This page provides an overview of the rules of Colour Whist as they are used on Whisthub. There are no official rules for Colour Whist and players often use their own set of rules. This means that the rules on Whisthub will probably not fully match the rules you use yourself.
The rules are mainly derived from pagat.com. This website is an authority in the field of card games around the world. This is the main reason why the rules were largely derived from it.
Colour Whist is played with 4 players, each ultimately playing for themselves. During the game, however, alliances can be formed that vary per deal. This means there are no fixed teams as opposed to, for example, Bridge or Manille.
Usually players agree to play a certain number of deals in advance, the number being a multiple of 4. Players win or lose points per deal and the player with the most points at the end is the winner.
On Whisthub, the cards are dealt by the computer. As is usual, the cards are not shuffled between deals, but only cut. Subsequently the cards are dealt according to the pattern 4-4-5.
Although dealing is done by the computer, each player in turn fulfills the role of dealer. It is always the player to the left of the dealer who will be the first on turn. Therefore, the dealer is indicated with the icon during each game.
The bidding is subject to a lot of regional variations. The bidding begins with the player to dealer's left and subsequently continues clockwise. The bidding continues for as much circuits as necessary until the final contract is decided.
The bidding determines the teams, the trump suit and the objective. The player or team that wins the bidding undertakes a contract to win a certain number of tricks, or in specific cases, to avoid taking tricks. The opponents try to fail the contract.
Each player can pick from a number of possible contracts. The contracts each have mutual values and the general rule is that each bid must be valued higher than the highest bid to date. The mutual value of the contracts is determined by the points table. When two contracts are equal in value, it is the trump suit that determines the highest contract. The value of the suits in descending order is
- Hearts ♥
- Diamonds ♦
- Clubs ♣
- Spades ♠
The possible contracts are:
Proposal and Acceptance This is the most basic contract. It begins with a player that proposes a suit after which another player can accept this suit. Together they must always take at least 8 tricks, but this can be increased to 13 tricks if other players make a higher bid. A player always needs at least one card in a suit to be able to propose or accept this suit.
Solo In this contract a player plays on its own and tries to win at least 5 tricks with the trump suit of his choice. There are many variants that require a player going Solo to win at least 6 tricks. In large parts of Flanders, however, it is common to be able to bid Solo for 5 tricks and this is also possible on Whisthub. Unlike proposal and acceptance, a Solo bid can only ever be increased to 8 tricks. If another player or team makes a higher bid, the player is forced to pass.
Small Misery This type of contract is different from the other contracts because there is no trump suit and the player must avoid taking any tricks. Multiple players can bid Small Misery at the same time. In that case they each play on their own and prior to the game, each player on the table must discard a card which must not be shown to the other players. Small Misery does not exist in all variations of the game, but it does on Whisthub.
Piccolo This contract does not exist in all variations of the game. Likewise it is not part of the standard rules in use on Whisthub. Nevertheless, premium users can choose to allow Piccolo. With this contract a player must win exactly 1 trick without a trump suit. A Piccolo is valued higher than a Solo for 8 tricks, but lower than Acceptance for 13 tricks.
Abondance With this contract, a player must win at least 9 tricks alone with a trump suit of his choice. Abondance is special because it can only be bid if the player has not yet made a bid. When a player bids Abondance he also has the advantage that the player must lead to the first trick, and not the player to dealer's left as would be normal. If required, a bid for Abondance can be increased to 12 tricks. Variations of the game exist where Abondance can only be increased to 11 bids. In that case, a bid for 12 tricks is called a Small Slam. This does not exist on Whisthub.
Large Misery This bid is similar to Small Misery and is sometimes referred to simply as Misery. As with Small Misery, there is no trump suit and the player must avoid taking any tricks and multiple players can bid Large Misery. The difference is that no cards may be discarded with this contract.
Open misery This is the last and most extreme variant of misery. With Open Misery, the same rules apply as Large Misery, but the player must put his cards on the table once the bidding is over. The other players must not speak to each other while playing! There are variations where the player only has to put his cards on the table after the first trick. Keep in mind though that on Whisthub, in case of Open Misery the cards are already visible to the opponents before playing the first trick!
Grand Slam The ultimate goal of every card player: the Grand Slam. With this contract, a player must win all 13 tricks on their own with a trump suit of their choice. As with Abondance, the player must lead to the first trick and it can only be bid if the player didn't bid anything yet. The Grand Slam is the highest bid possible. In extreme cases that multiple players bid Grand Slam, it is the highest colour that wins the bidding. To prevent unsportive behavior, on Whisthub, it is the computer that decides whether or not a Solo Slim can be offered. It is therefore possible - and even likely - that Grand Slam is not among the possible bids.
It is worth mentioning that in some variations of the game there are other types of contracts as well.
When a player is on turn, there are a few possibilities:
- The player can propose a trump suit, hereby indicating that he wants to win at least 8 tricks with a partner using this trump suit. It is always the player that accepts the bid who becomes the speaker for the team. A player can only propose the same suit twice.
- Bidding Solo is only possible in a suit that the player has already proposed unless there are no players left to accept the suit. This happens, for example, when two players play together and the third one has passed.
- If the player has not yet made a bid, he can bid Abondance or Solo Slim.
- The player can propose a misery. Multiple players can bid misery at the same time. This means that this is the exception to the rule that every bid made bus be higher than the current highest bid.
- Once a player is bound to a suit, he can only continue bidding in that suit. Being bound means that the player bids Solo, plays in team or played in team, but the partner has passed. Proposing a suit does not mean that the player is bound. Note that this also means that bidding misery is no longer possible. There are variations that do not impose this restriction, but on Whisthub this restriction does apply.
- If a player accepted a suit and must bid at least 11 tricks, the player has the possibility to Pass Parole. The player then gives parole to his partner who originally proposed the suit.
- The player always has the option to pass. Once passed, a player can no longer participate in the bidding. If all players pass, the cards are collected and dealt again by the same dealer. This is called a round of pass and causes the points for the next game to be doubled. In case of multiple subsequent rounds of pass, this does not cause the points to be doubled indefinitely.
The player to the left of the dealer has an additional possibility on the first turn: Waiting. In that case he can only accept another players suit on the next turn. If there are no players left to accept, the player is forced to pass.
If a player has 3 or 4 aces, he is obliged to announce this before the start of the bidding. This is done automatically on Whisthub and this game situation is called Trull. The player then automatically plays in team with the player holding the fourth ace. In the case of Trull with 4 aces, he is paired to the player with ♥K . If the player also holds ♥K , he is paired with the player holding ♥Q and so on.
The suit of the fourth ace is automatically designated as the trump suit and the team must take at leat 8 tricks. In case of Trull with four aces, Hearts is automatically designated as the trump suit. The player that was paired can still change the trump suit though. In that case they must take at least 9 tricks as a team.
The players are not obliged to play Trull. Each player can still bid something above Trull. The contracts that are valued higher than Trull are also determined by the points table.
For new players, the rules of the bidding often appear complex at first sight. The fact that there are so many variations does not help either. However, the best way to learn and understand the rules is to try it! Playing the AI is the ideal way to become familiar with the game and the rules!
In most cases, it is the player to dealers left that leads to the first trick. There are two exceptions:
- With Abondance or Solo Slim it is this player who leads to the first trick.
- In the case of Trull, it is generally the player holding the ace of trumps that is forced to lead this ace. The exception to this is when Trull is played with 4 aces and the trump suit was retained. Note that in this case Hearts ♥ will always be the trump suit. In that case the partner not holding an ace leads to the first trick with his highest card of Hearts ♥ .
In concrete terms, this means that when Trull is played with 4 aces, the partner as depicted below must lead to the first trick with ♥K unless the trump suit has been changed. In that case the player with the ace of trumps leads it to the first trick.
A player must always play a card of the same suit as the card that was lead. If this is not possible, the player may play any card. The player is not required to ruff. This is one of the biggest changes for players coming from Manille and starting to play Colour Whist - a good choice by the way!
As soon as each player has played a card, the trick is won by the player who played the highest card of the suit lead, unless a trump card was played in the trick. In that case, the player with the highest trump card wins the trick.
In Colour Whist the ace is the highest card, followed by the King, the Queen, the Jack and so on down to the 2.
This means that in the example below the player with ♥A wins the trick, unless ♣ is the trump suit. In that case, the player who played ♣3 wins the trick.
As soon as the outcome of the game is fixed, the game is over. This usually happens when a player only has trump cards left while the other players no longer have any. In that case it is not necessary to play all 13 tricks.
There are again many variations of the scoring. The most important principle of the scoring on Whisthub is that the total sum of all points must always be zero. This rule allows the game to be played for stakes: this makes it possible to agree upon a certain amount of money corresponding to each point.
Per contract there are a number of base points to win or lose. For contracts that are played alone, the points are multiplied by 3: the player wins - or loses - the points from each of his 3 opponents.
In the case of Acceptance, Solo or Abondance, points can also be scored with overtricks. This is the difference between the number of tricks achieved and the number of tricks required by the contract. This means that the overtricks can also be negative: in that case they're called undertricks.
For Acceptance, each overtrick is worth 3 points, while each undertrick results in a 3-point loss. When going Solo, each overtrick is worth 1 point and each undertrick results in a 1-point loss. Note that for the player who played the Solo, this is still multiplied by 3 afterwards! The overtricks are also limited to 8. When a player goes Solo and wins more than 8 tricks, the overtricks are only calculated on a total of 8 tricks.
At Abondance there are no specific points per overtrick. When there are overtricks with Abondance, the contract is considered an Abondance for that number of tricks. This means that if a player goes Abondance 9 and wins 11 tricks, this counts as an Abondance for 11 tricks. The exception to this is an Abondance for 13 tricks: if a player goes Abondance but still wins all 13 tricks, this does not count as a Grand Slam, but as an Abondance for 12 tricks. Abondance will also not charge you for any undertricks: if the contract is not met, the base points for that contract count as the loss points.
If multiple players go Small Misery, Large Misery or Open Misery at the same time, the calculation is made for each player individually and subsequently the points are added together.
With Trull there is a fixed number of 16 points to win or lose. However, in case the team wins all 13 tricks, each player scores 26 points.
After adding the number of base points and the points for the over or undertricks, the points for a player who plays alone are multiplied by 3 and then added - or subtracted - to each player. An overview of the base points per contract is shown in the table below.
Below are some examples to clarify the scoring:
- Rachel goes Solo for 6 tricks and eventually wins 7. She wins
3*(4 + 1) = 15points and her opponents lose 5 each.
- Joey goes with Ross for 12 tricks, but they only win 10. They each lose
20 + 2*3 = 26points and their opponents win 26 each.
- Monica goes Solo for 7 tricks and eventually wins 10. She wins
3*(5 + 1) = 18points because trick 9 and 10 do not count as overtricks. Her opponents lose 6 points each.
- Phoebe goes Abondance for 9 tricks and eventually wins 11. She wins
3*20 = 60points and her opponents lose 20 each.
- Monica and Chandler are both going Large Misery. Chandler wins 1 trick and Monica wins none. Chandler loses
3*12 + 12 = 48points, while Monica wins
3*12 + 12 = 48. Their opponents lose no points:
12 - 12 = 0.
- Rachel goes Abondance for 11 tricks but wins only 9. She loses
3*20 = 60points, while her opponents each win 20.
- Chandler and Joey play Trull together. The trump suit has been changed so they have to win at least 9 tricks, but they fail to do so and win only 8. They lose 16 points each while their opponents win 16 each.
- Rachel en Ross play Trull together. They win all 13 tricks and hence win 30 points each. Their opponents lose 30 each.
That's it for the theory! Time to play!