SmartPref Pro blogDiscussions, suggestions, talks
How to play preferans? A very short guide
The game of Preferans usually consists of several deals, and is played until certain game objectives are achieved by each player.
Each round is played by three players (or two players plus «dummy» in the case of a two-player game). First, 10 cards are dealt to each player. The two remaining cards are called «talon» and put aside: their contents is hidden.
First word at trading phase and the first move in the game phase are transferred from player to player clockwise after each deal.
Trade begins after the cards are dealt. The goat of the trade is to evaluate your cards, order highest contract, win the talon and order a contract. If your cards are not good enough you can opt out from the trade at your turn by saying «pass». Once passed player can not return to trade.
During trade each player makes a bid at his turn: player says the contract, or «pass». Next contract should be greater than the previous one. The one who called the «pass» is removed from the trade.
Trade ends when there is either only one player left who called the contract, or all players said «pass».
Deal starts after the trade is finished. All pass is played if all three players did pass during trade. A trick game begins if one of the players wins the trade.
The player who wins the trade claims a talon and must show it to others. After that, the player must evaluate his cards and discard two of them that he does not need. These cards are called «drop». No one should know the drop except for the player who did it.
The player names a contract - how many tricks he is willing to take, and declares a trump suit. The contract must be no less than the one at which the trade finished. The rest of the players are now «defenders» or «whisters» - they have to choose whether they will play against the player (whist) or not (pass). The goal of the defenders is to make the player to not fulfill the contract - prevent him from taking the tricks that he declared in his contract.
The deal can be «open» or «closed» - the defenders can open their cards or leave them closed to each other and to player. At the same time, the player's cards are always closed and are known only to him alone. If both players do whist, then the game is played only in «closed» mode.
If the game is played in closed, then each of the defenders makes moves for himself. In open game the whisting player makes turns for himself and for the second defender. If both players pass, then player wins the deal and it is finished.
During the deal each player must put a single card at his turn.
If there are no cards on the table, you can move with any card - and this card sets the suit of the current turn. If the suit of the turn is already set, then the player must move with a card of the same suit. If player does not have cards of required suit then he must move with the card of trump suit. Note, trumps are only allowed to use if there is no turn suit at hand. If there is no trump suit, then player can play with any card. After all three cards are on the table, the owner of the highest card takes the trick; current turn cards are removed from the table and the turn is over. The player who took the trick now goes first.
In total, it is possible to make 10 moves as long as the players have cards. The deal ends when the players have no cards left, or if in the process someone made an offer and it was accepted by all players.
The all pass deal begin if all three players declare «pass» during the trade. There are no trump cards in this deal, and the suit of the first two moves is determined by the suit of the first and second talon cards. The first three moves are played by the player on the «first hand». The purpose of the all pass is to take as few tricks as possible.
The weight of contracts is determined first by the desired tricks value, and if the desired tricks value is the same, by the seniority of the trump suit. The minimum contract is 6 tricks, the maximum is 10. Trump suit weight goes like this: Spades, Clubs, Diamonds, Hearts, «NT» - No Trump. This contract is stronger than a contract with a trump of the same tricks value. So, contract 6 Spades is the weakest (unless overridden by the conventions), contract 10 NT is the strongest and cannot be beaten.
In addition to ordinary contracts, there is also a special contract "Misère" - an obligation not to take a single trick. The misère is played without a trump suit. If the misère contract is beaten during the trade, then the player is removed from the trade. Misère can be beaten by an order of 9 Spades and above, it is very strong contract.
Whisting players also have trick obligations. To avoid a penalty, they together must take at least four tricks in sum when playing against 6 tricks contract; at least two when playing against 7, and at least one trick for other orders. When playing «misère», the defenders have no obligations.
The result for each deal is kept in a special table «Pool» according to certain rules. Players receive points in the Pool field for the fulfillment of the contract. All penalties go to the Heap: for non-fulfillment of the contract or the obligations of the whisting players, for the collected tricks at the all pass and others. In addition, the defenders write points in the Whist column against the player for each trick taken. Depending on the convention, the pool recording may stop if the player's pool exceeds the target of the game pool. In this case, the player «helps» others to finish their pool in exchange for whists.
The goal pool is set before the start of the game - the number of pool points that each player must gain. Before starting the game players must define the denomination value of the final points (whists) in Euro/USD or some other currency and additional conditions of the game - conventions. The game ends when each player has reached the target value of their pool, or, depending on the convention, if the sum of the pools of all players is greater than this value multiplied by the number of players.
You can get in depth game knowledge by playing practice game with bots. Don't forget to use hint!