|Unless you live in Western Pennsylvania,
that is. It seems to be the only place this game is played. I've
gone looking for it one the Net, and all the descriptions are not
like the game I know. So, here goes...
This game is played with 4
or 6 players, on two teams. Let me explain for 6 players, and
then for four.
A full deck of cards is used, plus two
jokers. One is considered the joker, the other is called the
ginny. Normally, the joker with more writing or the joker in
black-and-white is considered the ginny. Nine cards are dealt to
each player, by threes. The person to the left of the dealer
bids on their hand, and so on around the table. Typically, bids
of less than three are not permitted, and no higher than six.
There are six points in the game: high, low, jack, joker, ginny,
and game. In a six player game, high is always the Ace, and low
is always the two in trump suit. Trump is determined by who
places the highest bid and the first suit of card they play. The
object of the game is to collect as many tricks as possible,
containing as many points as possible. Teammates, should of
course, help their partners, by giving them any points in their
hands which their partners will win, or using those points to
take the hand for themselves. There are five points in the deck.
The game point is determined by the cards in the tricks taken
from all suits where Ace = 4 points, King = 3 points, Queen = 2
points, Jack = 1 point, and 10 = 10 points. There are 80
possible game points. If there is a tie, whoever has the joker
gets the tie-break.
Scoring: both teams can get points
in each round, but the team that bid highest must equal their
bid. If the bidding team does not equal their bid, then they
receive minus points in the value of the bid. The game is played
until one team reaches 21 points.
It is possible in some circumstances to
bid seven points. If a player ahead of you bids six, and you
believe that you alone, and not your teammates, can take every
trick in the game, then you may bid seven. Of course, read the
Scoring section above for the consequences of failure.
Bidding: In a six player game, it is
generally safe to assume, by most players' standards that an Ace is
good for a three-point bid, especially if supported by a few lower
trump cards. Obviously, the more high cards, the better your chances
of collecting points. Also, the more points you hold in your hand,
the better your chances of holding on to them.
As each trick is played,
subsequent cards must follow suit, except that trump cards may be
played at any time, regardless of the lead suit. However, whenever
trump is played, if a player has cards in trump, including the joker
and ginny, they MUST be played.
For a four player game, all the rules stated
above apply: each player is dealt nine cards; points are high, low,
jack, joker, ginny and game, etc. However, high is whatever card is
highest in trump suit, so it may be king or queen instead of ace;
and low is whatever card in trump is lowest, so it might be two, or
seven, or whatever is available. Also note that not all possible
points may be dealt in a game: there may be no joker for instance.
Consider for a moment how this changes the nature of bidding, when
there may be no joker. Four player games sometimes allow bids of
less than 3, but this is up to the players involved. Also, a kitty
of three cards is dealt, and is awarded to the highest bidder before
the start of play.
I have seen this game played with 5
players, every man for himself, but this tends to go on forever.
If you have heard of this game, or have any
other information about it, please contact me at the address below.