The initial dealer is chosen at random, and thereafter the turn to deal passes to the left after each hand. The dealer deals a hand of five cards face-down to each player. At the end of the deal the next card is faced on top of the deck to show the trump suit.
Players bid in turn starting from the left of the dealer. There are only two bids 'Play' and 'Fold' (or 'Pass'). If you choose to 'Play' then you must take at least one trick to escape the two point penalty. There is a limit on how many times you may 'Fold' in a row (consecutively). This limit is set to the number of players minus 3, so for the five player game you may only fold twice in a row before you are compulsory. After you have played when compulsory you may then continue to fold until you become compulsory again.
The last person to bid is the dealer who has the option of picking up the faced card and discarding if they choose to 'Play'. The dealer is thus guaranteed at least one trump card.
If all players 'Fold' then the last remaining player (the dealer) is awarded 5 tricks and their score goes down by 5.
The first person who chose to play during bidding leads to the first trick. Players must follow suit if they can. A player who has no card of the suit led may play any card including a trump card. A trick is won by the best trump in it, or if no trumps are played, by the highest card of the suit led. The winner of a trick leads to the next trick.
The game play allows you to select any card to play including illegal plays. If you fail to follow suit (it is called a renege - breaking a promise or undertaking) then the card will be returned to your hand and you will be penalised 5 points. Allowing you to play the wrong card is closer to real life than only enabling legal plays.
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- John Hall
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