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Trick-taking card game
Alternate Names: Up and Down the River, 10-9-8, Contract Whist, Upsy-Downsy
Similar Games: Spades, Sergeant Major, Rung 325
Players: 3 - 7
Oh Hell! is a trick-taking card game where players must bid the amount of tricks they predict they will take; it may sound simple but requires a strong strategy! The card game first appeared in New York and London in the 1930's and since then has become popular all over the world.
Oh Hell! uses a standard deck of cards. Players are dealt 10 cards for the first round, then 9, then 8, until after a round with 1 card, it increases again to 2, then 3 until 10 cards are dealt. In most rounds, the entire deck is not dealt and thus the remaining cards stay unused for that round.
The game continues until the number of cards dealt has decreased to 1 (starting at 10, then 9, then 8 etc.) The player with the highest score at the end of the game wins.
Alter the timer speed for taking tricks during a round. Options include: Fast (5 seconds), Standard (10 seconds), Slow (20 seconds) or Very Slow (40 seconds). The time allowed for bidding will be twice as much.
When activated, the dealer will not be able to place a bid that would make the total tricks bid equal to the amount of cards dealt in that round.
When activated, bidding will happen simultaneously, staying anonymous until all bids have been placed. When switched off, bidding will happen in a turn-based manner, with the bids available for other players to see.
Maximum cards dealt
The maximum number of cards dealt can be either a default setting (10 cards for 5 players or less, 8 cards for 6 players and 7 cards for 7 players), a blanket standard of seven cards, or the maximum possible in the deck. For example, if there are few players, more cards can be dealt as the maximum-sized hand and vice versa. (E.g. 3 players would receive 17 cards).
When activated, trump suits will be determined in a fixed pattern for each round. The choices are Spades, Diamonds, Clubs then Hearts (SDCH); Clubs, Diamonds, Hearts then Spades (CDHS); or Clubs, Diamonds, Hearts, Spades then No Trump (CDHSN). If not activated, trump suits will be selected by drawing the next card from the deck after all hands have been dealt for that round.
You can alter the points awarded for when a non-zero trick bid is successful. The default is 10 + Bid. Alternative options are: 10 x Bid; 10 + Bid²; 10 + 2 x Bid; 5 + Bid. For example, if a player had bid 3 and wins exactly 3 tricks, they will get 13 points in 10 + Bid, 30 points in 10 x Bid, 19 points in 10 + Bid², 16 points in 10 + 2 x Bid and 8 points in 5 + Bid.
Successful Zero Bid
You can alter the points awarded for when a zero trick bid is successful. The default is 10. Alternative options are: 5; 5 + Cards; 10 + Cards. For example, if a player bids zero, and takes zero tricks, they would be awarded 10 points in the default setting. Or if the setting was 10 + Cards and he held 3 cards, he would score 13 for a successful zero bid.
Double when All
When activated, players are awarded double points for a successful trick bid that is equal to the number of cards dealt that round. For example, if the number of cards dealt that round were 3 and a player has successfully bid 3 and taken 3 tricks, then his points will be doubled for that round.
Too Many / Too Few
You can alter the points deducted for an unsuccessful trick bid for when the tricks were too many or too few. The default for both is Taken. Alternative options are: Zero; Bid - Taken; - (Taken - Bid²).
You can alter the amount of cards dealt in each round, once you have established the Maximum amount of cards to be dealt (see above in ‘Maximum Cards Dealt’). The default Dealing Order starts at Maximum, descends to 1 card, then ascends to the Maximum. Alternative options are: 1 to Maximum to 1; 1 to Maximum; Maximum to 1. For example if you have set the Maximum at Seven, and choose 1 to Maximum to 1; you will start the game with a hand of 1 card, which will increase each round until you have 7 cards, after which it will decrease each round until you have 1 card.
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.
Cards Games 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, Jacques (J), Queen (Q) and King (K).
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