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How To Play Whist

Whist, a card game dating back as far as the 18th century, is a fun game of trick and trump.


  • Step 1: Form two teams with two players each and designate a dealer. Players sit facing opponents. The game rotates clockwise.
  • Step 2: Rank cards highest to lowest, then cut the cards. The player to the dealer’s left shuffles and the player to the dealer’s right cuts.
  • TIP: To help remember whose turn it is you can use two decks of cards. The dealer’s partner shuffles one deck, then places it to the right while the next hand’s dealer picks up from the left and passes to the right for cutting.
  • Step 3: Deal one card at a time until each player has 13. The final card is faced up to reveal the trump suit.
  • TIP: An alternate way to determine trumps is to fix them sequentially – hearts for the first deal, diamonds for the second, clubs the third, and spades for the fourth.
  • Step 4: The player to the dealer’s left leads to the first trick using any card.
  • Step 5: Move clockwise from player to player. Cards of the same suit as the lead must be played when possible; otherwise any card may be used.
  • Step 6: The trick is won by the highest trump. When there is no trump card, the highest card of the suit takes the trick.
  • Step 7: The team winning the most tricks scores 1 point for each trick that exceeds six. The first team reaching five points wins the game.
  • FACT: Having evolved from 17th-century British card tournaments, Whist was once called "ruff and honours."

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