, 3, 4 or 5 times, or the rule can be disabled entirely.


The method of scoring depends on the contract being played and on whether players have chosen to double. Points can only be gained in the positive contracts. In the negative contracts, players attempt to avoid losing points.


Whoever has the most points at the end of the 28 rounds wins.


CardzMania supports several customizable rules and options so you can play Barbu exactly how you like or how you grew up playing with your friends and family. In addition to the classic way of playing, we often have new creative options for you to try to spice up the game if you are interested in trying different spins for fun.


Players only have a set amount of time to make their turn after which a turn is automatically played for them and the game proceeds: Fast is 7 seconds, Standard is 15 seconds, Slow is 30 seconds, and Very Slow is 60 seconds. Players can also choose to disable the timer, but that is only for private tables.


When enabled, players can double (challenge) an opponent and the winner is awarded the difference of players' scores. If redoubled by the declarer, then they are awarded double the difference of players' scores.

Must Double

When enabled, players must double each declarer for a minimum number of times. The available options are: 1, 2 (Default), 3, 4, 5.

Rotate Dealer

When enabled, the dealer is rotated after every round which means the declarer also changes every round. When disabled, the same declarer decides the contract multiple times until each contract has been played once and then the next person becomes the declarer.


All contracts can be disabled individually, and three additional contracts are available. These are all negative contracts:

No Men: The objective is to avoid King and Jack cards. Each King or Jack won in a trick is worth a penalty of -3 points.

No Trumps: The objective is to avoid winning too many cards of any single suit. Whoever wins the most cards in a single suit is penalized -36 points. In the case of a tie, the points are divided evenly between the tied players.

No 7th Last: The objective is to avoid winning the 7th or last trick. Winning the 7th trick has a penalty of -10 points and the last has a penalty of -20 points.

Trick Basics

Trick Taking games center around having the highest ranked card in a draw. Typically, players of trick taking games sit in a circle, sometimes in teams and sometimes playing solo, and are dealt a hand of cards. Given the specific game's card ranking (and trump - special suit that beats other suits), players draw a card from their hand in hopes that it outranks the other cards played. The player who outranks the others wins the trick for that round and gameplay is repeated until the cards are exhausted. Typically the player or team with the most tricks wins the game.

In a trick, each player plays a single card. One player is selected to start, then play proceeds clockwise around the table. If possible, players must play a card which is the same suit as the first card played - this is called 'following suit'. If a player cannot follow suit, then they may play any card in their hand. Based on the cards played, one player is declared the winner of the trick, usually for playing the highest value card of the trump suit, or of the suit of the card which started the trick.

After all cards have been dealt, normal trick taking commences. Remember all cards of the suit declared as trump (trump cards) beats any other suit. Whichever team wins seven tricks out of thirteen wins the round, winning all thirteen tricks is referred to as court. If the dealers team achieves this feat, its called a goon court. In single sir, winning the first seven consecutive tricks constitutes a court.

After cards dealt, depending on the trump, you have to figure out your strategy for the game whether to play trump first or not. In single sir / single sar winning the first seven tricks constitutes as a court or a goon court, so the strategy is very different than double sir / double sar. Whichever team (dealers team or trump callers team) wins seven tricks wins the deal and the opposing team becomes the dealer. In double sir, you have to win two consecutive tricks, so the strategy is totally different as you need to keep another high card to win the pile. Note that the second and the second last trick cannot be won, so you have to be extra careful about that too. This game is played in many variations so you have to be extra careful about the rules.

Based on the cards played, one player is declared the winner of the trick, usually for playing the highest value card of the trump suit, or of the suit of the card which started the trick.


The cards that a player is dealt forms their hand. Each round, a player selects one of the cards in their hand and plays them into the pile. In most trick taking games, all players are dealt the same number of cards and the hand is hidden from the other players, but in some games, like 500, a player can reveal their hand for bonus points.


The pile is the spot where players place their chosen card for the round. The player with the highest ranked card receives all of the cards in the pile and sets them to the side. In most trick taking games, the individual cards in the pile have a specific point value that is given to the winner.


The dealer is chosen at random and passes out the deck of cards to form each player's hand. In most games, the dealer position rotates to the left once the deck needs to be re-shuffled and re-dealt.


Arguably the most important part of any trick taking game, the trump suit is the highest ranked suit in the game. Every game has its own method of selecting trump. Some games leave the selection up to the winner of the bid while some games make the suit of the lead card the trump suit.


The ranking of the cards is dependent on the game. Ace is usually considered the highest in trick games, but some games from Europe, like Klaverjassen, have the Jack of trump the highest card.


Most trick taking games contain an auctioning/bidding phase at the beginning of gameplay. During this time, players take turns bidding how many tricks they expect to win in the game. The player with the highest bid leads the first trick and decides the trump suit in most games. Often times, if the winner of the bid, sometimes called the declarer, fails to win the amount of tricks they bidded, they receive a lot of penalty points

Lead Card

The Lead card is the first card in the trick. In most trick taking games, subsequent players need to play the suit of the lead card if they can.

Card Game Basics

A deck of cards consists of 52 cards, with 4 distinctive subgroups. Each of these subgroups is recognised by a symbol and are referred to as suits. They consist of Clubs, Spades, Hearts and Diamonds. Each suit contains 13 cards which, generally, are considered in this order, Ace (A), 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, Jacks (J), Queen (Q) and King (K). Some games include the two Jokers found in a standard deck but most games don't.


Would like to discuss new features or variations for Barbu? Need a custom rule? Have a question? Got a suggestion? Don't see a game you want to play? Please contact us by email, facebook or twitter - we really value your feedback and love hearing from all of you!

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