Préférence Card Game: Entertaining and Popular

Written by Abha Vardhan (2018)

Préférence is a card game that is often played in Austria and Central Europe. The origin of this game can be traced back to the 18th century and, regardless of the game’s French name, it seems to have roots from the former Austro-Hungarian countries.

Basics of Préférence Card Game

Préférence is a 10-card trick game that includes bidding and is usually played by 3 players with a deck of 32 cards. If the game is played among 4 players and there is a convention in each hand the dealer pauses. The order of the cards is as usual, in ascending order: 7, 8, 9, 10, Jack, Queen, King, and Ace. Aces rank higher and tens have their usual value between Jack and nine.

The 4 colours also follow a certain value: hearts is the premier suit, after that comes diamonds, clubs, and then spades (the lowest). Hearts is referred to as the "preference suit”, which is also where the game derives its name from (French Préférée).

The Game Play

The dealer draws cards at the beginning of the game. In order to determine who the dealer will be, each player draws one card and the one with the highest value is the first dealer. The special feature of Préférence is that the card with the highest suit is given preference to the corresponding number. For example, a seven of hearts is higher than an Ace of clubs.

The next step is dealing the cards; the dealer deals cards to players in a clockwise direction. First, the dealer deals three cards, followed by two cards and then finally four cards to every player, all of which are placed face down; thus, together with the initial card, each player receives 10 cards overall.

Understand Bidding

After receiving their cards, each player examines them and decides if they want to play or not. They should be able to make at least six out of ten possible tricks. The player sitting to the left side of the player who started the game (the dealer) can now either fold or bid.

The bid of the player is comprised of numbers from six to ten, along with the specific suit. The wager is regarded as the number of tricks the gamer might score along with a trump suit. The chance to place a bid moves in a clockwise direction from one gamer to another.

When the player gets the opportunity to win, they usually have three choices. They can make a higher bid compared to the preceding one, they can place a similar bid than that placed by the immediate preceding player otherwise they may pass.

Generally, when players place an elevated bid, they need to place the biggest valid bid. In order to make the bid bigger than the previous bid, it must either have a higher value else a stake of similar value but with a higher-ranking suit. Nonetheless, as stated, if a gamer places a bid like the one immediately preceding, their bid is regarded as higher. (Only applicable for bids more than six of spades).

To bid according to the suits, they are arranged in descending order: Hearts, Diamonds, Clubs, and Spades. A gamer is also allowed to place his stake at ‘No Trump,’ which has a value more than the Hearts in a stake of a similar number.

  • Misère Bid: One important bid players can place is known as the Misère (In Russia, it is called Mizer). It is a bid that indicates winning none of the tricks and a No Trump stated or utilized during the hand. A bid of Misère stands between eight tricks with No Trumps and nine tricks with a Trump as a Spade. If a gamer has previously placed a stake throughout the existing hand cannot place a Misère bid. In addition, after a player has placed a Misère bid, he cannot place other staked throughout the hand even if some other gamer places a stake of nine spades or more.
  • Pass: After a gamer has announced Pass in the bidding process, they are allowed to place further takes throughout the existing hand. They are only allowed to ‘Pass’ every time they get the chance to place a stake. The bidding remains in progress among the players until any of the gamers has placed the largest bid along with two successive ‘Passes.’ The exemption to the rule that a wager should be greater than the earlier wager, is that the gamer sitting to the left of dealer can place a bid equivalent to the existing maximum stake.

In case, none of the gamers can surpass that bid, they would be the Declarer for that round. In case, when all the gamers state Pass ahead of any stakes are placed, an exclusive hand, known as Raspasovka, is played.

When the bids are placed, a usual rule is generally used to refer the suit bid in a hierarchy position in the suit ranking. For instance: 1st is for Spades, 2nd for Clubs, 3rd for Diamonds, 4th for Hearts and 5th for No Trump. Therefore, a bid of 6 No Trump can be declared as “Six Fifths".

Who’s the Declarer?

The player who places the biggest wager throughout the existing hand becomes a winner and is announced the Declarer for that session. Once the Declarer is decided, he shows off 2 cards, creating the talon and including them in his hand.

At this point, he needs to reject at least 2 cards from his cards in order to keep the total number of cards at ten. These two rejected cards aren’t included in the game for further rounds. Next, the Declarer speaks out his contract for that round, which can be equivalent to or bigger than his highest stake for the session (where the suit announced in the bid is the trump suit for the hand).

In these situations, when the Declarer announces the No Trump as a contract, it will be necessary to use the No Trump suit during the hand. If Misère was the highest bid, the gamer would announce a contract of Misère.

The main objective of the Declarer is to succeed a maximum number of tricks as announced in the contract. On the other hand, the goal of the rival team is to stop the Declarer to meet his goal. Moreover, the rivals have the choice of winning more tricks throughout the round, which is known as Whisting.

Know About Whisting

The gamer sitting on the left side of the Declarer gets the first chance to whist. The player announces ‘whist’ if he desires to whist during the hand or says ‘pass,’ when he doesn’t want to Whist. The rivals get a similar chance, so if both opposing players refuse to whist throughout the round, the dealer routinely becomes the winner of the hand without playing any cards. However, if more than one rival decides to whist, such players have an objective of winning a specific amount of tricks throughout the round in accordance with the contract stated by the Declarer.

How to Play the Cards?

After the players have placed their bids and decided to whist, the hand started. The player sitting to the left of the dealer uses his first card to the initial trick, then every gamer in the clockwise direction throws one card to finish the trick.

In case, the player carries the card of the suit to the trick, they should discard it but if he doesn’t have it, he should play a trump suit card. If he doesn’t have any of these cards, he can discard whichever card he likes from his hand to finish the trick. The game remains in progress until the players have completed all ten tricks.

Let’s Do The Scoring

There are 3 kinds of scores players can use in the game: pool points (bullet points), whist points and mountain/hill points. Bullet points are offered when successfully completing the contract, mountain points are regarded as penalty points and whist points help keep track of a gamers’ score in comparison to each opponent. Before beginning the card game, all players must discuss the number of bullet points to which they will play.

In case, the declarer has scored six or more tricks, he has completed the game profitably but he must also pay out to his opponents:

  • An opponent who has scored two or more tricks will receive one-tenth of the bet for each.
  • An opponent who has scored only one trick will get paid for it on the same terms but he needs to pay back a certain amount to the cash register.
  • An opponent who has not made a trick doesn’t get anything and must deposit the cash bet from the beginning of the game into the cash register.

If the declarer has made five or fewer tricks, he receives all the cash but he needs to pay his opponents. If declarer and opponent failed and have not made any tricks, both pay in the cash.

If the declarer wins the bonus, which is the heart game, he will receive a heart bonus from each of his opponents in addition to his winnings. The heart bonus is an extra 5 chips; however, if he loses this game, he needs to pay this heart prize to his fellow competitors.

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