Belote is a fun, strategic trick-taking card game for four players.
Belote was invented around 1920 in France and still considered one of the most popular card games there.
You (the brown monkey ) and your partner (the yellow bird ) will face off against your opponents (the red fox and blue otter ).
The game is played with a deck of 32 cards: cards 7 through Ace in each of the four suits. It's important to note that the rank and score of cards can vary depending on their suit!
Let's get into the specifics of how this works.
In Belote, one suit becomes the "trump" suit, outranking all other suits. Trump cards win tricks against higher-ranked cards from other suits.
Choosing and playing trumps is crucial in the game. For example, a Jack (J) scores 2 points in a plain suit, but scores 20 in a trump suit.
Belote consists of multiple rounds, each beginning with a "bidding" part before moving on to the trick-taking part.
The dealer shuffles the deck, then gives out five cards to each player. The next card in the deck is revealed for all to see.
The decision to "take" or "pass" this face-up card is first made by the player to the dealer's left. If they take the card, its suit becomes the trump suit for that round. If they pass, the choice moves to the next player.
If everyone decides to pass, the players get another chance to take or pass the card. However, this time, the player who takes the card may choose any suit as the trump, except for the suit of the face-up card.
If all 4 players pass again, the deck is gathered, shuffled, and dealt again by the same dealer.
Once a player takes the face-up card, its suit becomes the trump for that round. The player who took the card gets two more cards from the deck, while all other players receive three additional cards, for a total of eight cards per player.
Some cards can form special combinations that give you extra points. These are called declarations. There are three kinds of declarations:
Square: This is when you have four cards of the same rank, like four jacks or four aces. A square is worth different points depending on the rank of the cards:
Four eights and four sevens don't count as a square and earn no points.
Sequences: This is when you have three or more cards of the same suit in a row, like jack-queen-king-ace of hearts or seven-eight-nine of spades. The cards are ranked from seven (lowest) to ace (highest).
A sequence is worth different points depending on how many cards it has:
Apart from belote-rebelote, each player's declarations are announced when they play their card in the first trick of the round.
If you have belote-rebelote, you say "belote" when you play the king or queen of trumps and "rebelote" when you play the other one.
A card can participate in no more than one declaration.
Only one team gets points for their declarations (except for belote-rebelote): the team that has the strongest one. The other team gets none of their declaration points.
At the end of the round, you add the points of your team's declarations to your score.
Belote-rebelote always counts for your score, regardless of who had the highest declaration.
A square is always better than any sequence. If two teams have squares, the one with the higher score wins (e.g. a square of 9s is stronger than a square of Kings). If they have the same score, the one with the higher rank wins (e.g. a square of Aces is stronger than a square of Kings).
In the case where two teams have sequences of identical length, the team with the higher-ranked cards is the winner (e.g. a sequence of 10-J-Q is stronger than 8-9-10). If the rank is equal and one sequence is made up of trump cards, the trump sequence wins. If neither sequence is made up of trump cards, the team that played first in the rotation wins.
If you have a sequence of more than five cards, you only show the highest five cards of that sequence.
Now the fun begins! There are eight tricks in each round. Here's how it works:
Now it's time to count your points and see who won! Here's how it works:
The game continues until one team reaches the target score (501, 701, or 1001), crowning them the winner.
If both teams surpass the target score at the same time, the team with more points wins. If both teams have the same number of points, another round is played to determine the champion!
Remember, Belote is a game of strategy! Examine your hand carefully, keep an eye on your opponents, and use your cards wisely.
Now, you're ready to enjoy the game! Happy playing!
As a final note, remember that Belote is not just about winning every hand, but about scoring the most points over the course of the game. Stay focused, and always be thinking a few steps ahead.
Now, gather your cards, take a deep breath, and let the fun begin! Good luck, and may the cards be ever in your favor!
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