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Whist Card Game Rules


Whist is a trick taking game where teams of players try to be the first with 5 points. Whist is played with 3 to 12 people, divided into teams or played individually.

Ranking of Cards

In Whist, Aces are high and 2s are low.



  • Classic: Gameplay as outlined in this guide
  • Bid Whist: Players bid for the number of tricks and select their trump
  • Knockout Whist: If a player takes no tricks in a round, they are removed from the game.
  • Play Multiplayer Whist Online

    The Deck and the Deal

    Whist is played with a standard deck of 52 playing cards. After teams are decided amongst the players, the dealer passes out 13 cards clockwise to each player. The last card dealt is turned face up and determines the trump suit, before being taken into its owner's hand.

    How to Play

    Starting with the dealer and going clockwise, players place cards in the middle of the gameplay. The player with the highest ranked card wins the trick and leads the next one. Players can lead a trick with any suit.


    A team scores 1 point for each trick won after the sixth trick. For example, if a team wins 8 tricks, they win 2 points.


    The first team to reach 5 points wins the game. The target score can also be set to 7 or 9 points.


    CardzMania supports several customizable rules and options so you can play Whist 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 determine a set amount of points when the game ends.


    Players determine a set amount of rounds (also known as hands or deals) that the game will go to (instead of the points selection above).


    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.

    Fixed Trumps

    The options for selecting the trump suit are:


    When enabled, 2 Jokers are added to the deck. When there is a trump suit, Jokers are wild. When a no Trump suit is played, Jokers have no value. They neither add nor take away from the game.

    Bid Whist

    Players are dealt 12 cards each and the remainder forms the kitty. Each player can declare their bid for the round, consisting of the number of tricks over 6 they intend to win (between 3 and 7) and one of three options: downtown, uptown and no trump.

    Bid Whist can be played with or without jokers. When played with jokers, little joker (black) and big joker (red) are the highest trump cards during uptown or downtown rounds but have no value (can't win a trick) in no trump rounds.

    Each player must bid higher than the previous player, or pass. No trump bids are considered higher than other bids of the same numerical value. If all other players pass, the last player must bid.

    At the start of play, the winning bidder must name the trump suit or in the case of no trump, either uptown or downtown. They also pick up the kitty and must then discard an equal number of cards (which can include cards just picked up). These discarded cards count as the first trick won for the bidder's team. They also play the first card. Other players must follow suit, if able.

    If the bidding team meets their bid, they score points equal to their bid. If they did not, their bid is subtracted from their overall score. The opposing team cannot score 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 Whist? 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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