A standard pack of 52 cards is used ranked from highest to lowest:
A, K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2.
The four players are in fixed partnerships, with partners sitting opposite each other. The first
dealer is chosen at random, and the turn to deal rotates clockwise. The cards are shuffled and
All four players bid a number of tricks. Each team adds together the bids - number of tricks that
team must try to win in order to get a positive score. Everyone must bid a number. Players
are not allowed to pass and bids once made cannot be altered. A bid of 0 tricks is known as Nil.
This is a declaration that that the player who bid Nil will not win any tricks during the play.
There is an extra bonus for this if it succeeds and a penalty if it fails. The partnership also
has the objective of winning the number of tricks bid by the Nil's partner.
The player to dealer's left leads any card (except a spade). Each player, in turn,
clockwise, must follow suit if able; if unable to follow suit, the player may play any card.
A trick containing a spade is won by the highest spade played; if no spade is played, the trick
is won by the highest card of the suit led. The winner of each trick leads to the next. Spades
may not be led until either some player has played a spade, or the leader has nothing but spades
left in hand.
A side that takes at least as many tricks as its bid calls for receives a score equal to 10 times
its bid. Additional tricks (bags) are worth an extra one point each. A side which (over several
deals) accumulates 10 or more bags has 100 points deducted from its score. Any bags beyond 10 are
carried over to the next cycle. If a side does not make its bid, they lose 10 points for each trick
they bid. If a bid of nil is successful, the nil bidder's side receives 100 points addition to the
score won (or lost) by the partner of the nil bidder for tricks made. If a bid of nil fails - that
is, the bidder takes at least one trick - the bidder's side loses 100 points, but still receives
any amount scored for the partner's bid.
The usual rule is that when a nil fails, the tricks won by the nil bidder do not count towards
making the partner's bid, but do count as bags for the team. The side which reaches 500 points
first wins the game.